Each year, the fishing tackle industry introduces its new-for-next-year reels, rods, lures, line, gear and accessories in one giant convention called the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, or ICAST. Hundreds of exhibitors from around the world set up displays for media and tackle dealers who are interested in what these companies plan to sell to the U.S. fisherman. ICAST doesn’t discriminate between fresh- and saltwater products, and it does not allow the general public to attend. In this gallery of 15 products, we’ll show you a handpicked list of some of the top reels, rods and tackle for saltwater anglers. Some are already on the market, but others will debut in early 2017. In a separate gallery, we’ll show you 11 new gear, accessories and fishing kayaks that have also been planned for the 2017 model year. Want more? We’ve got videos and galleries from our on-site coverage of the actual ICAST show.
Penn Torque II Spinning Reel
Penn‘s new Torque II spinning reels feature an IPX6 sealed system to keep water out of the gearbox and drag system. CNC gear technology creates a precision bronze main gear and stainless-steel pinion and oscillation gears that are individually machined for exact tolerances. Offering Penn’s Dura-Drag system, the Torque II comes in three sizes: the 5500 and 7500 (bailless versions available), and the 9500, for 20- to 50-, 50- to 80-, and 65- to 100-pound braid. The reels start at $699.95.
Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel
Available in five sizes, from 1000 to 5000, Shimano NASCI spinning reels come with a Hagane cold-forged aluminum drive gear and CoreProtect for water resistance. The drag system for the smaller four sizes includes felt washers for better light-tackle performance. The C5000 reel comes with Cross Carbon washers to handle bigger quarry. The reels feature gear ratios of 5- or 6.2-to-1, depending on size; smaller reels hold 10- to 20-pound braid, while larger ones use 20- to 40-pound braid. Prices range from $99.99 to $109.99.
Okuma Komodo SS 450 Baitcasting Reel
Okuma‘s new 450-size Komodo SS baitcaster is built around a stainless main gear, pinion gear, drive shaft and spool shaft for internal strength and corrosion resistance, allowing anglers to push the max-drag output to 30 pounds. The SS comes with seven stainless high-performance bearings, plus a roller bearing; offers a 6.3-to-1 gear ratio; and starts at $259.99.
Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel
Fin-Nor‘s Offshore spinning reels feature a flex-free aluminum body and rotor; an oversize power knob; and the company’s MegaDrag system, with up to 10 carbon-fiber, aluminum and stainless-steel washers, designed to handle big offshore predators. Available in six sizes, starting with the 4500 for 17-pound mono or 50-pound braid, and ranging up to the 9500 for 20-pound mono or 65-pound braid, Offshore reels offer 4.7- or 4.4-to-1 gear ratios and cost $159 to $189.
St. Croix Mojo Jig Rods
Tested from New England to the Gulf Coast, Mojo Jig rods possess the strength to hoist up large game fish as well as the action to entice strikes, St. Croix says. They’re made from a blend of SCII graphite to produce a lightweight blank, and feature Fuji reel seats, Seaguide guides and EVA handles. Mojo Jig rods come in four conventional and four spinning models, in 5-foot-8-inch and 6-foot-6-inch lengths with medium to extra-heavy power. They cost $200.
Star Plasma Stand-Up Rods
Star Rods designed its Plasma stand-up rods for ultimate lifting power, but they’re light enough to fish all day. Blanks are constructed with extra-high-modulus graphite and Star’s Duratech butt weave. Components include heavy-duty Fuji guides with silicon-carbide rings, Stuart aluminum reel seats, and carbon PowerButts with aluminum gimbals. The series includes three 6-foot models with varying actions. Plasma stand-ups cost $249.95.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Rods
Shakespeare says it has refreshed its iconic Bigwater series with new Ugly Tuff saltwater guides and an updated look. Available in 10 casting models, six spinners, 10 surf rods, four downrigger rods, two stand-ups and two fly rods, the Bigwater series features the traditional clear-tip design, one-piece stainless-steel guides, EVA handles and conventional reel seats. The rods come in one- and two-piece models in multiple lengths and powers. They cost $59.95 to $179.95.
