There is no place better than the annual ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show in Orlando, Florida, to see the newest fishing products available this fall or early next year. The weeklong event is a blast for outdoor media because it allows us to get a sneak peek of things to come.
This year we saw a couple of different trends, including the introduction of next-generation trolling motors from a number of manufacturers. Also, since the ICAST show is a useful indicator of the future, anglers can expect to have even more options for sunglasses, deck boots, electric reels, and lithium batteries. Below, the products listed in alphabetical order caught our eye in some way. For complete features and specs on each product, check out the link provided to their official website.
Abu Garcia Revo SX-SS
The precision redesigning that went into the Abu Garcia Revo SX-SS is obvious. A lightweight, shallow spool makes this reel purpose built for skipping, pitching and flipping. No long casts with this one. A high speed 8.1:1 gear ratio and 22 pounds of Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag will help pull big bass out of thick cover.
AFTCO Mojeaux 1/4 Zip
ICAST’s winner for Warm Weather Technical Apparel for Women, the AFTCO Mojeaux 1/4 Zip Performance Shirt was designed by Capt. Moe Newman of Venice, Louisiana. She spends more days than most on the water in the Gulf heat. Her performance shirt includes Air-O Mesh ventilation fabric with UPF 50 sun protection, DWR stain release, quick dry / moisture wicking, a stealth zipper pocket, and thumb loops.
Florida-based Bajio sunglasses label some of their frames after spots in the Sunshine State, places like Stiltsville and Ozello. The Eldora frames are named after an area of Mosquito Lagoon, located not too far from their office. Bajio prides itself on its quality frames and lenses, but also their sustainable practices and initiatives. Of note, Bajio recently launched a College Ambassador Program to help students and prospective students learn about the fishing opportunities at different universities.
Berkley Swamp Lord
The hollow-body Swamp Lord topwater frog from Berkley was designed by longtime bass pro Bobby Lane. The frog features mega-sharp Fusion19 hooks, plus a supple body material that easily collapses when eaten. A sealed body chamber reduces water intrusion. Buy the Swamp Lord in both standard and popping models.
Bonafide SKF 117
In a world where kayaks are looking more and more like single-person boats, the Bonafide SKF 117 keeps it surprisingly simple. The hybrid standup/sitdown fishing kayak is at home on the shallowest flats. A spring-loaded skeg in the keel deploys by a lever to help track straight. Total length is under 12 feet, but still has room for a cooler behind the seat. Plus, the high rise seat makes it easy to stand up and fish on the wide-open front deck. You’ll have no problem adding accessories such as a fishfinder or Micro Anchor if you want to go that route.
Columbia Castback TC PFG
A couple great features highlight the new Columbia Castback TC PFG shoe. First, you might notice the grippy razor sipings on the rubber outsole for exceptional staying power on the boat. Second, the midsole incorporates the OMNI-MAX Plus system: a TECHLITE+ midsole cradles the heel for balance while deflection domes in the forefoot and heel absorb impact. A fun fact: Castback’s shoe heel collapses if you want to wear the shoe like a slip-on.
Costa King Tide
Years in the making, the Costa King Tide 6 and 8 sunglasses are loaded with innovation. Two options include a medium wrap 6-base frame (King Tide 6) and a full wrap 8-base option (King Tide 8). What you’ll notice on the frames are the removable side shields, shark inspired venting to prevent fog, sweat management channels and eye wire drains, and non-skid hooding to keep your frames in one spot when you’re not wearing them.
Daiwa Tatula Elite
At the show, Daiwa introduced the TATULA Elite AGS bass rod series, a 16 model lineup with the latest advancements in Daiwa rod technology. At the core of the TATULA Elite AGS rods are lightweight SVF Nano Plus blanks, along with X45 Bias construction to prevent blank twisting for greater strength, excellent sensitivity, and hook-setting power. In conjunction, Daiwa also released a redesigned and affordable TATULA 100 that’s extremely palmable and ultra-ergonomic.
