The American Sportfishing Association’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) showcased a dizzying array of sportfishing tools to an army of buyers and a swarm of media in Orlando, Fla., in July. With so many innovative products, it’s good to see how much forward thinking has occurred within the fishing industry and how well it has been received. Here are some standout new fishing gear:
Best of show winner was Columbia Sportswear Company’s Omni-Freeze Zero line of clothing. When you look very closely at the fabric, you can see little blue rings throughout. Andrea Pallavicini explained that these are made up of a polymer originating from the water filtration industry. When you sweat, there is a chemical reaction and these polymers expand microscopically to create a cooling effect. I was shocked at how cool the effect actually felt when it was demonstrated to me. It is going to be offered in 40 styles across the company’s brand, including shirts, hats and even a new line of shoes. You’ll have to sweat in the heat a little longer, however, as this line won’t be available until January.
Hobie Cat’s Pro Angler 12 Kayak
The overall “Best of Show” winner was Hobie Cat’s Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak. This kayak has more features and technical developments than many full-fledged fishing boats. With its unique MirageDrive, you don’t paddle this kayak; you pedal it, leaving your hands free to fish. While you pedal the incredibly efficient propulsion system (developed from the way penguins move through the water), you may as well enjoy their all-new and extremely comfortable Vantage seating. Looking more like a recliner than a kayak seat, it has been designed to conform to whatever makes you comfortable. You can raise or lower it 5 inches for a better view while fishing or for hunkering down for a long pedal. It can also be pulled out to double as a very comfortable beach chair. The innovative kayak is the first kayak to be fish finder ready with thru hull fittings pre-installed for wiring and plugs. Custom mounts for the electronics are also available. A front hatch gives storage access to a large portion of the hull, but a clever removable insulated liner can be placed in it, converting it into a good-sized cooler. Even the tackle tray access is well thought out. You definitively won’t be roughing it if you fish out of this kayak.
Humminbird’s 360 fish finder
This device has taken side-scanning fish finders to a new level with complete 360 degree scanning of structure up to 150 feet in every direction. This new technology is courtesy of a retractable transducer that can be lowered from a stationary boat. The transducer then sweeps the full 360 degrees, displaying structure imaging similar to Humminbird’s side scan units but for a full 360 degrees. Once an area of interest is viewed, the scan can be focused on a pie-shaped area with faster redraws and magnification. This takes engineering from much larger commercial sonar units and puts it in a size that works for bass boats and smaller fishing vessels, eliminating “dead water” quickly and enabling an angler to utilize his or her day fully. Find a full explanation online at www.Humminbird.com/360Imaging.
Stor-N-Boat has created a unique boat born from the inventor’s frustration with inflatables. He developed a vehicle storage shell and portable boat combination. We’ve all seen those enclosed luggage carriers on top of vehicles. Stor-N-Boat is just such a carrier that converts to a portable 2 to 3 person boat capable of a payload of 431 pounds with a 2hp rating. The boat forms the top portion of the carrier and is easily separated from the base by one person. The boat and base are made of durable double walled, high density, UV-protected, 3/16-inch impact resistant polyethylene. It is 96 inches long and has a beam of 42 inches with a depth at the transom of 16 inches. It comes with hardware to attach to your roof rack and makes for a rugged little go anywhere dinghy. Too cold to boat? Then throw your skis and equipment in the carrier and head to the slopes.
Shakespeare’s Hide-A-Hook Bobber
Elegantly simple, yet ingenious, this new bobber is designed for young anglers and allows for the hook to be retracted into a clever cavity in the base of the bobber when the line is lifted out of the water. Each time the line is lifted (when bringing line in, or to cast) the hook is retracted safely into the bobber, virtually eliminating the risk of hooking or injuries from errant hooks. They will be available in the fall in a specially packed tackle tray with two pre-rigged bobbers, fishing accessories and a small bottle of Gulp bait.