ICAST Trends: Big and Bold

ICAST - Hard Bait - Gan Craft Super Magnum 300 – If you want a jumbo lure and are the type of swimbait angler who has to have everything, you’ve got it in the Gan Craft Super Magnum 300 two-piece hard swimbait. This monster weighs 8 ounces and is 12 inches long. You’ve got to really want to own one though. It sells for $249.95.

Gizzard shad are nothing new; nor is the notion that bass like to eat them. However, the recent heroics with a Magnum Spoon by Jason Lambert, Clent Davis, Randy Haynes and others at Kentucky Lake have focused a spotlight on a point reflected in several of the new products debuted at ICAST.

Essentially, bass direct plenty of their attention to schools of smaller threadfin shad, ICAST - Hard Baits - Nichols Lures Ben Parker Signature Series Magnum Spoon - If you follow FLW, then you've read about the Magnum Spoon, which was a game-changer at the final FLW Tour stop on Kentucky Lake. At almost 8 inches, this thing is a jumbo gizzard shad imitator. $16.99 NicholsLures.combut the big ones – the legitimate day-changers – are fond of big meals. Makes sense: Why burn time and energy chasing around a bunch of little baitfish when two or three super-sized entrees will hold you for the day?

Ben Parker, designer of the Magnum Spoon (available from Nichols Lures), bottom lines it: “There’s a reason they call ’em largemouths.”

Indeed, a quality bass will attack remarkably large meals, and several of the baits introduced at ICAST will put that theory to the test. Among the hefty artificials that made their debut at the Orange County Convention Center this week at ICAST are the Gan Craft Super Magnum 300 jointed swimbait, which stretches a full 12 inches – the largest to date for Gan Craft.

Elsewhere, SPRO introduced the Rock Crawler 55, a lifelike rat lure with an active tail and a big profile that would no doubt cause a big disturbance in your home or a fish’s. Built with a wake-style lip, the bait looks like it will swim with tantalizing faux rodent flare.

ICAST - Hard Baits - SPRO Rock Crawler 55 - This swimming rodent measures about 10 inches. More than half of that length is in its body. The rest is in the tail. Wake it or swim it subsurface. SPRO.com

 

 

 

Others include:

- Biwaa Divinator – a lanky soft-body swimbait with a lead-head, a belly treble and a tail spinner

- Strike Pro Pig Shad and Bandit Shad – a couple of heavyweight soft-body swimbaits that would fit well on lead-heads with stinger harnesses

- Savage Gear Hard Eel – a hard-body with replaceable eel tails

- Fairpoint Tommy Trout – a slow-sinking rainbow trout imitator that’s always a good look for largemouth

- Biwaa Twin Pike – a jumbo twin-tail swimbait that should kick up quite a commotion

- Strike King KVD 8.0 – a jumbo square-bill crankbait that dives 7 feet

 

 

 

Big-Bait Accessories

Rods for these big baits need to have plenty of length and backbone with a flexible tip, and reels must pack large line capacity and a hard-core drag. A few new products answer the call.

Straight Talk Wireless pro JT Kenney likes Halo’s 7-foot, 11-inch, heavy Titanium Series rod for slinging big baits.

“The exposed blank design is important for feeling the subtle tail motion of a swimbait,” Kenney explains.

On the reel scene, Abu Garcia introduced the new Revo Beast, a 7:1 workhorse built on the classic Revo frame and fitted with oversized handles and knobs for maximum leverage. Pure Fishing’s Paul Davis says the Beast packs a lot of fish-whipping power into an easy-to-manage profile.

“We wanted to keep it compact so it fits in your hand well,” says Davis. “The reel has an all-aluminum frame and side plates to keep it rigid while you’re throwing those big baits for those big fish.

“The big thing with this reel is the 22-pound max drag,” he adds. “With the oversized knobs and handle, all that works together so you can land those big fish when they’re digging for cover.”

 

The Flip-Side

Notably, on the other end of the spectrum, ICAST brings us several diminutive products – particularly the Micro Critters series from Rebel. Essentially scaled-down versions of popular Rebel baits, the Micro lineup targets the youth market with a reconfiguration that fosters safety and ease-of-release.

Each bait in the series – MicroCrawfish, MicroMinnow, MicroCrickhopper, MicroPop-R – shrinks by about half. Most noticeably, the baits trade the treble hooks standard to their full-size counterparts for single barbless hooks.

