ICAST: New Reels and Rods

New spinning and conventional reels, inshore and offshore rods from the country’s largest industry trade show.
ICAST 2020 roads and reels on display
This week’s ICAST fishing-tackle trade show has launched hundreds of new products for anglers debuting this summer into next year. Here are some of the latest products in the reel and rod categories. Chris Woodward

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Penn Battle III — Winner of the 2020 ICAST award for Best Saltwater Reel

Penn Battle III wins awards at ICAST
Penn Battle III Courtesy Penn

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 Mojo Inshore Series — Winner of the 2020 ICAST award for Best Saltwater Rod

St. Croix Mojo Inshore Series wins for fishing rods
St. Croix Mojo Inshore Series Courtesy St. Croix

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.


Shimano Saragosa SW6000

Shimano Saragosa SW6000 spinning reel
Shimano Saragosa SW6000 Courtesy Shimano

Shimano’s Saragosa SW starts a new chapter this year with enhanced capabilities and features. The reel series now comes with Infinity Drive Technology that increases the reel’s winding torque under load by 30 percent to give anglers an advantage over hard-fighting gamefish. Combining a rigid Hagane body that won’t flex under heavy loads and the Hagane gear system to create smooth reeling, the Saragosa SW comes in models from 5000 to 25000 sizes (SW6000 is pictured) with varying gear ratios for 20- to 80-pound braid. The SW also features an IPX8- rated, waterproof Cross Carbon drag and X-Protect for high-level water resistance. Prices range from $259.99 to $399.99.

Okuma ITX Carbon

Okuma ITX Carbon spinning reel
Okuma ITX Carbon Courtesy Okuma

Lightweight and compact, Okuma’s ITX Carbon spinning reels feature a body, side plates and rotor made from rigid C-40X long-strand carbon fiber, making it 25 percent stronger than standard graphite reels. The ITX reels come with a multi-disc, carbon fiber drag system with Okuma’s Hydro Block Gasket, keeping water out. The 7HPG +1RB High Performance, grease packed bearings keep the reel running smoothly along with the precision machine cut brass pinion gear. The 1000-, 2500-, 3000- and 4000-size reels all come standard with 6:1 high-speed gearing. The reels cost $104.99 to $119.99.

Penn Battalion II Inshore

Penn Battalion II Inshore fishing rod collection
Penn Battalion II Inshore Courtesy Penn

Using SLC2 construction, Penn’s new Battallion II Inshore rods come with Fuji reel seats and Alconite guides. Some models feature cork grips, while others are built with rubber shrink-tube handles. Available in four 7-foot casting models and 15 spinning models (7 feet and 7 feet 6 inches) in medium-light to heavy power, the rods accommodate line-class ranges from 4- to 10-pound up to 20- to 40-pound. They cost $99.95 to $129.95. (Surf and Ulua [trevally] rod models are also available.)


Okuma Alijos Lever Drag

Okuma Alijos Lever Drag fishing reel
Okuma Alijos Lever Drag Courtesy Okuma

Okuma’s Alijos two-speed, lever-drag reels come in sizes 5, 12, and 16, with some narrow-spool versions available. Size 5 reels handle 12- to 20-pound mono and offer gear ratios of 3.8- and 6.4-to-1. The 12s handle 20- to 30-pound mono with gear ratios of either 2.1- and 6.4-to-1 or 2.1- and 4.7-to-1. The larger 16s carry 20- to 30-pound and feature 1.3- and 43.-to-1 gear ratios. Max drags range from 15 pounds on the smaller reels to 34 pounds on the 16. The aluminum reels feature a unique cast-control system and a Makaira drag cam. They cost $359.99 to $489.99.

Shimano Trevala PX

Shimano Trevala PX fishing rod
Shimano Trevala PX Courtesy Shimano

Shimano introduced Trevala jigging rods when it brought the Butterfly Jig system to the United States years ago. The all-new Trevala PX line of jigging rods builds on that history by incorporating a redesigned rod blank with Shimano’s Hi-Power X reinforcing technology to increase overall strength and control while also enhancing rod-twist resistance. The new rods also feature either a Fuji or Shimano CI4+ reel seat as well as SeaGuide XQG and XOG guides for maximum durability. While built for jigging, the rods also fish live bait or lures. They’re available in 14 casting and 14 spinning models, and cost $179.99 to $199.99.

