Fishing tackle, gear and electronics sales closely follow angler preferences. Manufacturers listen to loyal customers and develop gear that matches their tastes and interests.
At this year’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades — held this summer in Orlando, Florida — Sport Fishing editors saw an ever-growing market in small craft such as paddleboards and kayaks. We also saw increasingly ingenious electronics and boating and fishing accessories, as well as an explosion in new sunglasses and coolers.
Rods and reels continue to follow the trend toward lighter, smaller, stronger products. We have even started seeing more tackle and technical-clothing options for women anglers.
To provide you a glimpse of what’s just now stocking retail shelves, and what will debut this winter and spring, we compiled this gallery of gear so you can begin to make your next shopping choices. Here are 33 items we coveted during ICAST. We’ve also listed many of the saltwater-related winners from this year’s Best of Show competition.
Saltwater Fishing Reels
Penn Conflict II
Penn’s lightest reel ever designed, the Conflict II features a rigid resin body and rotor, making it 20 percent lighter than its predecessor. It comes with CNC gears, stainless-steel ball bearings, a gasketed superline spool and an HT-100 carbon-fiber drag system. Conflict IIs are available in six sizes — from a 1000 size that holds 130 yards of 8-pound braid to a 5000 that carries 300 yards of 30-pound braid — and offer gear ratios from 5.2- to 6.2-to-1. The reels cost $149.99 to $199.95.
Shimano’s updated Sustain spinning reels come in four sizes, from 2500 to 5000, and now feature Hagane gear technology and body design and XProtect. Shimano says the new reels — which took home ICAST’s Best Saltwater Reel honors — feature solid-aluminum construction. All Sustains come with Cross Carbon drag systems. The two smaller reels offer a 6-to-1 gear ratio, while the two larger sizes offer a 6.2-to-1 ratio. The 2500 packs on 145 yards of 15-pound braid; the 3000 holds 140 yards of 20-pound braid; the 4000 carries 170 yards of 30-pound braid; and the 5000 200 yards of 30. The reels cost $309.99.
Okuma Coronado CDX Baitfeeder
Okuma’s new CDX is the third generation of the popular Coronado. It features Okuma’s new slow-oscillation system for improved line lay and reduced line twist, and is optimized for braided line. A heavy-duty brass spool-shaft stabilizer keeps the drag system aligned, and the Hydro Block watertight drag seal keeps water out. The newly designed recessed bait-feeder lever keeps the mechanism tight to the reel. CDX comes in four sizes — 55 to 80 — and costs $99.99 to $119.99.
Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Low Profile
The new Revo Inshore reels combine an alloy frame with corrosion-resistant bearings to provide protection in a saltwater environment. Dual anti-reverse creates additional backup for high-pressure situations, and the IVCB-6L brake system offers a wide range of adjustment for a variety of baits. Available in right- or left-hand models, the reel carries 180 yards of 30-pound braid, achieves 24 pounds of max drag, comes with a 7.3-to-1 gear ratio and costs $249.95.
Van Staal VR50
Van Staal built its reputation on fully machined, fully sealed reels for harsh surf environments. The VR50 extends that heritage in a small, lightweight inshore reel. Most parts are machined from aircraft-grade aluminum or stainless steel; the carbon-fiber drag system nearly eliminates the start-up spike. The 8.9-ounce VR50 can handle more than 25 pounds of lock-down drag, offers a 6.8-to-1 gear ratio and holds 360 yards of 20-pound braid. It costs $489.99.
Saltwater Fishing Rods
Lew’s Tournament Performance TP1 Inshore
Lew’s has added two new models to its inshore-rod lineup. The 7-foot medium casting and 7-foot medium-light-action spinning rods won first-runner-up honors in the Saltwater Rod category. Tips are medium-fast, making the new rods ideal for casting a variety of topwater and soft-plastic baits. Built from IM8 graphite blanks, fitted with American Tackle MicroWave guides and featuring split-grip handles with Winn Dri-Tac technology, the TP1s cost $99.99.