Okuma Cortez Rod Series Expansion
Okuma has significantly expanded its Cortez rod series to include 11 new models: four trolling, five casting and two spinning rods. Trolling rods feature HD guide frames and slick butts, measure 6 feet 6 inches and 7 feet, and come in medium and medium-heavy power. Casting models include 6-foot-6-inch and 7-foot sticks in medium, medium-heavy and heavy power. The spinning rods measure 7 feet and come in medium and medium-heavy. The rods cost $69.99 and $79.99.
Halco Max 190 Hard-Body Lure
Australian lure company Halco has added a 190 size (7½ inches) to its award-winning Max lineup. In fact, the 190 model was recently voted Best New Hard-Body Lure at the Australian Fishing Tackle Trade Association show. The 5½-ounce lure features double-wall thickness, welded hook hangers and tow points, and two Mustad 7/0 in-line single hooks. Trollable up to 24 knots or castable, the 190 comes in eight colors and costs $23.50.
Rapala Terminator Popping Frog Lure
An unconventional saltwater lure? Sure, but Sport Fishing editors want to try this Rapala Terminator Popping Frog for species such as snook, redfish, tarpon and jacks. It’s seriously weedless, and its cupped face causes major commotion while the bait walks across the surface. Featuring a custom VMC double hook, round rubber legs and a heavy-duty welded line tie, the frog is also tail-weighted for extra casting distance. The lure measures 2½ inches long, weighs 9⁄16 ounce, comes in 16 colors, and costs $9.99.
Savage Gear Panic Popper Lure
Savage Gear‘s Panic Popper features a cupped-face design to throw more water farther. Its extra-heavy-duty hooks and split rings create solid sets to bring more fish to the boat. Hook hangers have been tested to more than 120 pounds of pulling pressure. Available in two sizes — 5¼ inches (1¼ ounces) and 7¾ inches (4 ounces) — the poppers cost $8.99 and $15.99.
Seaguar Rippin’ Monofilament Line
For anglers who prefer using monofilament in topwater applications, Seaguar has created Rippin’ mono. A thin-diameter premium mono, Rippin’ also offers superior knot and tensile strength, Seaguar says. At the same time, it’s soft and supple with low memory. Available in 200-yard spools of 4- to 40-pound line classes, for $10.99 to $14.99, Rippin’ features Level Wind technology, which spools the line by laying it side by side without crossing.
SpiderWire Stealth Translucent Braid
SpiderWire‘s popular Stealth braid now comes in a translucent, high-vis white color. Made from Dyneema fibers, Stealth Translucent can be easily seen above the water’s surface; below the surface, a gelcoat finish gives the braid a semitransparent appearance. Translucent comes in spools of 125, 200, 300, 500, 1,500 and 3,000 yards, in pound-tests from 6 to 100. Prices range from $17.99 to $389.99.
Williamson Subsurface Pro Lure
Expanding on its Pro series of lures, Williamson has introduced the SubSurface Pro, a 5⅛-inch hard bait that’s weighted to flutter horizontally on the fall. Work it back to the boat using any of a variety of techniques, including slash, rip-and-stop or walk-the-dog. The SubSurface Pro weighs 2 ounces, comes with two in-line VMC single hooks, and is available in 10 color patterns. The lures cost $13.99 to $15.99.
Z-Man EZKeeperZ Hooks
Built on a patented keeper design that holds all types of plastic baits, the Z-Man EZ KeeperZ has a barbed, U-shaped stainless clip that allows for easy weedless rigging and ensures proper hook alignment while minimizing tearing. Each EZ KeeperZ is built around a custom weighted black-nickel hook. A rubber O-ring holds baits snugly against the hook point. Offered in hook sizes 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0, with 1⁄16-, ⅛- and 3⁄16-ounce weights, a three-pack of EZ KeeperZ costs $5.99.