More than 15,000 representatives from the domestic and international recreational fishing and boating community recently converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, for the 61st International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST), the annual mega event where manufacturers of fishing products from around the world show their latest and greatest. More than 300 companies submited close to 1,000 exciting new products in hopes of taking home the awards in a range of categories. Following are 15 winners that saltwater anglers should keep an eye out for in the coming months.
Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope delivers the best of both scanning and live-sonar technologies, offering anglers higher resolution images of structure, bait and fish below and around the boat that are easier to interpret than ever before. Touted as revolutionary all-seeing sonar technology, Panoptix was the first to deliver live sonar images in real-time — ahead, behind, below and to both sides of the boat — even while stationary. Thanks to the active scanning capabilities of Panoptix LiveScope, anglers can now see images and movement clearly enough to distinguish the species of fish. The Panoptix LiveScope system has a suggested retail price of $1,499.99 and includes a compact GLS 10 sonar black box with an LVS32 transducer, a trolling motor barrel and shaft mounting kit, a transom mounting kit, and a simple plug-and-play Garmin Marine Network connector for easy installation and integration with a compatible Garmin chart plotter; garmin.com.
Mojo Yak Rods
The new, fast-action St. Croix Mojo Yak rods are designed to improve fishability and thwart the common challenges of kayak anglers, with high-modulus SCIII graphite blanks that deliver great sensitivity, casting distance and accuracy, along with the backbone to hoist fish up. Starting at $150, Mojo Yak rods are available in six spinning and two casting models, ranging from 7′ to 7’6″ in medium-light, medium and medium-heavy, and feature Kigan Master Hand 3D guides, a shorter split-handle configuration with Winn polymer grips for a sure, comfortable grip even in wet, cold conditions, and a rounded butt to catch less fabric when pressed against the body while battling fish; stcroixrods.com.
Tekota Levelwind Reel
The fully redesigned Tekota 500 and 600 levelwind reels, now more compact, more ergonomic and lighter, are ideal for jigging and trolling, as well as casting big swimbaits. They boast a fast 6.3:1 gear ratio and 24 pounds of maximum drag, and feature Shimano‘s highly rigid Hagane body to reduce frame distortion and flex, brass gears 100 percent stronger than previous models, and CoreProtect technology for superb water resistance and repellency. Both sizes come in right- and left-hand retrieve, and also in line-counter versions; fish.shimano.com.
Super8Slick V2 Braid
The new PowerPro Super8Slick V2 braided fishing line combines a dense Honeywell Spectra eight-end fiber weave with the proven Enhanced Body Technology (EBT) coating process, which floods proprietary resin through the finished braid, resulting in a smoother line that reduces backlashes, is extremely quiet while passing through the rod guides, increases casting distance, makes it easier to tie knots, and offers superior strength to size ratio. The new braid comes in PowerPro’s classic moss green, onyx (black), blue, and hi-vis aqua green, in 8-, 10-, 15-, 20, 30-, 40-, 50-, 65- and 80-pound test, and spools of 100, 150, 300, 1500, and 3000 yards; powerpro.com.
LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp Lures
Endowed with three-dimensional, anatomical features — including tail and thorax segmentation, eyes, antennae, and more — LIVETARGET’s Fleeing Shrimp accurately mimics a live shrimp. A custom-designed jig head sporting an extra-strong, corrosion-resistant hook blends seamlessly with the lure’s soft body and enables it to stand perfectly upright, with the head tipped slightly upward, while at rest on the bottom. Meanwhile, the proprietary skirt masterfully emulates the motions of a shrimp’s front legs to create a subtle lifelike action that will draw strikes from the wariest fish. Available in 2 3/4-inch (¼ oz) and 3 1/2-inch (3/8 oz) sizes and eight realistic color patterns (Sand Shrimp, Glass Shrimp, White Shrimp, Glow, Brown Shrimp, Pink, Grass Shrimp, and Clear), the Fleeing Shrimp will sell for $9.99 starting in late fall 2018; livetargetlures.com.
Octopi lures from 13 Fishing are a new line of lifelike jigs designed to look and act like an optopus. Available in a variety of color schemes and sizes (from 6 to 12 ounces), these lure drop straight to the bottom and, once down, they can be crawled along the bottom or twitched to let the tentacles create the natural action of a live octopus and tempt the likes of halibut, lingcod, grouper, snapper, cobia and more. A pair of heavy-duty assist hooks are rigged individually on heavy dacron to minimize hangups, promote solid hook-ups, and help prevent fish from shaking off the jig; 13fishing.com.
