2022 ICAST New Product “Best of Category” Winners

See who topped the list of best new fishing tackle and gear.

At each summer’s ICAST fishing tackle trade show, hundreds of fishing and boating items vie for recognition as the best new products in 30 categories — as voted by the media and tackle dealers. Here is the list of 2022 winners. We’ve called out the primary saltwater category winners and listed the remainder. Some of these products are available now; others will roll out this fall and next spring.
The overall Best of Show winner is the PacBak P88-MK Combo, a combination cooler and vacuum sealer.

Penn Authority
Penn Authority Courtesy Penn

Saltwater Reel – Penn Authority

Penn’s new Authority spinning reel features an IPX8 waterproof rating, CNC Gear technology with a stainless-steel gear train and pinion gear, and Leveline slow oscillation system. The 12+1 bearing system delivers a smooth retrieve, and the Dura-Drag generates maximum drag pressure. Available in September, Authority will come in sizes ranging from 2500 to 10500 and cost $499.95 to $599.95.

Ugly Stik Carbon Inshore
Ugly Stik Carbon Inshore Courtesy Ugly Stik

Saltwater Rod – Ugly Stik Carbon Inshore

The new Carbon Inshore rods feature a 24-ton graphite blank with a solid graphite tip, creating a lightweight, balanced rod with crisp action and increased sensitivity. Technique-specific, these rods are available in six spinning and three casting models with one-piece stainless-steel Ugly Tuff guides, cork foregrips and a shrink-tube aft handle for durability. The rods cost $99.95.

Shimano Spheros SW Combo
Shimano Spheros SW Combo Courtesy Shimano

Rod & Reel Combo – Shimano Spheros SW Combo

Shimano took its recently introduced Spheros reel and paired it with high-quality graphite rods to deliver a saltwater combo in four well-balanced models to target multiple species. The rods feature durable blanks with tapered EVA handles and Fuji aluminum-oxide guides. The Spheros SW A reels feature Shimano’s cold-forged Hagane gear and Hagane body technology. Available in four spinning models (7 and 9 feet in length) with reels from 5000 to 8000 sizes, they cost $229.99

Hardy Fortuna Regent Saltwater Fly Reel
Hardy Fortuna Regent Saltwater Fly Reel Courtesy Hardy

Fly Reel & Fly Fishing Accessories – Hardy Fortuna Regent Saltwater Fly Reel

Hardy designed the Fortuna Regent to offer effortless control and power with up to 22 pounds of drag and a wide arbor that picks up 14 1/2 inches of line in a single rotation. The reel features a carbon-fiber multiped disc drag system and a narrow spool profile. Available in two colors, the reel starts at $750 and will be available late this year.

LiveTarget Live Shrimp
LiveTarget Live Shrimp Courtesy LiveTarget

Saltwater Hard Lure – LiveTarget Live Shrimp

LiveTarget has always produced very lifelike lures, and the new Live Shrimp continues that tradition. The Live Shrimp features a swing-weight system that allows the lure to fall through the water column with a horizontal profile. Anglers can customize the rate of fall using two interchangeable weights. The segmented abdomen and carapace are made from rugged, buoyant ABS; the walking and swimming legs are made from TPE to flutter during retrieve. Live Shrimp come in two sizes and eight colors and cost $14.99.

Z-Man Kicker CrabZ
Z-Man Kicker CrabZ Courtesy Z-Man

Saltwater Soft Lure – Z-Man Kicker CrabZ

Z-Man crafted this new bait to mimic a crab swimming sideways — the way it naturally evades predators. The 3 1/2-inch Kicker CrabZ features segmented legs, large eyes and protruding antennae and is made from Z-Man’s patented ElaZtech material. The keeled belly of the bait keeps it upright yet slightly shimmying on a straight retrieve. Pair the bait with a ProBulletZ, SnakelockZ or ChinlockZ jighead. Available in 10 inshore patterns, the crabs come in three-packs that cost $4.99.

