Take a Walk Through the World’s Largest Fishing Tackle Show!

Take a virtual stroll down the aisles of the Las Vegas Convention Center and check out the gear.

July 16, 2013
Anglers love fishing tackle, and seeing displays of the latest sport-fishing equipment in aisle after aisle, filling the Las Vegas Convention Center, is an amazing experience. That’s the ICAST**** experience. The acronym stands for International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, but it boils down to fishing tackle ‘n stuff! Held every year for three days in roughly the middle part of July, the industry-only event isn’t open to the general public; rather it’s filled with manufacturers, distributors, dealers and media. As part of the latter, I went, I saw, I photographed — and can share a bit of ICAST 2013 here. Unfortunately, even in three days, I lacked time to really get around to all 25 or so aisles, and I wasn’t able to visit all manufacturers. There’s just too much “show” at this show! But here’s an look at some of what I saw — and next week, watch for part two — the second ICAST gallery. In this image (taken with my GoPro 3): A selection of Strike Pro‘s Hunchback lures, “wake baits” that cruise barely under the surface. Doug Olander
Visually, the world’s largest tackle show lives up to its billing, from seeing even one corner of a much, much larger show. Doug Olander

G. Loomis Press Conference Attracts a Crowd

New-product intros are the basis for many press conferences at ICAST; G. Loomis described its expansion of premium NRX rods.

Hobie’s Mirage Adventure Island

At the Hobie booth sits a Mirage Adventure Island, a sailing kayak with stabilizers that can troll at 12 to 14 knots for serious offshore angling, especially when rigged for that purpose, as here. Doug Olander

Braid’s Komodo Poppers

Brand new design from Braid, these 200 mm hardwood poppers sport 5X-strong trebles and are through-wired with 500-pound steel. Doug Olander

RAM Mounts

RAM Mounts offers literally hundreds of variations for mounting electronics and more with its modular system. This shows just a few of the mounting solutions a kayak angler can utlize for rod holders, electronics and more. By Doug Olander

Heart of the RAM System

The great variety of mounting options offered by RAM are based on its ball track adapters as shown in this video display in the RAM booth. Doug Olander

Z-Man Pogyz

New from Z-Man, shown on one wall of the company’s booth, the Pogyz offers a deeper body than some of its similar baits and a segmented tail. The amazingly tough Elaztech material has great action and is buoyant; I fish it on a weighted weedless hook, making it sink a bit faster than a suspending bait. Doug Olander

Two-Story Booths

Some exhibitors erected elaborate booths, with lounges upstairs. Doug Olander

Lowrance Shows Off Touchscreen Technology

Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch units have been very popular, and just before ICAST, the company announced updated 2.0 software that includes wireless connectivity for tablets, mobile phones and computers. Doug Olander
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Kalin’s Scrub soft bait

Now part of the Uncle Josh empire, Kalin‘s continues to offer interesting soft baits — such as these 3-inch Scrubs, with not one but two paddle tails to attract attention. Doug Olander

Year of the Paddleboard?

Certainly S.U.P.s at this year’s ICAST were better represented than ever as is evident from the many shapes and sizes of Bote paddleboards for anglers on display. Doug Olander

Accurate Special-Edition 80-Wide

Doug or Dave Nilsen* shows off Accurate‘s special-edition 80-wide two-speed. (*Hey: These guys are quintessential identical twins — I never know which is which!) Doug Olander

Pelagic’s New Shades

Sunglass were big at ICAST this year and among the new entries in that product genre was Pelagic. Doug Olander

Halco’s Newest Topwater Lure, The Skim Stick

Australia’s Halco continues to produce outstanding lures, in this case with a truly innovative design. The Skim Stick’s thick lip (“bib” Down Under), meticulously engineered over many months of development, and weighted back end make this lure skip across the surface as would a skittering ballyhoo. Tuna killer! Doug Olander

Skim Stick’s Innovative Lip Design

Another look at the thick acrylic lip that helps this lure skip across the surface with a frantic, fluttering action. Doug Olander

Touchscreen Show Directory

With ICAST having grown into a behemoth event, this year’s touchscreen directories were a godsend. Here, Sport Fishing‘s Chris Woodward taps the “M” to see companies whose names begin accordingly. Doug Olander

ICAST Touchscreen Demo, Continued

Chris finds the companies whose names begin with “M” and taps Mustang. Doug Olander

Last Step at the Touchscreen

And there’s the path! Chris sees that the Mustang booth is seven aisles over and down several booths on the left. Pretty hard to go wrong. Doug Olander

Old Town’s New Predator Fishing Kayak

Perhaps showing Flyfishing in Salt Waters editor John Frazier the size of the last fish he caught, Old Town‘s David Hadden engages in an animated discussion. The Predator, part of Johnson Outdoors Watercraft division, took ICAST’s Best in Show award in the Boats category. Doug Olander

Zaco Lures on Display

Every year at ICAST, one can see overseas lure manufacturers whose names/products are not familiar to most in the United States (one of the motivators for them being at ICAST, obviously). Here, Zaco lures from Korea shows its wares. Doug Olander

Stren Original Monofilament

Stren‘s venerable Original formula fluoresces blue in bright daylight, as this display shows, but becomes clear underwater. Doug Olander

Tuf-Line Bring a Threading Machine

Western Filament brought a working threading machine; passersby could actually watch the process in action as threads from many different spools became a single strand of braided Tuf-Line. Doug Olander
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A Blur of Revolving Spools

Once in motion, the spools of gel-spun polyethylene line become a blur. Doug Olander

LiveTarget’s Baitball

Is that one lure or three? LiveTarget has come up with several lures, fresh and salt, that encompass its “Baitball” technology, so a predator in theory sees several fleeing fish, not just one. The idea was good enough to garner the Best of Show award in the Hard Lure category. Doug Olander

MirrOlure’s New C-Eye Pro Series

MirrOlure‘s MirrOdine lures are designed to “catch their [fishes’] attention,” per the company’s web site, and the bright colors with contrasting patterns should do just that. Doug Olander

Staying Cool in the Las Vegas Heat

Many exhibitors, particularly those displaying clothing, relied in part on the babe factor to earn the attention of passersby. Doug Olander

Who You Callin’ Shark Face?