YETI Tundra Haul
The new Tundra Haul boasts the same nearly-indestructible construction as previous YETI coolers, incorporating Rotomolded Construction and pressure-injected PermaFrost Insulation to ensure contents stay frosty. It features heavy-duty T-REX™ lid latches, LIPGRIP™ handles that make carrying the cooler less of a chore, a StrongArm Handle with a welded aluminum T-Bar to pull the Tundra Haul next to you, instead of behind you, and was designed taller to fit a bottle of wine, and wider for a more even weight distribution on each of its solid, single-piece NEVERFLAT™ wheels, both impact- and puncture-resistant. Available in 4 colors: white, charcoal, blue and tan, the Tundra Haul will retail for $399.99; yeti.com.
SEiGLER MF Lever Drag Fly Reel
SEiGLER’s MF (Medium Fly) Lever Drag fly reel was built for the harsh saltwater environment and designed to tackle a wide range of challenging saltwater species. The large knob ensures a firm grip to gain line at every chance without skipping a beat, and the lever drag makes it easy to adjust braking pressure on a hooked fish as needed throughout the fight. The new fly reel is recommended for 8- 9- and 10-weight fly lines, weighs 10.6 ounces, and will carry 300 yards of 40-pound braid with a 9-weight floating line; seigler.fish.
YETI Panga 28 Backpack
The new Panga 28 Backpack was engineered with the same high-density, puncture- and abrasion-resistant ThickSkin™ shell as other bags in YETI‘s Panga line. It fits comfortably in a plane’s overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you, and has clean lines to prevent snagging on fly lines, boat hardware, brush, or airport scanners. Features include a large top handle and two side handles with a convenient attachment loop at the top and bottom of each, additional attachment loops on the front of the pack and on both of the wide, padded shoulder straps, enough room inside for a change of clothes, toiletries, power cords, snacks, plus a pocket for a laptop computer, and a zippered mesh pocket inside the front flap large enough to hold passports, keys and cell phone. The HydroLok zipper makes the pack airtight and completely waterproof to keep the contents safe and dry, even when dunked in the strongest currents or caught in the heaviest rainfalls. It retails for $299.99; yeti.com.
Minn Kota Ultrex with MEGA Down Imaging
Johnson Outdoors’ Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor with MEGA Down Imaging sonar built-in has the Humminbird MEGA Down Imaging transducer now integrated. Humminbird’s ultra-clear MEGA Imaging™ is the first Down Imaging technology to enter the megahertz range with performance nearly three times greater than traditional 455 kHz frequencies, for the sharpest on-screen images. Housed in the motor’s indestructible lower unit, the transducer integrated into the Minn Kota Ultrex allows anglers to see what is directly below the bow of the boat. Bluetooth compatibility enables controling the trolling motor from the Minn Kota app and make software updates wirelessly. Anglers can also use i-Pilot Link to control the motor from the Humminbird unit, the app or the i-Pilot Link. Suggested retail $2,449.99; minnkotamotors.com
Costa Baffin Polarized Sunglasses
With frames designed to be fully recyclable, the Costa Baffin polarized sunglasses are a tangible solution to help reduce plastic pollution. Named for the cold water current that ushers discarded fishing nets across marine ecosystems, the Baffin feature frames made 100 percent from recycled fishing nets, marked by a unique tumbled finish, and include textured detailing on the outer temples and interior rubber temple grips for comfort and top performance. The new Costas are available with four different lenses: gray, copper, blue mirror, and green mirror, and retail for $199.99; costadelmar.com
AFTCO Hydronaut Heavy-Duty Waterproof System
AFTCO’s Hydronaut Heavy-Duty Waterproof System includes a jacket ($249.00) and bibs ($229.00) designed to keep anglers dry even in extreme wet conditions. Features include 2-layer nylon shell with polyester mesh lining, SpeedVent™ hood, double-articulated storm flap, Molly system camera-mount pocket, covered chest pockets, top entry pouch pockets, brushed tricot handwarmer pocket, retractable d-rings, elastic rear buckle waist cinch, rubberized internal sleeve cuffs and more. Available in October 2018; aftco.com.
Hexatron Performance Hoodie
The new Hexatron Performance Hoodie, with AFTCO‘s proprietary HexTech thermal dobby fabric, was designed to be worn either as standalone shirt or integrated into your layering system to deliver mid layer warmth. It is is 94 percent Polyester and 6 percent Spandex for freedom of movement and all-day comfort, and features AFGUARD stain release. It will be available in October, 2018, and retail for $79.00; aftco.com
Tak Logic Lure Lock’s new Lure Locker makes it a cinch to carry or stow lures, hooks and other terminal tackle neatly organized and safe from the elements. The complete system includes five boxes with Snap-Apart divers for a customized layout, and ElasTak liners, which grip lures and hooks to prevent them from bouncing around and tangling or fouling. The Lure Locker Tackle System is made in U.S.A. and retails for $99.99 ($19.99 for a single box); taklogic.com