Z-Man DieZel Eye Jigheads
Z-Man DieZel Eye Jigheads Courtesy Z-Man

Terminal Tackle – Z-Man DieZel Eye Jigheads

Built for big soft plastics, Z-Man’s DieZel Eye Jigheads feature black nickel Tri-Forge Power hooks with precision-cut angles. In tandem with Eye Strike Fishing, Z-Man supersized the jighead’s leads with oversize 3D eyes in red, glow or chartreuse. On the largest 3-ounce 8/0 size, the eyes measure half an inch across. The base of the jig’s head is flatted to rest upright and stable on the bottom. The 60-degree eyelet to hook-shank angle accentuates the bait’s shimmying action on a straight retrieve. Available in sizes from 3/8 ounces (6/0) to 3 ounces (8/0), the jigheads come two to a pack that costs $5.99 to $11.99.

SpiderWire DuraBraid Hi-Vis Yellow
SpiderWire DuraBraid Hi-Vis Yellow Courtesy SpiderWire

Fishing Line – SpiderWire DuraBraid Hi-Vis Yellow

SpiderWire’s DuraBraid in Hi-Vis Yellow boasts an increased abrasion resistance that’s 25 percent tougher than other conventional braids. It also delivers the easy line management and smooth casting attributed to the SpiderWire brand. Available from 8- to 80-pound test, the line comes in 150-, 300-, 500- and 3,000-yard spools. It costs $13.99 to $319.99.

Bajio Roca sunglasses
Bajio Roca Courtesy Bajio

Eyewear – Bajio Roca

Bajio’s extra-large, bio-based Roca sunglass frames offer complete protection and coverage on the water, reducing glare and light intrusion without fogging, thanks to the vented side shields. Blue-light-blocking technology minimizes eye fatigue and strain. Roca frames are available in shoal tort matte, black matte, and dark tort gloss with either polycarbonate or glass lenses in seven colors. They cost $199 and $249.

AFTCO deck boots
AFTCO Ankle Deck Boot Courtesy AFTCO

Footwear – AFTCO Ankle Deck Boot

AFTCO’s waterproof deck boots feature a hex grip nonmarking outsole and a neoprene liner that’s eco-friendly and quick drying. Paired with a compression-molded antimicrobial insole, the boots provide cushion and support for all-day wear. Available in men’s sizes 7 to 13, they will come in three colors including harbor grey, naval, and green acid camo. They cost $99 to $109.

Read Next: More ICAST Coverage

Bubba Saltwater Multi-Flex Fillet Knife
Bubba Saltwater Multi-Flex Fillet Knife Courtesy Bubba

Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools – Bubba Saltwater Multi-Flex Fillet Knife

Bubba’s Saltwater Multi-Flex Interchangeable Knife Set features an easy-to-use squeeze-and-slide mechanism that allows you to switch between blades quickly while the Flex-Change locking system keeps the blade safe and secure. The Multi-Flex comes with two different full-tang blades (9-inch serrated flex and 9-inch stiff) and Bubba’s non-slip grip handle along with a watertight hard-sided carry case. The knife costs $99.99.

Additional Winners

  • Lifestyle Apparel — Women: AFTCO Reaper Softshell
  • Lifestyle Apparel — Men: AFTCO CocoBoardies Boardshorts
  • Warm-Weather Technical Apparel: Simms SolarFlex Guide Cooling Hoody
  • Cold-Weather Technical Apparel: AFTCO Barricade Rain Suite Acid Camo Colorway
  • Novelties and Wellness: Garmin Quatix 7 Smartwatch – Sapphire Edition
  • Fishing Accessory: Frabill Witness Weigh Net
  • Boating Accessories: Frabill ReCharge, Deluxe Aerator
  • Soft and Hard Coolers: PacBak P88-MK Combo
  • Boats and Watercraft: BOTE Rachkam Gatorshell + APEX Pedal Drive
  • Fly Fishing Rod: Bull Bay Banshee Fly
  • Freshwater Rod: St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Rod
  • Freshwater Reel: Shimano Stella FK
  • Freshwater Soft Lure: Berkley PowerBait PowerStinger
  • Freshwater Hard Lure: Berkley Slobberknocker
  • Tackle Management: Plano EDGE Frog Box
  • Kids’ Tackle: Simms Kid’s Tributary Wader
  • Electronics: Humminbird MEGA Live Imagine TargetLock
  • Ice Fishing: Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI
  • Custom Tackle and Components: Mud Hole RBS Pro G2 Power Wrapper

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