The dual benefits are safety for little hands and quicker release for small fish.

Tags: tech-tackle-reviews  david-a-brown 

/tips/2015-06-22-thrift-flirting-with-second-aoy-title

Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-starting-strong

Starting Strong

Zack Birge likes to play the numbers, and right now the math is looking pretty sweet for him. With two events remaining on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, the Blanchard, Okla., pro has essentially sewn up Rookie of the Year honors, and he’s currently sitting in fourth place in the Angler of the Year standings. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-08-top-10-patterns-from-the-james-river

Top 10 Patterns from the James River

Flipping isolated clumps of spatterdock produced the winning fish for Canadian pro Cory Johnston at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River. Adapting to the week’s extreme high water was critical to bagging the winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-06-johnston-rises-from-sixth-for-the-win

Johnston Rises From Sixth for the Win

Cory Johnston’s bucket list just shrank. After a couple of close finishes, the pro from Peterborough, Ont., finally bagged his first Rayovac FLW Series victory with a winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces at the Northern Division opener on the James River Saturday. “I’ve always wanted to win one of these,” Johnston says of his accomplished Rayovac career, which hadn’t included a first-place finish until now. “I’ve won some other tournaments; I’ve been second (in Rayovacs) two times and my brother (Chris) has been second two or three times. So to win this really feels good.” Fishing the Chickahominy River — a major James River tributary — Johnston got off to a lukewarm start, as a 10-pound, 9-ounce effort left him with a 27th-place showing on day one. Regrouping for day two, he formed a new game plan borne of a revelation that came early on day two. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-06-co-angler-honeycutt-triumphs-in-james-river-debut

Co-angler Honeycutt triumphs in James River debut

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/news/2015-06-06-james-river-day-3-midday-update

James River Day 3 Midday Update

Pro leader Kelly Pratt had a good morning and was culling by about 9:30. He returned to the shallow creeks and coves inside the Chickahominy River where he’s been targeting spawning fish all week. With a limit of about 13 pounds by 10, Pratt was still looking for his big fish to turn on later in the day. He’s throwing at gaps and drains in the spatterdock, along with various structure from laydowns to duck blinds. Pratt’s using reaction baits for his primary presentation and following up any missed bites with a finesse worm. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-pratt-stays-close-to-take-lead

Pratt Stays Close To Take Lead

High water on the James River has created a challenging scenario for much of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division field. For top pro Kelly Pratt, however, it has brought a bounty of opportunity reflected by his tournament-leading weight of 33 pounds, 4 ounces. Michael Crocker, the leader on day one with 16-10, slipped to 22nd in the second round as he could only muster three fish for 5-09. Georgia pro Troy Morrow shadows Pratt with 31-0. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-top-5-patterns-from-day-2-on-the-james

Top 5 Patterns From Day 2 On The James

Gaining two spots today, the FLW Tour pro from Eastanolee, Ga., again committed his day to the Chickahominy — a major James River tributary known for the quantity and quality Morrow sought. Today’s limit added 15-14 to Morrow’s total. “I caught them all day again, but still no size early,” he says. “Every once in a while I’d pick off a big one. Morrow says he’s been catching fish on several types of shallow habitat from wood to vegetation, but one particular bait has produced all of his weight. He wouldn’t divulge the particulars, but he did say it was a bait “that moves a little.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-james-river-day-2-midday-update

James River Day 2 Midday Update

Most anglers seemed to have been struggling for most of the morning on the James River in round two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener, including day-one leader Michael Crocker. The Maryland pro started his day by running up to the Chickahominy River where he fished a variety of habitat ranging from pads and cypress trees to stumps and docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-crocker-takes-james-river-lead

Crocker Takes James River Lead

Michael Crocker stepped to the front of the boat and fished his way to the front of the pro field in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener on the James River. Crocker won this event’s co-angler division in 2014 and now the Pasadena, Md., pro has positioned himself well at the other end of the boat with a limit catch of 16 pounds, 10 ounces. The morning delivered an early round of action, albeit short-lived. “I got a couple of bites and then it just died on me,” Crocker recalls. “Then, about halfway through the day, I made a change and nailed two really fast. I made another move and nailed another one really quick and that’s all I caught. I caught five fish today.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-top-5-patterns-in-the-james-river-rayovac

