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Better than the Olympics, Super Bowl or even the Westminster Dog show, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, ICAST, provides a glimpse into fishing’s future. This year, Orlando Florida played host to 7,000 sportfishing industry members representing 63 countries. In addition, 12,000 attendees viewed and reviewed fishing gear, accessory, and apparel innovations from 451 exhibitors.
Three days of kid-in-the-candy-store looks boiled down to the single most important feature for ICAST exhibitors and attendees alike, the New Product Showcase. Occasionally a new gadget or gizmo makes sense and a win here translates into dollars and cents!
In 2004, a couple of guys entered their Hawg Pockets as a device to secure fishing hooks on a fishing rod without hooking kids and pets. They reeled in the Best of Show fishing accessories award! These partners had become a little fish in a big pond. Since that time, the Hawg Pockets® fishing lure guard has received awards and national media publicity! The ICAST win cleared the way for success and Hawg Pockets is now the leading lure wrap in the industry.
An ICAST award puts products on the map, leap frogging them to the top shelf. Winners satisfy the “Why didn’t I think of that?” qualification and orders roll in. This year nearly half of the exhibiting companies entered the New Product Showcase with over 700 tackle products and accessories. As usual, buyers and media members gazed and were amazed this year!
Twenty-three ICAST New Product Showcase Award categories included a few past winners. Congratulations to them for solving problems with either a new concept or a vast improvement of an existing technology or technique! Winner of The Best of Show Boating Accessory, JL Marine Systems, Inc replaces the age-old drift sock! The company that owns the hydraulic retractable anchor market introduced a Power-Pole Drift Paddle. This attachment to the company’s already popular Power Pole anchors replaces the need for cumbersome drift socks. Easily attached to retractable Power Pole anchors, the Drift Paddle slows boats for open water drifts to provide controlled drifts in windy conditions. This sockless drift device stows quickly and dry! The Drift Paddle can be raised in a second allowing the boat to be repositioned at will!
A couple of smaller companies came up with zingers! Taking home the Best of Show Fishing Accessory, the American Premier Corporation presented The Ultimate Line Winding System. Winding fishing line onto reels has been a mess dating back to the caveman! Anglers have tried everything, including dunking line spools into a bucket of water, running line through telephone books, having your spouse or significant other run a pencil through the center of the spool and reeling and flipping the spool. No matter the technique, line twist snarled and tangled fresh fishing line. Not any more! A light, strong graphite handle houses spinning and casting reels. Line spools attach to a ball bearing clamp. Adjust the tension and line will spool without slack. No more holding the line ahead of the reel to achieve tight spooling….no more line wrapping around the tip of the rod. For spinning reel applications, the spool spins with the reel to completely eliminate line twist. Better spooling ensures line integrity!
Since anglers can’t have enough stuff, there has to be a place to store and secure every gadget and gizmo for immediate access. There’ve been a zillion hangers, baggers, and enclosures for boaters to keep essential gear at their fingertips. None worked. Not only that, but at boating speeds, some holders allowed hooks, pliers and lures to become projectiles. ICAST’s pick for Best of Show Tackle Management goes to…Magnetic Marine Products, Inc. Gear Grabbar Lure Hangar Kit. Super powerful magnets will secure any lure…hooks, jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits; you name it…totally visible until needed. When every second counts, Triton Mercury pro Brent Chapman has pliers, scissors and the perfect lure at his fingertips to catch more fish! “What we do as professionals is to make as many casts as possible during the day…the way to make more casts is to be organized and knowing that when you want to grab something it’s where it needs to be.” Chapman adds this is the only device of its kind with powerful magnets that hold things safely in place! Gear Grabbars come in different sizes and can be configured for any boat, truck or workshop! magneticmarineproducts.com
Alexandria-based American Sportfishing Association puts
on this show every July and like those in the past, this year’s
ICAST didn’t disappoint. Next year the show is on the road at the
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, July 10-12, 2013.