UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee


More from ICAST

Continuing on through day two of ICAST 2018 produced more info on some stuff we already knew about and a few more finds along the way. There’s still no standout product, but there are plenty of things that look like they’ll find a niche in anglers’ arsenals. Overall, it seems like this ICAST is a winner, with good numbers of participants and lots of new stuff sold.

The 2019 FLW Tour schedule was released Thursday evening, along with a bunch of exciting rule changes. You can read up on the rules here and see the schedule here.


13 Fishing is doing baits now, and its most intriguing new hard bait is the SCAMP. It’s a pretty standard square-bill except for the bill, which is made of Airfoil Carbon to be thinner, stronger and more sensitive than other bills. It is supposed to be quite buoyant, and comes in two sizes for $10.99 and $11.99.


Gruv Fishing has a unique silicone anchoring system that locks hooks and hard baits in place in boxes, and the company expanding the collection with the Big Jig Launch Pad ($8) and Hard Bait Launch Pad ($10) this year. Both seem to hold baits really well and could be a great way to introduce people to the system. You can stick them to the underside of compartment lids, or somewhere else on the boat for quick access. They look to be a really good way to cut down on clutter in the boat and free up some cup holder space at the very least.

Topping the Freshwater Reel category, the Shimano Curado DC isn’t entirely a new concept, but it marks the first time Shimano’s I-DC4 digital casting technology is available on a remotely affordable reel. Though still in the higher price ranges, you can get a Curado DC for $249.99.

The reel has a microcomputer in it that is powered by the cast to control how much brake is applied throughout the cast. It can monitor the spool speed 1,000 times per second (which seems like a lot) and has four casting modes for different lines or situations.

Supposedly, DC will make a lot of decent and bad casters into better casters, but it won’t make everyone into Bryan Thrift. Alex Davis says it is phenomenal for a guide with overconfident customers, but that he can basically cast just as well with or without it (though, granted, he’s a pro). That doesn’t mean it won’t be applied by pros or high-level anglers. It will help guard against momentary distractions, and it’s just a good reel at the base of it.

One aspect that will take a little getting used to is that the side plate does not readily come off. There’s a spool tension knob on the side, which you should only barely touch, and a knob to adjust the modes, but that’s it. The side plate houses the digital technology, and in over a year of hard fishing Davis hasn’t had to touch it.


New from T-H Marine this year is the Hydra, which basically multiplies your battery terminals for easier rigging. Direct-wiring electronics has become a go-to way to cut down on interference, and with the increasing number of aftermarket accessories on bass boats, space on terminals is getting limited. You can get a three-way model for $24.99 and a five-way for a bit more.


Ark is mainly known for rods, but it has some pretty slick tungsten weights rolling out now as well. The main attraction is an unpainted no-chip model that comes in all the sizes you need. The flipping models also have the weight etched into the side for easier organization. Weights come in matte black and matte silver, and there will also be drop-shot and nail weights in the lineup.


Shin Fukae has been using this system on his wacky rigs for a while, and it’s a very neat deal. The G7 Worm Protect Tubes combined with the G7 Worm Tube Pliers work together to save you a ton of worms and make wacky and Neko rigs a lot better. The pliers are made to not cut the silicone tubing, and they open in reverse for ease of use. The tubing comes in a variety of diameters, but the most popular sizes are going to be 6mm for Trick Worms and 4-inch Senkos and 7mm for 5-inch Senkos.


Sunline XPlasma Asegai is an eight-carrier braid that incorporates P-Ion technology to make it slicker and more abrasion resistant. The P-Ion technology is pretty noticeable in the Assassin FC, and it might be pretty good on braid too. That said, it doesn’t feel noticeably slicker right out of the package, so it’s likely something you’ll need to see in action or after the line has worn down a little bit to realize the benefits. It will come in some light and heavy sizes, and a standard filler spool will run you about $24.


The Scent Keeper Tube Jig Head from Rapid Fishing Solutions is designed to lock in scent for longer. It’s basically got a pipe cleaner pre-wrapped on the shank of the hook, and it comes in 1/8- to 3/8-ounce sizes and retails for $7.99 for five. It’s a bit of a niche product, but if things go well the company plans to drop some heavier models into the lineup as well.


New from Halo in 2018 is the Black Widow Bass Series of rods. They’re pretty affordable at a $159 price point, and the styling really stands out. There are eight casting and two spinning models to choose from. Halo is also branching out into reels now: the HF Series for $89.99, the Viper (in three colors) for $119.99 and the Aero for $149.99.


Yo-Zuri has long sold the Crystal Minnow for saltwater, but it’s moving the bait over to the fresh side now with three sizes and some slick new colors. It’s a floating jerkbait that sells for around $9, and Clent Davis says that the spotted bass on the Coosa River eat it up. From the sounds of it, you can expect a suspending version next year as well.


Z-Man has cranked out some new skirted baits this year, including a swim jig and a spinnerbait, but the company also has plenty of new plastics and tackle for fishing them. The Finesse BulletZ is a weedless Ned rig head that will hold ElaZtech and come through the grass. For Ned rigs and other really small applications the TRD CrawZ and TRD MinnowZ are new, and the CrawZ look wicked sweet. The Scented Jerk ShadZ also comes in a new 4-inch size, and it looks like it could be really good for drop-shot and fluke applications.


G-Ratt is a newcomer to ICAST and to making baits for something a lot closer to mass production. Based on wood carvings and made from PVC, the two standout baits are the 5-inch Magic Mouse and the 6-inch Sneaky Pete. The Magic Mouse is a neat floating rat that wiggles across the surface without a bill. The Sneaky Pete is a solid looking glide bait. Both will retail for about $35.


Did you know that John Hunter’s nickname is “John John?” Now you do. From Cashion Rods, the FLW Tour pro has a single new rod out called the Hunter Series. It’s a 7-foot baitcaster made for crankbaits, jerkbaits and other light applications. It feels good in hand and retails for $135.95. 


The Stingray Fishing Line Cutter is downright cool. It comes with a lanyard and an adhesive/hook-and-loop backing, and it cuts braid like butter. It’s easy to use and can cut through knots and other types of line as well. The MSRP is $13.99, which is way less than a pair of fancy pliers, and it comes in a whole slew of colors.


Tags: jody-white  headline-story  2018-07-10-icast-cup 


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