The annual International Sport Fishing Allied Trades Convention or “ICAST” as the tortured acronym goes, took place this week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida showcasing all the new fishing tackle that will be available in the coming months for anglers around the world. the country.
As always, many new products will delight Alabama anglers, including undoubtedly Berkley’s “Best of Show” lure, the “Gilly” Powerbait. It’s a soft plastic bluegill sunfish infused with the company’s scent attractant, and with a series of bumps and fins on its sides and tail that make it swim like crazy when it’s rigged on a single widemouth hook.
The lure is likely to be a real killer in the spring both during bass spawning, when bass females attack egg-stealing bluegills invading their nests, and also in early summer when one of the main bass feed becomes baby bluegills. The collapsible head allows for better hook sets and also keeps the bait upright in most rigs, although it can be rigged to run flat and fished like a frog in thick weed mat cover. The addition of Berkley’s scent attraction should also allow fish to hold on to the bait long enough for strong hooks. Berkley repeatedly tests this material in their tanks and finds that bass hold up to Powerbait lures much longer than they do to standard soft plastics. It is available in three sizes.
Berkley also won the Best Saltwater Hard Lure category with a saltwater version of their Choppo, a topwater with a spinning tail that makes it a kind of buzzbait – should be good for sea trout and rockfish – see all their news on www.berkley-fishing.com.
Another product that is sure to be huge for bass anglers who can afford it is the Humminbird Mega-Imaging Sonar/GPS System from Humminbird, a Eufaula, Alabama company. With the new system, anglers can see fish and structure in real time, even watching the fish on screen as they move to bite the lure. It’s video game fishing, which will definitely give a huge advantage to tournament competitors who have it whenever the fish are in waters deeper than a few feet, as you no longer waste time fishing in areas where there are no fish. The system could also be useful in determining the effectiveness of a lure – if you can see a fish approach the lure and then turn away, it means it’s time to change color, action or retrieve; www.humminbird.com/learn/imaging/mega-live.
Another ICAST category winning lure that Bama bass anglers will likely love is the new Strike King “Chick Magnet” lure, a flat design with a circuit board lip and balsa wood action that combines the best of old and new, according to the company, providing long casts as well as huge fish attracting swings in depths of 3 to 6 feet; www.strikeking.com.
For the many kayak anglers now enjoying the fresh and salt waters of the state, the Lono Aero Inflatable Kayak might be of interest. It’s a 12′6″ inflatable that weighs just 51 pounds, far lighter than similarly sized composite fishing canoes, yet the company claims it’s more stable and offers more comfort. It’s about $1500 for the ‘yak, and $800 more for the pedal propulsion and rudder system than most will probably want; www.boteboard.com.
Abu Garcia’s new Zenon series rods topped the freshwater rod category. They are expensive at around $400, but incredibly light and sensitive, but have higher breaking strengths and better impact and fracture resistance according to the company. The guides are in titanium alloy with silicon nitride inserts, the handles in carbon for minimal weight; www.abugarcia.com.
Daiwa won both the freshwater and saltwater reel categories. The Zillion SV TW was the best for freshwater, with the T-wing level wind system for minimal casting friction, a free-floating spool for long casts with minimal backlash, and a weight of only 6.9 ounces – the price is around $310. The Daiwa Saltist MQ won the award for Best Saltwater Reel. Available in sizes ranging from 2500 trout size to 20000 marlin size, these spinning reels have a one-piece aluminum frame and body that cuts out saltwater intrusion, reduces weight and allows for oversized gears to more power and durability. Prices range from around $300 to $390; https://daiwa.us.