Fenwick World Class
Fenwick’s World Class rod series provide anglers with 62 technique-specific rods to meet their specialized needs. The freshwater rod models consist of bass casting, bass spinning, bass crankbait casting, and walleye spinning. The saltwater rod options offered include inshore spinning and casting rods. What makes the World Class rods special is how they feel in the hand — they developed a winner. Features include tailored foregrip, 40/36 ton graphite blend with proprietary reinforcing resin, contoured rod butt, and titanium guide frames with super thin zirconia inserts.
Garmin Force Kraken
Garmin Force Kraken’s brushless trolling motor produces 100 pounds of thrust on a 36-volt system. Key “modes” that new anglers will like include the precise anchor lock technology, route navigation and heading hold abilities. The Kraken trolling motor is designed with longer shaft lengths (63, 75 and 90 inches) and a pivot-style mount. Kraken also features wireless integration with Garmin electronics, plus select motors include a built-in all-in-one transducer with Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonar.
G. Loomis NRX+ Inshore
Best saltwater rod at the show went to the G. Loomis NRX+ Inshore. These American-made blanks are rolled with Spiral X technology for increased casting distance, heightened sensitivity, and drastic weight reduction. No doubt about it, the rods are lightweight in your hand. Other specs include custom CI4+ reel seats and Fuji Titanium SiC guide train. The full lineup includes 10 casting and spinning rods.
Grundens Fishfinder Sandal
Grundens incorporated SeaDek into the footbed of its Fishfinder Sandal for wet traction and all day comfort. Water-friendly synthetic straps are quick drying, while a compression-molded EVA midsole delivers heel and arch support. The razor-siped non-marking rubber outsole performs well in wet conditions. This sandal offers everything you need in a flip flop.
Hobie Eyewear Floating Collection
While other sunglasses sink, Hobie Eyewear’s floating collection won’t slither into the depths. If you accidentally drop these sunglasses over the side, you won’t be kicking yourself. These glasses float. Different models are available, including the popular Coastal, Mariposa, Bluefin and Mojo (pictured) frames. All models are base 6 or 8 and feature Hydroclean 360 polarized lenses.
You might know about KastKing fishing products from Amazon, but its new IReel is as close as you can get to a “smart” reel. The IReel IFC (Intelligent Frequency Control) low-profile baitcaster features an axis eye line guide, lightweight aluminum alloy frame and carbon fiber side covers, 11+1 double-sealed stainless ball bearings, and a digital braking system. But the true highlight might be its Bluetooth capability. The reel connects to an app on your phone, then uses sensors in the spool to capture casting metrics (such as number of casts made, average distance, farthest cast, and retrieve speed) which you can study later off the water.
Minn Kota Riptide Instinct
The new Minn Kota Riptide Instinct brushless trolling motor is packed with QUEST technology. Check the specs on their website for complete details, but some highlights include 30% longer runtime and 50% greater torque, a redesigned and upgraded mount to handle increased torque, carbon fiber infused shaft, a new lift-assist assembly, and real-time battery monitoring. We tried out a model with a 100-inch shaft on a center console boat — this new Instinct motor is built for offshore fishing too.
Mustad Alpha Point
Mustad’s Assault 4/0 Wide Gap hook is a next level option for weedless rigged soft plastics because of its unique hook shape and AlphaPoint 4.8 technology. AlphaPoint delivers an even sharper and slimmer hook point length than the popular UltraPoint. An elongated and shallower point section allows for deeper and faster hooksets, while Mustad’s strategic Tak-bend gives larger and thicker soft baits the ability to sit flush to the hook. Soft plastics will fully collapse and produce better hooksets.
