The annual ICAST fishing tackle trade show, normally held each July in Orlando, is taking place virtually this week. More than 200 exhibitors have used a newly designed portal created by ICAST’s host — the American Sportfishing Association — to keep the show going through the COVID-19 pandemic.
During each year’s show, media and dealers vote on an array of new products in categories from accessories to reels and rods. The top vote-getters earn the distinction of Best of Show for their category. ICAST also awards an overall BEST OF SHOW winner. This year, that product is the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak.
Here are the category winners announced Wednesday evening. (Note: We have put more focus on products compatible with saltwater anglers.)
BEST OF SHOW and Boats and Watercraft Winner
The 12-foot Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot motorized kayak leverages Minn Kota’s trolling motor technology. The saltwater-ready 45-pound-thrust motor moves you to your spot faster and holds your position with GPS Spot-Lock. Control the motor with the touch of a finger using the i-Pilot remote. The motor is compatible with lead acid or lithium-ion batteries. Retail price is $3,799.99.
Minn Kota’s new Raptor is a hydraulically actuated anchor that debuts two industry-first technologies: Active Anchoring, which monitors anchoring force and adjusts to stay pinned to the bottom, and Auto-Bottom Mode, which automatically detects bottom hardness to determine the right amount of anchoring force. Raptor will be available in 8- and 10-foot lengths and in black, white, red and silver. Pricing ranges from $1,499.99 to $1,899.99.
Cold Weather Technical Apparel
The Reaper Jacket is made from durable-stretch, soft-shell rip-stop fabric with an ultra-warm Hexatron fleece lining and an integrated fleece face mask. A durable 94 percent polyester and 6 percent Spandex outer shell fuses to the Hexatron lining. This combination, in a 3-layer fabric, provides added comfort, warmth, and wind protection. Retail price is $99.
CoastMaster charts delivers coverage for all U.S. coastal waters on one card. Anglers will appreciate the detailed depth contours, points of interest, navigational aids, and predictive tides and currents. Because the charts integrate with Humminbird’s One-Boat Network, anglers can pair a Humminbird chartplotter and Minn Kota trolling motor with i-Pilot Link to automatically follow a depth contour. Retail price is $149.99.
Costa’s Fergs were named for company founder Ray Ferguson. They offer a refined focus on performance details, including top and side shields, integrated textured Hydrolite rubber, and vented nose pads. Ferg’s large OmniFit frame and 360-degree nose-pad adjustability allow for a more comfortable and secure fit on a variety of face shapes and sizes. Available in four color options — matte black, matte tortoise, matte reef and shiny gray — with a variety of Costa color-enhancing 580 lenses, Fergs cost $199 to $279.
Berkley’s new FluoroShield, a fluorocarbon-infused nylon copolymer line, combines the manageability of monofilament with the abrasion resistance of fluorocarbon. Its refractive index resembles that of fluoro, making it less visible to fish. Like mono, FluoroShield possesses nearly neutral buoyancy, making it ideal for fishing a wide variety of artificial baits. Available in pound tests from 4 to 30, FluoroShield comes in 300-yard filler spools ($8.99 to $10.99) and 3,000-yard bulk spools ($49.99 to $74.99).
Under Armour’s Micro G Kilchis offer a highly breathable, quick-dry textile upper and welded synthetic overlays for abrasion protection. The shoes feature a full-length Micro G foam midsole for long lasting, responsive cushioning, rapid water drainage from ports built into lateral and medial sides of the midsole, and a non-marking rubber outsole that maximizes surface-area contact to grip on wet surfaces. Collapsible-heel construction allows easy slip-on capability The stretch collar construction permits barefoot wear. Available in UA Hydro Camo, black, khaki and victory green, and in sizes 8 to 14, the shoes cost $80.
Garmin’s quatix 6X solar marine GPS smartwatch uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life up to 24 days. Designed for life on the water, the quatix 6X Solar comes preloaded with specialized boating, fishing, cruising and sailing capabilities. With comprehensive connectivity and built-in activity profiles for SUP, kayaking, skiing, golf and more, the solar watch features a 51-mm titanium case and a titanium band. It costs $1,149.99.
Lifestyle Apparel — Men
AFTCO’s first product to integrate recycled material into the fabric, Saba Boardshorts are made with a sustainable 88 percent recycled polyester and 12 percent Spandex blend. Touted as the lightest weight shorts the company makes, Sabas feature fewer seams and unnecessary trims. The four-way stretch promotes freedom of mobility, and the bonded hem ensures comfort without any chafing. The shorts come in sizes 28 through 40 and in three colors. They cost $65.
