ICAST 2016 is a wrap. Last week Fin & Field traveled to Orlando to attend the nations largest fishing industry trade show. This was our first time attending this show but nearly everyone we spoke to remarked about the large turnout. If attendance at ICAST is reflective of the health of the fishing industry it is safe to say that business is booming! Retailers were there in droves to meet with manufacturers and those manufacturers were there with their tried and true product lines as well as new innovations.
You can see the lineup of ICAST 2016 “Best of Show” Awards here. What may not be obvious from this list of winners is how good all the gear is this year, from rods to reels, apparel, lures, and tools. Across the board each manufacturer is putting out a super high level of product, the industry has matured a lot in the last 5-10 years. Consumers are more savvy than ever and manufacturers are held to higher and higher standards. We as fishermen are very fortunate to have this glut of high quality products on the market.
We also had a great time catching up with old and new friends at ICAST. Fly Navarro, our Summer 2016 Most Interesting Sportsman in the World, was at the show and we spent some time with him looking at some of his favorite lures, like this show winner for “Best Soft Lure” from Squidnation. “That Flippy Floppy Thing” is a great offshore trolling lure for everything from dorado to billfish.
We had a blast walking the show floor and here are some of the other highlights.
Braxton Setzer showed us some new rods at Phenix Rods. We were particularly impressed with the new Phenix Recon Elite. This is the latest revision of the Recon line. These were already great rods and the Elite series now has even better components making the rod that much lighter and more responsive.
At the Daiwa booth Jake Stark showed us a new, lighter, stronger Diawa Zillion SV TW Casting Reel. The new technologies promise nearly zero backlashes and longer more precise casts due to unparalleled line control. And at 13.2 lbs of drag it is no slouch once you hook a fish.
Stark also showed us the new Cronos rods. Designed to deliver tournament-caliber performance, these rods were extensively field tested. The biggest innovation may be the X45 graphite fiber construction along with the Diawa’s Braiding-X on the lower portion of the rod that work together to prevent the rod from twisting.
Duck…Duck…RAT! The Savage Gear Duck above-left won “Best Hard Lure” at ICAST this year but is just the tip of the iceberg on their creative hard lures. The action and realistic look of these lures leaves little doubt that they will trick bass frequently.
Editorial Contributor – Robert “Fly” Navarro
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