Native Watercraft TitanX 12.5
One the most loaded kayak rigs we’ve ever seen at the ICAST show. The new TitanX 12.5 measures 12 and a half feet long and 40 inches wide. What you can customize on the boat is eye-opening. Up front, a quick release mount allows a trolling motor to easily be added or removed (not pictured in this photo). Then, in the cockpit, there’s space for two Garmin graphs on a bar accessory, and the Propel Pedal Drive. In the back, a Native Watercraft Sidekick Wheel System, YakAttack BlackPak Pro and dual Power-Pole Micro Anchors. At the stern, a Newport Vessels NK 300 Motor with foot steering. Yep, two motors on this rig.
Newport Bluetooth Lithium Battery
Newport introduced its Bluetooth Lithium batteries. The lightweight battery features LiFePO4 cell construction and Bluetooth connectivity. With three versatile power options (24V50Ah, 36V30Ah and 36V40Ah), each battery is equipped with mobile-enabled Bluetooth monitoring. Anglers can check real-time battery status directly from their smartphone using the Newport Battery app. In addition, a built-in Battery Management System (BMS) actively monitors and regulates battery functions for optimized performance.
Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL + 132
The Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 stole the show, winning the best boat at ICAST. What grabbed everyone’s attention was the ePDL+ drive, similar to an assist you might see on an ebike. The saltwater-proof ePDL+ drive allows anglers to seamlessly switch between manual pedal, power-assisted pedal, or fully motorized cruise control. There are five levels of power assistance total. A cruise control option lets a kayaker take their feet off the pedals, allowing the motor to take over.
Pelagic’s Steve T Goione Shirts
Steve Goione, a marine artist who works with fishing tournaments such as the Bermuda Triple Crown, teamed up with Pelagic to produce shirts with his incredible artwork. Goione utilizes a technique called pointillism, painting with small, distinct dots in conjunction with fish patterns to form an image. The tough task was to transfer Goione’s prints to Pelagic’s shirts, but the results were an absolute success. Pictured in the inset, Pelagic’s tri blend shirt with a sailfish.
PENN Spinfisher VII
The newest Spinfisher VII features IPX5 sealing so you don’t have to worry about saltwater getting into the gearbox or drag system. Penn’s HT-100 drag washers are also housed in a fully sealed spool. A full metal body and side plate keep the brass CNC gears in precise alignment under stress. Pictured, notice the unique line keeper that holds heavy leader material.
Plano Edge Jerkbait Box
The Plano Edge Jerkbait box is purpose-built to hold up to 20 jerkbaits. An EZ label system and crystal-clear lid makes organization easy. And Plano’s Rustrictor technology offers 360 degree moisture protection. The days of untangling a mass of hooks and lures from your tackle tray are gone.
Rapala introduced its first-ever line of soft baits, with design help from pro angler Jacob Wheeler. The brand is called CrushCity, and they already have five different creature baits ready to rock. The baits look pretty darn tantalizing. Rapala says to pair CrushCity softbaits with VMC hooks and Sufix fishing line. Pictured, from left to right, the Cleanup Craw, Freeloader, Mayor and Bronco Bug.
Salt Life SLX
Salt Life has so many different options when it comes to clothing, you’ll have something to wear whether you’re on the water or out to dinner. Salt Life designed its best performance fabric for a life in the sun, near the water, with their proprietary SLX UVapor fabrics. Look for that SLX label. You’ll also notice the breathability of Salt Life offerings in positions along the back or under the arms (pictured).
Savage Gear BFT Flyer
The Savage Gear BFT Flyer is a pre-rigged flyingfish lure built to catch big-game species such as tunas. The design is based on a meticulous 3D scan of an actual flying fish. The 16-inch Flyer’s wings are easily removable by design. The lure comes pre-rigged in a harness, able to be presented for trolling or kite fishing. A line-thru design causes the lure to surge up the leader when a fish is hooked, preventing the fish from utilizing the lure’s weight as leverage during the fight.
Seaguar TactX comes as a budget friendly braid and fluoro kit. Seaguar provides a recommended leader pound test to go along with the 4-strand braid. The braid is strong and abrasion resistant, engineered to maintain its round shape and stay firm to minimize rod tip wrapping and wind knots. Treat this braid as an all-around option for castability, abrasion resistance and overall strength.