Okuma Rockaway Surf
Okuma built its Rockaway Surf rods light so that anglers can cast them all day. The 24-ton carbon rod blanks feature Okuma’s UFR-II rod-tip technology. The thin, tapered shrink-tube grips create firm, durable handholds. Available in 10-, 11- and 12-foot lengths and in actions from medium-light to medium-heavy, the Rockaway rods cost $99.99 to $109.99.
St. Croix Legend Inshore
St. Croix’s blue Legend Tournament Inshore rods won this year’s Best Saltwater Rod category at ICAST. Made from SCIV graphite and built using integrated poly-curve tooling technology, the blanks are engineered to eliminate all transitional points, promoting smooth action, increased strength and significant sensitivity. Reinforcing and resin-system technologies produce lightweight sensitivity and durability. Components include Fuji TVS and PTS reel seats, cork handles and Kigan Master Hand Zero Tangle guides with aluminum oxide rings and titanium frames. The new rods are available in 10 models — seven spin and three casting. Prices range from $280 to $340.
Penn Ally Kite Rod
Penn designed its Ally kite rods to match up with a variety of the company’s reel series. The 39-inch rods feature a solid-tip fiberglass-blank design for increased durability, as well as Fuji kite tops and reel seats. Metal gimbals provide a solid connection within the rod holder. The kite rods cost $119.95.
Savage Gear Surf Walker
The Savage Gear Surf Walker, a lipless topwater bait, features a sleek stick-style body that creates a frantic walk-the-dog action. The long-cast design allows anglers to fling these baits out and away; they work well as a topwater search bait. The plug comes in two sizes — 6-inch, 5/8 ounces and 7-inch, 1 ounce — and in five colors: brown, gold, dirty silver, olive and white. They cost $8.99 to $9.99.
Eagle Claw Trokar TK23 and L2033 Assist Hooks
Eagle Claw now offers its Trokar and Lazer Sharp hooks in rigged-assist versions featuring hand-tied and cemented Kevlar cord (in 200-pound and 300-pound strengths) with a red tubing wrap. The rigs come with two pairs of solid- and split-ring components for rigging single or tandem. The Trokars feature a platinum-black finish, and the Lazer Sharps come in a Sea Guard finish; both are available in sizes 1/0, 3/0, 5/0 and 7/0. They come two hooks per package, plus two split rings and two O-rings. Lazer Sharps cost $7.19 to $8.39 per pack, and Trokars cost $9.99.
Berkley FireLine Ultra 8
Berkley has taken its premier FireLine process and applied it to thermally fuse an 8-carrier Dyneema-fiber braid. Berkley says the new line is four times more abrasion resistant than the original FireLine and features a higher pic count for smoothness. Ultra 8 won best-fishing-line honors at ICAST; it comes in 4- to 30-pound-test strengths and in smoke and crystal colors. Prices are $19.99 for a 125-yard spool, $39.99 for a 300-yard spool and $199.99 for a 1,500-yard spool.
Sebile Bull Minnow
Sebile’s new Bull Minnow comes with a 360-degree rotating belly hook that prevents fish from gaining leverage and throwing the bait. The humpback-shaped power jerkbait was made to work aggressively and can be retrieved at higher speeds while continuing to track true. The tail-weighted design allows for better casting distance and increased noise generation. The 6-inch bait comes in three weights: 2, 2 3/8 and 2 7/8 ounces. They cost $9.99 to $14.99.
Z-Man 3-Inch Slim SwimZ
Z-Man’s popular Slim SwimZ is now available in a larger 3-inch size. The thin body and curved paddle tail produce an undulating swimming action. The minnow shape attracts a variety of saltwater predators. The soft-plastic swimbait pairs with the new Trout Eye Finesse and TT Lures NedlockZ jig heads. The integrated hook slot aids in weedless rigging and facilitates hook-sets. Available in 14 colors, a six-pack costs $4.49.
SpiderWire Stealth Pink Camo
New to the Stealth lineup, Pink Camo is colored for high visibility in all water conditions. The braid’s PE fibers provide no-stretch sensitivity for better bite detection. Color-lock coating technology discourages fading. The line is available in 10- to 65-pound strengths and in 125-, 200-, 300- and 1,500-yard spools. Pink Camo costs $12.99 to $279.99.
