So many new items are about to hit the ICAST 2019 show floor. Keyboard commandos, the el cheapo crowd, and perennial ICAST haters tend to quickly rag on new products such as these year in and year out. Yet, I enjoy seeing some incarnation of these same products or tech years later in those same guys boats. The cold truth is someone has to put new product out there and push the limits of the fishing product paradigm. Kudos to those companies and passionate individuals behind the scenes always looking to build a better fishing mouse trap.
Here are my top 10(ish) pre show picks to check out.
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10. Aftco Overboard Shorts
As more and more anglers jump into the hardcore fishing world the value of task specific gear becomes exceedingly more apparent. Technical clothing is usually the last thing anglers think about, but it should really be one of the first. These new shorts (while rather eclectic) solve the modern problem of keeping your expensive smart phone on your person while not having to worry about its security in a rather unsecure environment. Yes, the idea seems gimmicky, and yes there are cheaper alternatives. However, if its implemented correctly this could actually be a very useful feature for many hardcore anglers. MSRP $99
9. Plano Edge Series
Plano 3600 and 37000 sized boxes are a mainstay in many anglers tackle storage arsenal. The new Plano Edge series brings a modern update to these standard issue items with a multitude of new in-house features including:
Dri-Loc™ – watertight seal
Rustrictor™ – rust prevention infused base
Duraview™ crystal-clear lid
Water Wick™ – water absorbing desiccant divider
Innovative labeling system
Pre-cut, pre-separated vented dividers
Ribbed lid and steel-pin hinges for durability
Available sizes: 3600 Standard, 3700 Thin, 3700 Standard, 3700 Deep: Terminal Box, Jig/Blade Bait Box, Spinnerbait Box, Plastics/Bulk Utility Box, and Crankbait boxes. MSRP – TBA
8. Do it Molds Essential Series NED Rig Mold
I’ve seen the home made soft plastic segment really take off these past few years. Niche companies like Basstackle, Baitjunkys, Angling AI, and BTS molds are becoming more commonplace. Its nice to see the most mainstream company Do-It Molds bring in an affordable and popular soft plastic shape to the fold. Their entire Essential series line up of product really caters to the budget minded garage tinkerer who wants to make some quality baits without spending an arm and a leg. MSRP TBD
7. Cortland Silent Flip
Cortland has been, in my eyes, predominantly a fly fishing and saltwater centric brand. With that being said they’re making a strong push into the bass fishing marketplace with the introduction of a 16 carrier construction braid dubbed Silent Flip. Available in 100 yd spools of 50lb and 65lb test this line was designed specifically for flipping and pitching heavy cover. With double the amount of carriers seen in most of the competition this braid is said to fish much quieter in close contact fishing conditions (Hence the name Silent Flip) MSRP $37.95
6. 13 Fishing Concept BOSS and Fuse Carbon
13 Fishing has become synonymous with aggressive marketing campaigns, flashy product lines, and bold design philosophies. They’ve taken this modus operandi into multiple new product lines for 2019. I’m particularly intrigued by the new Concept BOSS baitcasting reel and FUSE Carbon rod. Their 2013 Concept KP reel was a nice implementation of new ideas in an optimization of a baseline reel chassis. However, the overall fit and finish, left something to be desired for a reel dubbed as flagship product.
Their new FUSE Carbon rod series uses a patent pending construction process which fuses the rod components together under high heat and pressure. The advantage of this construction technique is better fit of components and less loss of vibrational energy through use of typical construction adhesives. Flagship products usually command flagship prices. It will be interesting to see if these product lines are just hype and hyperbole or are in fact the real deal. MSRP $400 and TBD
5. Daiwa Certate LT
Show buzz for Daiwa will most likely center around the Kage, Tatula Elite Baitcast reel, and 2019 Flagship Steez CT SV reels, but the mid level Certate LT will be the Darkhorse star of the Daiwa 2019 ICAST show. Leveraging some of the best tech from Daiwa’s ultra high end EXIST 2018 series, the word on the street is the Certate LT is an amazing reel at its price point. Effectively its an aluminum body Exist at roughly half the premium price. Its inherent smoothness can be attributed to the implementation of their monocoque (see Certate HD from ICAST 2016) one piece body, keeping the internal gearing perfectly aligned. MSRP $420-$450
4. Shimano Antares A and Stradic FL
While much of the 2019 Shimano ICAST talk will be about the value oriented SLX DC Baitcast reel. These two reels series are top of mind for me as a hardcore bass angler. The Antares A, while technically a Bassmaster Classic release, is still fresh enough to compliment the summer USDM release of the 2019 Stradic.
The dichotomy of these two legacy Shimano lineages is appreciable. However, each has much angler respect at its price point level and particular fishing paradigm. I like what I’ve seen from both of the sneak peaks for these two reel platforms. With the bass angling marketplace on a strong upswing its awesome to see all of the competition and platform performance envelope pushes from the major OEMs. Shimano always seems to accomplish this with relative ease. The flagship Antares A is a nonchalant statement piece whereas the Stradic remains a perennial best seller. I cant wait to see both in person. MSRP $599.99 and $199.99-$229.99
3. Rod Connectivity
If ICAST 2018 were about colors, then ICAST 2019 is looking to be pretty tech heavy. Over the years technological innovation has made its way into various reels, lures, and marine accessories. However, its rather interesting to see two new rod designs that feature Bluetooth smart phone connectivity making their debut.
Abu Garcia will unveil the Virtual rod series which allows you to digitally log your catch in concert with the ANGLR app. Whereas, (newcomer) Cyberfishing’s Smart Rod Sensor is a modular unit that records casting and location data and can be attached to any fishing rod vis a vie O rings (much like Fuji’s rod keepers). It looks like this niche tackle segment is slowly but certainly getting some traction. MSRP $129.99 and $79.99.
2. Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging
I first viewed this technology a few years ago as gimmicky. I’ve slowly come to learn that it actually provides rather useful situational awareness capability in quickly breaking down fishing locales. The clarity of Humminbird’s MEGA imaging technology is amazing. Bringing this technology into the realm of 360 puts this product right into the foray with Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope and Lowrance’s LiveSight technologies for front of the boat imaging superiority. Fishing technology at the upper levels is getting pretty crazy these days. MSRP $1199
1. The 2019 Trolling Motor War
Minn Kota has effectively been dominating the freshwater trolling motor marketplace since the Ultrex made its debut back at ICAST 2016. I called it a Game Changer back then and I’ll still call it a game changing product right now. The competition has been scrambling and development opportunities have come to fruition from powerful players. Coupled with some Q.C. faux pas from Minn kota and you have a perfect storm in the works for a battle to the top of the trolling motor superiority heap.
ICAST 2019 will debut a number of new trolling motor offerings that will certainly be the talk of the show. The winner in all of this will be the die hard modern bass angler who gets to reap the innovative benefits of this competition. As of this post Lowrance is debuting the GHOST, Garmin has (inadvertently?) leaked a few images of their FORCE lineup, and MotorGuide has been hinting at a new offering as well. Only time will tell who will be the standing trolling motor king.
More to come…