UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

ICAST

ICAST

Fishing is not a major-league draw in Las Vegas. Neon lights, gambling casinos, five-star hotels and fabulous eateries are among the star attractions in "the city that never sleeps."

So why on earth would hundreds of the world's leading manufacturers of fishing tackle and other outdoor gear pack their respective bags and head to Sin City for a three-day powwow in the middle of July?

Vegas ranks among the hottest spots on the planet for conducting business deals, and the American Sportfishing Association thought it would be a good place to host the world's largest tackle show.

The 2004 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show (ICAST) was held July 14-16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show brought together more than 6,500 representatives from the sport-fishing industry, as vendors from around the world showcased their newest innovations in fishing gear and other accessories to prospective buyers and the outdoor media.

I saw a ton of neat stuff at ICAST 2004, most of which will be available to consumers this spring. Here is a review of a few products worth checking out.

Garmin

Garmin is broadening its lineup of personal navigation units in 2005 with the addition of Quest, the eTrex Legend C and Vista C.

Quest is a user-friendly unit that comes with many features found in the most popular Garmin GPSs, yet it is small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. The full-color, waterproof navigator is compatible with MapSource software and has 115 megabytes of memory for downloading large files. Retail is about $645.

Compact and waterproof, the eTrex units come with a color TFT display, advanced GPS auto-routing capabilities, a mini USB port for downloading map data, and a host of simple navigation modes. The eTrex models retail for about $375 and $428, respectively.

Also new at Garmin is a partnership with XM Satellite Radio that will give anglers the ability to gather valuable weather data onto Garmin marine chartplotters via the XM WX Satellite Weather data service.

To learn more about these products or the all-new Garmin Marine Network, go to Garmin.com.

Bikini Lures

Bikini Lures made its debut at ICAST 2004 and walked away with Best of Show honors in the Hard Lure category.

Based in Buffalo, N.Y., the company topped some of the industry's heaviest hitters with the introduction of a high-tech crankbait called the Solaris Fatshad. The lure is built around a patent-pending "smart technology" concept that includes a 9-volt rechargeable circuit board, a water-sensitive on/off switch, LED lighting and an internal speaker system that emits sound waves that simulate those made by a struggling or injured baitfish.

The cost is about $35. For more information, check out Bikinilures.com.

Target Fisherman

Put the fun back into fishing with Target Fisherman, ICAST 2004 Kid's Tackle Best of Show winner.

Target Fisherman is a fishing rod, reel and dart pistol molded into one. The outfit comes with a Zebco Micro 11 reel and a plastic dart that doubles as a float. Insert the float into the barrel of the pistol, cock the spring-loaded chamber and you are ready to fire.

Target Fisherman sells for about $50. Learn more at Caughtfish.com.

Abu Garcia

Make long casts at an affordable price with Abu Garcia's new Ambassadeur D6 Series baitcasting reel. The 6.3:1 reel features six stainless ball bearings and Garcia's patented Smart Mag braking system to ensure you will spend more time fishing and less time digging out backlashes. Two versions are available - the 5600 (MSRP $114.95) and 6600 ($124.95).

Also new to Abu Garcia's 2005 lineup are a pair of low-profile baitcasters that come with a wiffle spool and flipping switch, plus a spinning reel designed for use with braided line.

The 6.2:1 Ambassadeur 2005LP sells for about $75, while the 6.2:1 4007LP model sells for around $125. The new Abumatic spinning reel should retail for about $55.

For more information, go to Abu-garcia.com.

Frogg Toggs, WSI Sports

Beat summer's blazing heat with a Chilly Pad by Frogg Toggs or a moisture-management shirt from WSI Sports.

The Chilly Pad is made from an innovative material that retains moisture while remaining dry to the touch. When wet, the pad becomes considerably cooler than the outside air. It dries in one to four hours and reactivates when dipped in water, hot or cold. The cost is $20. See Froggtoggs.com or call (800) 349-1835.

WSI sports garments are made from Wikmax, a unique material that wicks moisture away from the body and disperses it to the outside, where it dries quickly. The lightweight material helps keep you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold. For more information, check WSIsports.com.

Fish Hedz

California-based Save Phace Inc. made a serious fashion statement at ICAST 2004 with the introduction of "Fish Hedz" - a cool-looking face mask designed to provide maximum protection from the elements when running at high speeds.

Available in several solid colors or graphic designs, Fish Hedz comes with interchangeable visor lenses that are guaranteed not to fog up in foul weather.

Solid colors retail for about $100, compared to $130 for graphic models. For more information, visit Fishhedz.net or call (866) 783-3223.

Airrus

Airrus Rods of Las Vegas extended its Best of Show winning streak to three years with "Tradition," a high-quality spinning rod that doubles as a fly rod.

The fly-rod reel seat is stored inside the grip when the rod is being used as a spinning rod. In the spinning configuration, the reel is attached by supplied anchor rings or tape.

Three styles are available: combined three-piece fly and two-piece spinning (Valour rod bag and travel case included); two-piece spinning only; and one-piece spinning. The rods range in price from $130 to $200, depending on the model.

For additional information, contact Airrus Rods at (702) 395-2173 or visit Rodsbyairrus.com.

Vanish Transition

Berkley rocked the fishing-line category with Vanish Transition, a fluorocarbon line that actually changes colors when exposed to sunlight.

Pure Fishing's Transition turns a hi-vis amber color when placed in sunlight but retains its invisible properties beneath the surface. The idea is for the line to remain highly visible above the water so fishermen can see it and to become invisible when placed beneath the surface so the fish cannot.

For more information, go to Berkley-fishing.com or call (800) BERKLEY.

XTOOLS

Plenty of folks stopped by the blue and green booth to check out the company's new X-Cull system.
X-Cull is a digital scale/buoy system designed to take the guesswork out of culling. Operation is simple. Program the gripNweigh scale with the number of fish in a legal limit and place a numbered buoy in the mouth of each keeper as you catch them. The scale automatically tells which fish should be culled after you have caught a limit.

The X-Cull sells for about $130. For more information, log on to XTOOLS.us.

Hawg Pockets

Take the worry out of transporting or storing fishing rods with lures attached with Hawg Pocket, a wraparound lure guard that sandwiches the lure and rod inside a durable, transparent case. The lure guard secures with Velcro for fast removal or attachment.

Hawg Pockets won the Fishing Accessory Award in the ICAST 2004 New Products Showcase. To learn more, call (770) 888-4034 or go to Hawgpockets.com.

Shimano

Shimano grabbed the Overall Best of Show award and Best of Show in the reel category with its new Chronarch B Series reels.

Modeled after the popular Chronarch, B Series reels are made with a durable ion-plated finish and a handy escape-hatch side plate for quick access to the brake system.

Two versions are available for freshwater. The standard B model has a 6.2:1 gear ratio; the 5.1:1 BSP model is geared for power-fishing applications or for slow-rolling spinnerbaits. The cost is about $270.

Bagio: Shimano's new weatherproof travel case earned Best of Show honors in the tackle management category. The case has 25 pockets for storing reels, line, pliers and extra spools. The bag is small enough to qualify as an airline carry-on, thus eliminating the worry of losing or having expensive reels stolen during travel.

Tags: matt-williams  magazine-features 

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