Penn Low Profile Reels

Penn Low Profile Fishing Reels
Penn Low Profile Reels Courtesy Penn

Penn has brought its Squall and Fathom brands to the realm of low-profile baitcasting reels for saltwater applications. Both brands feature a full-metal body and crank side plate, HT-100 drag system, and a brass main gear. They’re available in sizes 200, 300 and 400. Fathoms also come with a dual-action casting brake, TiN-coated levelwind system, and seven bearings. Squalls have a magnetic casting brake and six bearings. Max drags range from 24 to 30 pounds. Squalls cost $149.95 to $199.95; Fathoms cost $249.95 to $299.95.


Okuma SRT Elite Spinning Rods

Okuma SRT Elite Spinning Rods at ICAST
Okuma SRT Elite Spinning Rods Courtesy Okuma

Okuma built its SRT Elite rods for inshore snook, redfish and trout fishing — hence the SRT name. The Elites feature a 30-ton carbon blank and ultimate flex reinforcement tip technology, with premium tapered full-cork grips, Fuji TVS reel seats and Fuji K-Concept guide frames with FazLite inserts. The rods also feature a SeaGuide stainless hook keeper. Available in seven models with lengths of 7 feet and 7 feet 6 inches, and in actions from medium-light to heavy, Elite rods cost $129.99 to $139.99.

Daiwa BG MQ

Daiwa BG MQ fishing reel
Daiwa BG MQ Courtesy Daiwa

Daiwa calls its next generation of BG spinning reels, the Big Game Monocoque or BG MQ. By definition, a monocoque is a type of constructed object wherein the shell carries most of the stress, such as with some aircraft and vehicles. Daiwa says in reel construction, that translates to a lighter and stronger build. The BG MQ models feature an aluminum frame, Daiwa’s Digigear technology, and nine rubber seal points to reduce water intrusion. The family’s 10 models are sized from lighter reels for speckled trout to heavier versions for giant bluefin tuna. The reels cost $199.99 to $279.99.

Fenwick HMG Inshore

Fenwick HMG Inshore fishing rods
Fenwick HMG Inshore Courtesy Fenwick

While the Fenwick brand has generally focused on freshwater product in years past, its new saltwater HMG Inshore series delivers actions and components specifically built for targeting trout to tarpon. The four casting and 11 spinning models feature 30-ton graphite blanks, Fuji stainless deep-pressed frames and Alconite inserts, SeaGuide soft-touch Alien reel seats with positive lock design and cork handles in full and split grips. The 7-, 7 ½- and 8-foot rods cost $99.95 to $129.95.

Okuma PCH Trolling

Okuma PCH Trolling fishing rods
Okuma PCH Trolling Courtesy Okuma

Okuma designed its new PCH Custom Trolling Rods with the help of Southern California’s top big-game anglers. The family of 12 models — eight straight-butt rods and four bent-butt rods — feature 24-ton carbon and E-Glass blanks. Rod lengths range from 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 10 inches with actions from medium to extra heavy. Each rod comes with ALPS RX series roller guides with 316-stainless steel rollers. A unique feature of this lineup is the new, proprietary, detachable curved or straight woven-carbon-fiber butt section, which lightens the rod. This carbon butt section matches up with the machined aluminum, double locking reel seat. Tapered shrink tube foregrips offer maximum durability and comfort. The rods cost $449.99 to $649.99.

Daiwa Dark Water Rods

Daiwa Dark Water Fishing Rods
Daiwa Dark Water Rods Courtesy Daiwa

Targeted to East Coast offshore anglers, Dark Water rods feature species-specific blanks for kingfish, sailfish and other popular gamefish. The series comprises 21 conventional and spinning rods built on light blanks with HFC Carbon technology. They come with an EVA foregrip and a customizable rear grip as well as Fuji Back Stop reel seats. Prices start at $179.99.