Williamson Koika Jig
Designed for slow-pitching above suspended coastal fish, Williamson’s Koika jig features an asymmetric shape and center balance that generate a slow fluttering fall followed by a darting swimming motion on the lift and a horizontal shimmy on the pause. Williamson says Koikas stay in the strike zone longer when you need a slower drop to schooling fish like tuna. The jigs come with an embedded holographic foil finish and a heavy-duty VMC assist hook with armored braid. Available in four sizes and eight colors, the jigs cost $12.99 to $14.99.
Halco Trembler 70XS
Halco’s new Trembler 70XS is the smallest member of its family. The lipless minnow can be cast, jigged or trolled up to 7 mph, achieving a swimming depth of 8 feet. The two No. 4 Mustad treble hooks are made with fine-gauge wire, but are forged for strength. The lure comes in clear-bodied and painted colors, weighs 1/2 ounce and measures 2 3/4 inches long. They cost $11.95.
LiveTarget Hollow Body Mullet
LiveTarget Hollow Body Mullet
Best of Show winner in the saltwater soft-lure category, LiveTarget’s Hollow Body Mullet is a snag-resistant topwater lure featuring an attractive walking action, a corrosion-resistant custom single hook and balanced weighting. Available in three sizes — 3 3/4 inches, 3/8 ounce; 4 1/2 inches, 1/2 ounce; and 5 3/8 inches, 5/8 ounce — and in natural/black, natural/brown and silver, the baits cost $13.49 to $14.49.
Shimano Coltsniper Walk
Shimano’s new topwater Coltsniper Walk pencil baits demonstrate an easy walk-the-dog design and come in high-pitch and silent versions. The high-pitch Walk (pictured) is made from a glass-fiber material, while the silent version is made from a translucent material. Walks feature wire-through construction and 3X-size hooks and measure just over 4.3 inches. They come in a range of colors and cost $9.99.
SoftScience Fin 3
SoftScience’s Fin 3 boat shoes incorporate a five-eye lacing system with a pull tab for easy donning and comfortable wear. EVA reinforcements at the toe, forefoot and ankle create stability in challenging offshore conditions. Fin 3s are available in men’s sizes 7 to 13, and in black, blue, dark gray and light gray. They cost $99.95.
AFTCO Barracuda Geo Cool
The AFTCO Barracuda Geo Cool performance sun-protection shirt features a drirelease fabric that utilizes mineral-infused cooling technology to absorb and dissipate heat for cool, dry comfort. Barracuda is also bluesign-approved, promoting textiles that minimize impact on people and the environment. The shirts come with mesh panels and flatlock-seam construction and offer UPF 50-plus sun protection and anti-microbial properties. Available in gray heather, sky and vapor, the shirts cost $59.
Columbia PFG Solar Shade Zero
This woven button-up shirt comes with Columbia’s new Omni-Shade Sun Deflector technology — featuring special sun-deflecting titanium-dioxide dots on the shoulders and back — as well as Omni-Freeze Zero technology to help keep anglers cool and protected for long days on the water. The shirt also comes with a sun-protective collar, roll-up sleeves, a rod-holder tab and light-rail zippered chest pockets. Available in grill (gray), vivid blue and green mamba and in sizes S to 2XL, it costs $95.
Grundéns Deck Boss Boots
Grundéns’ 15-inch Deck Boss boots offer a rigid toe cap and an injection-molded upper that eliminates delamination and cracking. The flexible upper folds down when the full boot height is not needed; a 1-inch groove holds a silicone band to secure pant legs and keep them out of the muck. The company’s patented Herkules Grip synthetic-rubber technology creates improved traction on wet surfaces. Inside, the insole comprises two separate levels for channeling water. Available in whole sizes 6 to 14, Deck Boss boots cost $129.