Top 5 Patterns in the James River Rayovac

Hailing from Williamsburg, Va., Pratt says he fared well in conditions that challenged many of his competitors. Essentially, the week’s full-moon cycle brought extremely high tides to a river already swollen by recent heavy rains. This contrasted the period of extreme low tides leading up to tournament week. High water allows fish to push farther into cover, but Pratt said he didn’t allow that to hinder him. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-pros-preferred-ledge-rods

Pros’ Preferred Ledge Rods

We quizzed four of the best offshore anglers around on the rod that they get the most out of and why they like it. If you need a new rod and have ledges on the brain, these four are worth your consideration. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-northern-rayovacs-kick-off-on-the-james

Northern Rayovacs Kick Off on the James

Ostensibly, the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament presented by Mercury that began this morning is taking place on the James River, but much of the fishing focus will be centered on the Chickahominy River – or Chick, as it’s affectionately known locally. “This tournament is typically won out of the Chick,” says North Carolina pro Jamey Caldwell of the James River tributary. “There are some great bags coming out of the [James] river right now, but I just feel that those big fish are a little more sporadic. I’m going to hang out in the Chick and hope for the best.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-james-river-midday-report

JAMES RIVER MIDDAY REPORT

A damp, drizzly morning turned into a soggy day for anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament on the James River. A light mist became a steady shower, which gave way to sporadic downpours of moderate intensity. The remainder of day one will see little change, according to weather reports. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-23-the-next-big-ledge-bait

The Next Big Ledge Bait

If you’re a ledge fisherman, go buy another Plano tackle tray, because the list of baits that you need to have in your arsenal has grown once again. Ledge maestro Ben Parker, who developed the Nichols Lures Magnum Spoon and unveiled it to the fishing world at the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour finale on Kentucky Lake, has drummed up another big hit for offshore anglers – “big” being the key word. The new Nichols MBP Swimbait (MBP stands for Magnum Ben Parker) is a jumbo swimbait that already helped FLW pros cash checks on the Tennessee River ledges at this month’s Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-04-top-10-patterns-from-lake-texoma

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Texoma

With his win on Lake Texoma, Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman made Rayovac FLW Series history by sweeping the Texas Division. Hanselman did most of his damage with a Strike King Sexy Frog, although he made a few flips and pitches here and there with plastics. Recent rains had pushed Texoma to about 2 feet above normal pool, and Hanselman used this to his advantage by targeting overlooked areas that had been muddy during practice. Working flooded brush in the backs of secondary coves, he found bedding fish, as well as postspawners ready to chew in the clearing water. Most of the other top 10 finishers also targeted a mix of spawning and postspawn fish. The changing water level, plus a mild cold front that pushed through the first day of the event, made for tough fishing under mostly high, bright skies. Anglers reported super-tough conditions, and many struggled to get daily limits. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-hanselman-trifecta-tops-texoma

Hanselman Trifecta Tops Texoma

Del Rio, Texas pro Ray Hanselman made history on Lake Texoma with a victory that completed his sweep of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division. With victories in the previous two divisional events on Lake Amistad and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Hanselman caught a 5-bass limit that weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces today and finished with a tournament total of 58-13 and a 12-pound winning margin. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-big-day-one-catch-sets-up-lejeune-s-texoma-win

Big Day One Catch Sets Up Lejeune’s Texoma Win

No doubt, co-angler Ryan Lejeune, of Eunice, La., would have preferred two more days like his first, but a big opening effort set up his wire-to-wire win in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-hanselmania-closing-in-on-texoma-title

Hanselmania Closing in on Texoma Title

It aint’ over ’til it’s over. The fat lady has yet to sing. All the cliches still apply, so in fairness to nine other talented pros, we’ll make no predictions or insinuations about day-two leader Ray Hanselman and possible outcome of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-01-big-bag-pushes-hanselman-ahead

Big Bag Pushes Hanselman Ahead

It’s the question of the day, the question of the week; indeed, it’s the question of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division season: Will we see the trifecta from Ray Hanselman? With the Del Rio, Texas pro leading the final division event on Lake Texoma with 40 pounds, 4 ounces, it appears that the stage is set for a third installment of Hanselmania. READ MORE »