Best of Show/Best Boating Accessory: Garmin Force Trolling Motor
Ok, so technically this is a freshwater fishing product. But how can we share a list of new product winners without sharing the overall Best of Show winner? Garmin‘s new Force trolling motor won Best Boating Accessory, and then was picked as Best of Show from among all the new product winners.
The motor pairs with an onboard chart plotter and offers autopilot and anchor lock functions.
This technology should trickle over to saltwater markets eventually, too, so one day we’re likely to have a Garmin trolling motor choice for saltwater fishing.
Best Warm Weather Technical Apparel: AFTCO Overboard Submersible Shorts
Best Saltwater Reel: Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel
Shimano has brought its top technologies to the newly designed Stradic FL series, including MicroModule Gear II, Long Stroke Spool, Silent Drive, and X-Protect. The series includes five models from 1000HG to C5000XG. MSRP: $199.99 to $229.99.
Best Boats and Watercraft: Hobie Mirage ProAngler 14 with 360 Drive Technology
Hobie has revolutionized kayak propulsion again with its new MirageDrive 360 system and Kick Up fins, available for ProAngler 12 and 14 kayaks. With 360, anglers can move their kayak in any direction — backwards, sideways, diagonally, circular or ahead. The Kick Up fins automatically retract on impact in shallow areas; they automatically redeploy as soon as water depth increases. MSRP for the ProAngler 14 with 360 and Kick Up Fins: $4,799.
Best Eyewear: Costa Sunglasses WaterWoman
Costa’s new WaterWoman style frames were designed for female anglers looking for technical, on-water performance as well as fashionable elegance. The frames employ angled temples, CAM-action hinges and color-contrasting Hydrolite accents. They’re available in four colors — matte Shadow Tortoise, Shiny Palm Tortoise, Shiny Wahoo and Shiny Blond Crystal — and can be fitted with a variety of 580 lenses. MSRP: $269.
Best Tackle Management: Plano EDGE
Plano completely redesigned tackle storage with its new EDGE system. Features include an oversize latch for one-handed opening, pre-cut vented dividers, Rustrictor rust preventative base, Dri-Loc watertight seal, reusable Water Wick divider, and more. The EDGE comes in variety of sizes and styles for different baits. MSRP: $19.99 to $34.99.
Best Saltwater Soft Lure: LIVETARGET Slow-Roll Shiner
LIVETARGET used injected-core technology to create the Slow-Roll Shiner, a swimbait that mimics a fleeing baitfish such as a herring, shiner or mullet. The Exo-Skin on the outside generates a full-body thumping action. The saltwater/freshwater bait is available in three sizes and six colors. MSRP: $9.99 (three to four per pack).
Best Saltwater Rod: St. Croix Avid Surf
St. Croix designed the Avid Surf series for maximum casting distance and fish-fighting performance. Made from a reformulated SCIII material and using proprietary IPC mandrel technology, the rods feature Fuji K-Series KW tangle-free guides with Alconite rings and corrosion-control frames, DPS Deluxe reel seats, and Back Stop lock nuts. MSRP: $260
Best Fishing Line: PowerPro Moon Shine Braid
This PowerPro braid’s unusual name does have a purpose: Moon Shine glows when illuminated by a blacklight. PowerPro says anglers fishing at night will experience greater line visibility. The line features Super8Slick V2 braid at its core. While targeted at a bass-fishing audience, the line comes in pound-tests from 8 to 80, and in 300- and 150-yard spool sizes. MSRP: Starts at $20.99.
Best Cooler and Bait/Storage: Frabill Magnum Bait Station 30
Frabill‘s Magnum 30 version of its proven Bait Station design can aerate up to 30 quarts of water, keeping larger baits such as mullet and menhaden/bunker alive. It features an injection-molded base with commercial-grade foam insulation. Dual aerators in the lid provide maximum oxygen levels and eliminate exposed hoses. Frabill also offers smaller bait stations. MSRP: $179.99
Best Footwear: Frogg Toggs Skipper
The new Skipper boat shoes from Frogg Toggs feature quick-drying air-mesh breathable uppers, a Hold Tight elastic lacing system, cushioned midsoles with water-expulsion release holes, and lightweight outsoles with slip-grip rubber inserts. The shoes are available in men’s sizes 7 to 13. MSRP: $69.99
Best Electronics: Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging
Humminbird has added MEGA Imaging to its 360-degree sonar transducer, improving the clarity of the structure and fish returns for viewing everything around the boat. The transducer provides waypoint marking, split-screen views, 125 feet of range in all directions, and the ability to isolate your sweep area. MSRP: $1,199.99
Best Lifestyle Apparel: AFTCO Yurei Air-O-Mesh Performance Shirt
AFTCO says it developed the Yurei shirt with Air-O-Mesh super breathable fabric for warm climates with high humidity — when mesh panels just won’t do. The shirt provides AFBLOCK UPF 40 sun protection, AFCOOL quick-dry moisture wicking, AFGUARD 3M stain resistance, thumb loops and an antimicrobial treatment. MSRP: $55.
Best Saltwater Hard Lure: LIVETARGET Flutter Sardine
This saltwater jigging spoon features a dynamic slow-falling flutter action for inshore and nearshore applications, LIVETARGET says. Made with injected-core technology, the flash of the inner core mimics a juvenile sardine and the clear-plastic exo-skin creates the action: Snap the rod to impart an erratic twitch and drop it to create a falling flutter action. The lure is available in five sizes and six colors. MSRP: $9.99