Pelagic Hydro-Lite Pro Boardshorts
An enhanced version of Pelagic’s popular Hydro-Lite boardshorts, Pro shorts come with two front and one back sonic-welded zipper pockets and a reinforced right-hip plier pocket. They’re made from lightweight, quick-drying eight-way stretch fabric coated for stain and water resistance. Pros come in three colors and cost $79.
Cuda’s new line of fishing gloves comes in three styles: bait, wire wrap and offshore. The multilayer Kevlar material resists punctures, and the fingertips incorporate touch-screen capabilities. Reflective indicators create added visibility, and pull straps make it easier to don and doff the gloves. All three styles come in M, L and XL sizes; bait and offshore gloves cost $57.49, and wire wraps cost $63.24.
Bluefin Tech Tee Hoodie
Bluefin improved the softness of its technical knitted hoodie to create “peach-soft” comfort and full flexibility with UPF 40-plus sun protection. The 65 percent microfiber and 35 percent rayon shirt comes with a drawstring hood and large front pocket. Available in S to 2XL unisex sizes and in light blue, gray and navy, the hoodies cost $46.
Fish Hippie Performance Shorts
Made from 88 percent nylon and 12 percent spandex, Fish Hippie’s new performance shorts feature an 8-inch inseam and fast-dry technology. Side- and back-zip pockets keep necessities secure. The shorts come in stone, navy and tan, and in waist sizes 30 to 44. They cost $75.
Xtratuf South Shore
Many warm-weather anglers wear flip-flops year-round, but because of the sport’s sometimes frenetic nature, they still need to maintain secure footing. Xtratuf says its South Shore flips do that, combining the company’s non-marking, slip-resistant chevron outsole with a molded foot cradle that helps keep wet feet in place. Available in men’s sizes 7 to 15 and in women’s sizes 5 to 11, South Shores cost $80.
Yeti Panga Duffel
Voted best fishing accessory at ICAST, Yeti’s new Panga duffel is an airtight submersible bag built using a waterproof Hydrolok zipper and an abrasion- and puncture-resistant nylon and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) shell. It comes with multiple straps and lash points and accessible interior mesh pockets. The duffel is available in three sizes — measuring 23 1/2, 28 or 32 1/2 inches long — and in a storm-gray color with black and blue accents. They cost $299.99 to $399.99.
Buff UV Multifunctional Headwear
Buff’s new UV lineup of headwear blocks 90 percent of the sun’s harmful rays. The Coolmax Pro fabric wicks away sweat, and the Polygiene active odor control neutralizes smells. Available in 34 new patterns, including designs by marine artists Guy Harvey and Derek DeYoung and a vintage-inspired national parks collection, the UV Buffs cost $25.
Rapala Mag Spring Pliers
Rapala has debuted a new lineup of tools that includes its Mag Spring pliers, designed with an innovative magnetic mag-spring system that keeps the jaws open and ready for use. Made from stainless steel with tin-nickel-alloy plating, the pliers — voted runner-up in ICAST’s best-fishing-accessory category — feature serrated jaws, an offset design, vented soft handles, a line cutter and a pivoting sheath. Available in 4-, 6- and 8-inch sizes, they cost $24.99.
Minn Kota Talon 15
So, how low can you go? For Minn Kota, that answer is 15 feet. The company’s newest Talon shallow-water anchor extends 15 feet below the surface to stake out in channels; it earned runner-up honors in the boating-accessories category at ICAST. The 15 can also be activated using a Bluetooth connection to a Humminbird multifunction display, as well as by engaging a foot switch, wireless remote or smartphone app. New Talons also come with a work light built into the top cap. Available in a variety of color combinations, the 15-footer costs $2,499.99.
Raymarine Axiom Pro
Raymarine’s new Axiom Pro multifunction displays build on the company’s Axiom platform, which debuted in February. The Pros add in-plane switching technology to the display screens, which makes them even more clearly visible from all angles, even through polarized sunglasses. The new units also feature HybridTouch controls — multitouch touch screens plus a rotary knob and a few buttons — and an internal quad-core processing computer. Pros also come with two ports for running two distinct transducers. They’re available in 9-, 12- and 16-inch versions with 1 kW of power and start at $2,549.99.