Tech It Out by Capt. Chris D. Dollar
Sportfishing Industry Presents
The ICAST 2015
icture the world’s finest and most creative fishing folks gathered in one place to show off all of their latest ideas. I know. It’s almost sensory overload, potentially pumping too much adrenaline and risking blowing a blood vessel it’s so exciting. I’m talking about the ICAST show, which was held July 14–17, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. ICAST is short hand for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, and is far easier to digest. I went to ICAST one time, when it was held in Vegas, and I’ve been trying to talk my editors into sending me back ever since. Perhaps the highlight of the trade show is the New Product Showcase, which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the industry’s trade association that produces ICAST, says “embodies the sportfishing industry’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.” The ASA has been running ICAST for 58 years, and each year the show attracts more than 12,000 representatives from all corners of the sportfishing industry fishing globe. How the judges chose the “Best of Show” winners from 889 products submitted by 270 companies in the New Product Showcase is a mystery to me. But they did. Here’s a brief sampling of a few winners that caught my eye, by no means a ranking on my part. In coming columns you’re bound to read about other ICAST winners. If you’re still of the mindset that kayak fishing is nothing more than a passing fad, I submit Exhibit A: ICAST’s overall Best of Show was the C-135 YakAttack Edition by Eddyline kayaks, a family-owned company for 44 years. I’ve only seen videos and photos and have yet to test it, but it looks like one sweet sled. I hear secondhand that it is a very fast and stable yak. This special edition comes with all the bells and whistles that anglers need and want. Included in the MSRP $2599 price tag are an exclusive YakAttack BlackPak in grey, a VisiCarbon Pro for enhanced safety day or night, an intuitive Zooka Tube for securing a spinning or casting rod, paddle clips, and a variety of strategically placed YakAttack GearTracs. Another feature is the Cloud 10 Frame Seating System that offers four seating positions. The Power Hatch Liner can store lots of gear and also fits up to a Group 24 battery to power electronics or a trolling motor.
For several years the Avid rod was a workhorse rod for my guide service. And with good reason. It was reasonably priced and loaded with fish taming features, and its longevity was backed by the iconic rod builder St. Croix. So it didn’t surprise me when the Avid Inshore rod won Best of Show in the saltwater rod category. There are nine rods in the series, six in the spin variety and three in casting, ranging from six-pound test to Follow us!
For decades, PENN fishing reels have held a special place in the arsenal of untold numbers of fishermen. Count me among them. But I was also among those diehards who were disappointed when the company hit a rough patch some years back, making a few reels that didn’t live up to those high standards. Perhaps winning Best of Show in the Saltwater Reel category for its Clash reel proves PENN really is back. Highlights of the Clash are its lightweight, precision aluminum/brass main gear and brass pinion machined using computer-controlled CNC gear technology and full-metal aluminum body and sideplate. Add eightplus-one sealed ball bearings for durability. PENN’s Clash spinning reels are lightweight, technical reels designed for casting topwater plugs in shallow water or jigging metal in deeper waters. Available later this fall, the Clash comes in seven sizes ranging from the 2000 (8.2-ounces) to the 8000 (27.2 ounces). Prices range from $179.99 to $259.99 MSRP.
40-pound test. The Avid comes in six foot; six foot, six inch; seven foot; seven foot, six inch; and eight foot lenghths. That means there’s a rod for just about any inshore angler who chases perch or cobia. The St. Croix Avid Inshore rod is built with Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology, an advanced engineering technique that almost eliminates all transitional points in the rod, making it stronger and more sensitive. Combine IPC with high-modulus SCIII graphite
blanks, sprinkle on zirconium guides with 316 stainless-steel frames to beat back corrosive saltwater, and you’re ready to whip just about any inshore gamefish that swims. MSRP ranges from $210 to $270. PropTalk.com September 2015 33
Chesapeake Bay Boating