ICAST 2013…..Happier than a writer for a Geico commercial….

ICAST years past, have had me more excited than a writer for a Geico commercial, so this year I was clearly happier than a chameleon in a paint store….

Ahhhh, the desert in July: 110 degrees of dry air that only a Viking range could produce, crazy cab drivers, the relentless dinging orchestra of slot machines and for us fishermen, another ICAST tradeshow.  The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST, is the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. ICAST 2013 hosted approximately 9,500 members of the global sportfishing industry at the Las Vegas Convention Center, July 9 – 12, 2013. ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the sportfishing industry’s trade association, which looks out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. ICAST is the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel and is the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, helping to drive sportfishing companies’ product sales year round.

ICAST 2013 has me more excited than a narcissist with a three sided mirror….

With this being my 5th ICAST show, I have the unique ability to view this show from many different objectives and points of view:  support for my current portfolio of manufacturer partners, as a tournament angler, as a charter boat captain, as a networking avenue to further my career in the fishing industry and quite simply put, as a fan.  It never ceases to amaze me after all the business that is done and after all the hand sanitizer is applied from shaking hands all week, I still view this like a 7 year old on Christmas morning.

This year I am more excited than a ninja locked out of his house….

While every year, it becomes more and more difficult to find time to truly see the show due to my obligations, but to be honest, I usually go in to this show looking for something innovative and different, but yet has some practicality for the applications I fish.  This year I was able to see some very neat stuff that is set to hit the shelves in the coming year.

First up was Phenix Rods and their new lineup had me happier than a Vampire finding an SPF 10,000 booth at ICAST….

Phenix Rods launched a pile of new rod lines this year including a Kokanee Salmon lineup called The Reaper series, an ultra-light series called the Dragon Fly, the new Black Diamond Surf rods, along with adding a much needed  7’5” heavy action casting model to their M1 lineup that stole the show last year.  What got me most excited is that they used the successes of the M1 Nanotube technology and created a true M1 Inshore Series with 14 different models.  I can’t tell you how many times I picked up the 7’3” spinning rod this past week.  7’3”, 8-20 lb., Fuji K Guides and in a week I’ll be getting them wet all at price tag for those with champagne taste on soda pop salaries.

River2Sea was next up on my list and they had me happier than Arthur Fonzarelli at a mirror factory….

River2Sea continues to leverage their relationships with their All Star Pro Staff lineup by adding the Mr. Whiggley to the Larry Dahlberg series of baits.  This bait has big snook and tarpon written all over it and I first saw this bait  on a Hunt For Big Fish episode some years back where Larry tore up the Peacocks in the Amazon after making these by hand in his Mad Scientist Lab up in the land of 10,000 lakes.  Now River2Sea has put it in to production and the best way I can describe it is that it is a 10.5” soft plastic jerkbait that can be twitched, walked, dead-sticked, glided, ripped, slashed, burned or just admired in your tackle box.  It is so simple, but so effective, because it is the opposite of mechanical.  Most baits have some sort of mechanics to them that make their movements too straight and predictable, or in some cases, it doesn’t look believable enough when it is sitting still.  The Mr. Whiggley doesn’t have that problem, because it does not have a bill to dictate rhythm or restrict glide.  Can’t wait to get these wet in the salt!

A walk by Savagear’s booth had me feeling as excited as Lewis and Clark standing in the Lowrance booth trying to comprehend GPS….

Well stick a paper umbrella up my butt and call me a Hurricane, because someone FINALLY came up with a TRUE shrimp that makes you second guess if you are looking at the real thing.  Savagear is a new brand from Okuma that is entering the market with some amazingly realistic, yet application friendly baits.  Two in particular are the TPE Manic Shrimp and the Savage 3D Shrimp.  These were demonstrated at a large tank in the Savagear booth across from Okuma and I was in awe at how realistic these looked in the water.  Everything from the durability, the colors (6 in all), the specially designed tail for life like kicking action to the exaggerated legs and antenna for life like action on the fall or retrieve.  These appendages actually flutter at rest….the angler need not apply any action to the bait for it to flutter.  Amazing and grand snook and redfish catches danced in my head as I watched it.  A handful of each in my carry-on bag home had me more excited than a redneck at a family reunion.

Those were the big three that caught my eye, but the next three years, ICAST brings its starry-eyed vendors to the Sunshine State where the show will call Orlando its home….

….with Florida being my home state, this venue change has me more excited than Samuel L. Jackson with a megaphone…..

Tight lines y’all….

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