St. Croix, the well-known rod company, now makes reels. Under a new brand called Seviin reels, they introduced spinning and baitcasting models at ICAST. Yes, fresh and saltwater too, with the GX Series Seviin for freshwater and GSW for saltwater. Available in 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 sizes, GSW reels are sealed with fully gasketed side plates and blade seals on the spool shaft. Specs include 6 + 1 shielded stainless-steel bearing system, powerful multi-stack carbon fiber drag, stainless-steel drag components, and precision hard-brass pinion and die-cast drive gear.
Shimano Mastiff FC
Shimano won the best line category at ICAST with its Shimano Mastiff FC fluorocarbon line. In particular, Mastiff FC utilizes NANOARMOR technology. An application of nano-size ridges across the outer surface of the line helps prevent knot-slipping when fighting large fish. Plus, there’s no slippage when bass fishing with techniques like twitching, jerking or casting large lures.
Shimano Poison Ultima
The freshwater Poison Ultima rod from Shimano has its history in the JDM market. This rod incorporates some of Shimano’s most advanced rod technologies, including Spiral X Core technology, Hi-Power X technology, and Shimano X-Guide. Casting models feature Shimano’s Full Carbon Monocoque grip — a full-carbon design that’s surprisingly sensitive. Of note, the new handle shape was developed by analyzing tournament anglers’ movements and holding posture to elevate performance.
Toadfish Casting Series Rod
A Toadfish casting rod is a great inshore option. They’re lightweight and built with salt-proof hardware. Components include Kigan 3D stainless steel guides, plus Winn Grip foregrip and handle butt. Buying a Toadfish rod as part of their Put ‘Em Back movement actually helps clean coastal waters, as Toadfish supports replanting and replenishing oyster habitat efforts.
Tsunami Forged Spinning Reels
A new beefy option from Tsunami. You might be aware of their Forged lever drags, but Tsunami introduced black Forged spinners in a number of sizes (4000, 6000 and 8000). Pick these spinners up, and you can feel the weighty toughness in your hands. The reels feature a stainless gear S-Drive, similar to their SaltX spinners. The 4000 model has a 6 bearing system.
TUF-LINE Fluorocarbon XD
TUF-LINE Fluorocarbon XD was designed to be abrasion-resistant and virtually invisible underwater. The company says this is the leader to use when targeting skittish fish or when fishing in heavy cover, dragging baits along rocky bottom, or jigging offshore. With less stretch and slack, plus its quick sinking ability, expect a great bait presentation and solid hookset.
Check out this unique sandal from XTRATUF. It reminds me of Crocs. But these XTRATUFs are made using BioLite, a low compression high performance injection molded EVA foam that is easy to clean. Take these water shoes anywhere. They’ll drain quickly and dry out in short order. Can you handle the look of them?
YETI Yonder Water Bottle
YETI released some new sizes of its lightweight and nearly indestructible Yonder Water Bottle, along with a new Tether Cap. This is a great bottle to use when you need to keep the weight down in your backpack. Yonders are made from BPA-Free 50% recycled plastic, they’re 100% leakproof and 50% lighter than Ramblers.
Z-Man Rattle Snaker
Z-Man figured out a way to add rattles inside its soft baits with the Rattle Snaker. Insert the tool’s point into the bait’s tail, head or torso. Then place a rattle inside the tool’s hollow needle. Implant it with the pushrod and you’re all set. The package includes a surgical steel grade needle protected by a silicone needle guard, 10 glass rattles, and storage for rattles or tungsten weights.
Z-Man’s Mulletron is a great finger mullet imitator. The realistic head and body shape, lifelike gill plate, eye and fins are molded from ElaZtech superplastic. The bait does not come pre-rigged, so Z-Man recommends using a ZWG hook. Pick from 10 popular inshore colors. Available in 3.3- and 4-inch swimbaits sizes.