Columbia Sportswear‘s new sun protection puts on a scary visage with its new (for 2014) Graphic Neck Gaiters, featuring OmniShade and UPF 40 sun protection. Doug Olander

Arribe 1200

Advance PR and a flashy look helped create a lot of buzz for newcomer Arribe‘s 1200 reel, which it describes as “an all-in-one 6:1 single-speed, lever-drag, multi-tasking reel” with machined aluminum frame, heat-treated beryllium copper gears and titanium components. The reel was too new for an MSRP to be set, but I was told it would be at least $750. Doug Olander
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Fish Ninjas from AFTCO

AFTCO‘s new Fish Ninja tech shirt features a full hood with 50+ UV protection. The poly/spandex material is designed for comfort; it’s stain resistant and anti-microbial. Doug Olander

Van Staal VM 275

Capt. Craig Cantelmo offers a look at Van Staal‘s latest in the big-game spinning-reel category. The VM 275 has a waterproof, sealed drag and a T-6 aluminum body, with a $599 retail. Doug Olander

It’s Not the Size of Your Shaft… No, Wait: It Is!

The Van Staal 275 also sports the largest-diameter main shaft among spinning reels, according to the manufacturer.

A Really Big Show

One small part of the show floor from above offers some idea of the scope of this annual event. Doug Olander

Penn Torque Lever Drag Reels

Striking gold — an array of Penn‘s golden lever-drag Torques occupy a bit of space in parent company Pure Fishing’s huge exhibit area. Doug Olander

Plano’s Guide Series Tackle Bag

With its molded, impact-resistant waterproof base, Plano‘s 3700 Guide Series offers one quick-access Stowaway clear box on top and five more inside. It retails for $79.99. Doug Olander

Shimano’s New Sinking ORCA Hard Bait

The topwater ORCA stick bait has proved such a hit that Shimano now offers a sinking version which can be worked as a twitchbait. Hooks and hardware are clearly meant for serious fish. Doug Olander

Stanley Meltzoff’s Fabulous Fish Art

Mako, swordfish and squid mix it up in on of many paintings by the late Stanley Meltzoff on display at ICAST. See more at Silverfish Press. Doug Olander

Savage Gear’s New 3D Manic Shrimp

The attention to detail in the new shrimp lure designed by Savage Gear‘s mastermind, Mads Grosell, is amazing. So is the way it moves in the water. Doug Olander

Savage Gear Lure-Test Tank Draws a Crowd

Lure inventor Mads Grosell shows off his new shrimp. Doug Olander

Wait — That’s Got To Be Alive!

When the Manic Shrimp falls, all of it’s numerically and anatomically correct legs “swim,” looking perfectly real; then, when it hits bottom it sits tail up as shrimp do when getting ready to dart to safety. Ingenious! Doug Olander

Bagley Jigs Galore

An array of inshore jigs from lure manufacturer Bagley. Doug Olander
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New Black Watch Gaff

Sea Striker has come up with a dynamic ultra-light (and ultra-sharp) design for its Black Watch lip gaff. The aluminum body sports a stainless tip and comes with a floating lanyard. Doug Olander

At the ICAST Industry Breakfast

A vast crowd at the annual industry breakfast, starting at 7:30 a.m. the opening morning of the show, applauds as keynote speaker Johnny Bench approaches the podium for an inspirational talk. Doug Olander

At the Tropic Star Booth

Two well-known personalities in the world of sport fishing share a laugh at the Tropic Star booth — Larry Dahlberg (left, of the TV show The Hunt for Big Fish) and Raleigh Working. Congrats to Tropic Star, btw, celebrating its 50th year. Doug Olander

A Stella-r Lineup

At the Shimano booth, the new Stella spinners caught my eye. Their largest (ever), the new Stella 30000, took Best in Show honors in the Saltwater Reel category. Doug Olander

Going Deep — Minn Kota’s New 12-foot Talon

The new Minn Kota Talon will hold you tight in up to 12 feet of water. You don’t realize just how much depth that is until you see it: Here, Minn Kota shows folks, with the top of the flag to the pole’s base exactly 12 feet. Doug Olander

Trokar by Eagle Claw

An increasing range of surgically sharpened hooks by Trokar, top of the line for Eagle Claw, cover a large display at the Eagle Claw booth. Doug Olander

A Laugh at the Yo-Zuri Booth

Yo-Zuri America President George Large (right) shares a laugh. The high-end lure company, based in Japan, is offering a variety of new lures in its 3D line including Crystal 3D Minnows and Crystal 3D Shrimp. Doug Olander

G. Loomis: More Rods Than You Can Shake A Stick At

Looking through rows of top-shelf rods at a G. Loomis press conference. Doug Olander

Nomad tackle bag

The Nomad Tackle Storage System is displayed at ICAST’s New Products Showcase, here a roller bag with a collapsible handle. Nomad unveiled a whole line of tackle storage options at this year’s show. Doug Olander

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