Lifestyle Apparel — Women
Simms all-new Women’s Challenger Jacket and Bib are made with a waterproof, breathable two-layer Toray fabric and feature a women’s specific fit. The jacket comes with an adjustable hood, a center-front zipper with a waterproof storm flap, a chest pocket with a built-in sunglass chamois, and handwarmer pockets. The bib comes with a pass-through handwarmer pocket, plier port, and knee-high zips for easy on/off. The jacket comes in sizes XS through 3XL, in garnet and Hex Flo Camo Admiral, and costs $199.95. The bib comes in sizes S through 2XL, in Admiral Blue, and costs $199.95.
Saltwater Hard Lure
The SP-ORCA 150 Flash Boost Blue Sardine sinking pencil bait comes with Shimano’s unique Flash Boost Technology. The bait constantly emits a fish-attracting flash even on the pause. Inside the lure, foil suspended on small springs helps mimic the movements and flash of an injured baitfish. The lure features 3X hooks and split rings, through-wire construction and Shimano’s Propulsion Weight Transfer system for increased casting distance. The bait measures 5 7/8 inches and weighs 2 ½ ounces. It comes in six colors and costs $22.99.
The Penn Battle III spinning reel now comes with the company’s proprietary CNC gear technology, HT-100 carbon-fiber drag system, and a full metal body to give it the guts and drag to handle serious abuse. Stronger, smoother, and more durable, the Battle III series includes sizes ranging from 1000 to 10000; select sizes are available in high speed ratios. Prices range from $99.95 to $149.95.
St. Croix’s popular Mojo Inshore Series has been redesigned for 2021. The new lighter, upgraded one-piece SCIII carbon blanks have been further enhanced via Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) mandrel technology. St. Croix uses full cork handles on light-, medium-light-, and medium-power models. Medium-heavy, heavy- and extra-heavy-power rods feature full-length cork and EVA combination handles. Retail prices range from $160 to $230.
Saltwater Soft Lure
13 Fishing’s The Mullet features a custom HD VMC weighted swimbait hook, hand-painted finishes, HD holographic eyes, nose anchors for durable rigging. Editors Note: This bait was apparently so new that few details were provided to media.
Soft and Hard Coolers
Yeti’s Roadie 24 hard cooler innovates on the company’s original Roadie 20 portable cooler. It’s 10 percent lighter, holds 20 percent more and performs 30 percent better thermally, the company says. The 24 is taller than its predecessor so it accommodates a standard wine bottle and fits better behind the driver or passenger seat of a car. It costs $199.99 and comes in four colors.
The all-new Plano EDGE Flex Series is the first StowAway to allow the user to customize the internal divider system. Designed based on pro-angler input, the 3600 and 3700 Flex allow personalization based on a particular fishing application, technique, lures, species, or trip. The boxes feature five 4X dividers, six 3X dividers, nine 2X dividers and 18 1X dividers. The system comes with a Water Wick divider with reusable moisture-wicking packet and Dri-Loc O-ring seals. Flex boxes cost $29.99 and $39.99.
Warm Weather Technical Apparel
The first pair of technical fishing shorts made entirely of AFTCO’s breathable Air-O Mesh polyester stretch fabric, Diffuse provides comfort in warm, humid climates that generally create sticky situations. The shorts feature a reinforced plier/utility pocket, AFLEX four-way stretch, DWR treatment to prevent stains and multiple pocket storage options. The inseam measures 9 inches, and Diffuse comes in sizes 28 to 42. Available next spring in charcoal, navy, and ecru, the shorts will cost $59.
Terminal Tackle: Rapala VMC Crossover Rings
Fishing Accessory: American Tackle Co. Tsuka Handle
Freshwater Reel: Shimano Vanford 2500 Spinning Reel
Freshwater Rod: St. Croix Legend Xtreme Spinning
Freshwater Soft Lure: A Band of Anglers Hyperlastics Dartprop Pro SK
Freshwater Hard Lure: Z-Man Chatterbait Jackhammer Stealth Blade
Rod & Reel Combo: Abu Garcia Virtual Casting Combo
Fly Fishing Reel: Hardy Ultra Disc UDLA Reel
Fly Fishing Rod: Hardy Zane Pro
Fly Fishing Accessory: Frabill Floating Trout Net
Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools: Line Cutterz Dual Hybrid Micro Scissor
Kids’ Tackle: Abu Garcia Gen Ike EZ Cast
Ice Fishing: Rapala Strikemaster Lithium 24V