WHAT’S NEW ON THE WATER
Each summer, the fishing tackle industry convenes at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, better known as ICAST, to showcase new products for the coming season. This year’s show offered an impressive array of new and improved tackle: conventional reels, smaller, easier to handle and astonishingly powerful; spinning reels, beefier and more robust to battle the big game that once required conventional gear; stronger, thinner lines; and more enticing lures, engineered for unprecedented fish-catching action. Here’s a look at the best of what we saw as we walked the aisles, coming soon to a tackle shop near you.
Penn’s new Slammer III spinning reels
PENN SLAMMER III SPINNING REELS
“Best in Show” winner at the recent ICAST exhibition, Penn’s Slammer III reels feature full-metal bodies, side plates and rotors, 6+1 corrosion-resistant bearings, and IPX6 sealed bodies and spool designs. Precision brass gears are individually machined for smoother operation, oversize handle grips afford control when battling large fish, and the sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag provides serious stopping power. Sizes begin at 3500 with a 6.2:1 gear ratio and 30 pounds of drag, up to 10500 with a 4.2:1 gear ratio and 60 pounds of drag.
$249.99 to $349.99
Okuma Metaloid Spinning Reels
OKUMA METALOID SPINNING REELS
At the heart of the new Metaloid reels is a forged, machine-cut, stainless main gear matched to a machine-cut stainless pinion gear, a step up from the brass and aluminum gears in most reels within this price category. The Hydro Sealed Dual Force Drag combines a carbon-fiber drag stack on top of the spool and a single oversize washer beneath it to deliver up to 46 pounds of drag (depending on reel size). A dual anti-reverse system offers peace of mind when applying heavy drag. Metaloid reels come in three models: M-55S with automatic bail trip and 5.8:1 gear ratio; and M-65S and M-90S, both with 5.4:1 gear ratios and manual-only bail trips for longevity with heavy braids.
$189.99 to $199.99; okumafishing.com
Yo-Zuri Mag Darter
YO-ZURI MAG DARTER
The Yo-Zuri Mag Darter lure series now includes a new 6-inch size for bigger game. Weighing 2 ounces and featuring the company’s patented Magnetic Weight Transfer System, the larger Mag Darters enable longer casts to reach waters previously out of range, particularly critical for surf, jetty and shore-bound anglers. Through-wire construction and 3X Strong treble hooks hold up to big-fish punishment. Oversize holographic eyes, etched scales and gill plates add to the realistic baitfish looks, while the lip design produces a rolling-darting action that puts tarpon, striped bass, snook, bluefish, bull redfish and other predators in attack mode. Available in 10 color patterns.
Daiwa BG Spinning Reels
DAIWA BG SPINNING REELS
The redesigned Daiwa BG series of reels couples 35 years of legendary performance with extensively improved features, such as aluminum Hardbodyz frames for structural integrity; larger gearing for increased power and durability; machined aluminum screw-in handles; and braided-line-ready spools over a carbon ATD waterproof drag system. A full range of sizes includes 1500, 2000, 2500 and 3000 (5.6:1 retrieve ratio); 3500, 4000, 4500 and 5000 (5.7:1 ratio); and 6500 and 8000 (5.3:1 ratio). Sizes 4500 and larger feature a manual return bail.
$99.95 to $129.95
Alutecnos Gorilla 20 Veloce Reel
ALUTECNOS GORILLA 20 VELOCE REEL
The new compact Gorilla 20V from Alutecnos pours on the coal when it comes to fighting big fish, yet it weighs a mere 31.3 ounces. It features a zippy 6.2:1 retrieve ratio, and its multidisc drag sets up to 45 pounds while guaranteeing true free-spool. The ergonomic handle maintains efficient angler arm position to maximize retrieval speed and power. This combined with a beefy gear coupling provides maximum traction, making line retrieval fast and comfortable. Capacity: 1,094 yards of 50-pound braid, 546 yards of 90-pound braid, 985 yards of 20-pound mono or 437 yards of 30-pound mono.
Shimano Coltsniper Sinking Stickbaits
SHIMANO COLTSNIPER SINKING STICKBAITS
Thanks to Shimano’s Propulsion Weight Transfer System, the new Coltsniper sinking stickbaits offer exceptional casting distance. The internal weight slides back during the cast, and then springs forward when the lure hits the water, increasing distance by up to 22 percent over lures of similar weight and length. The slow-sinking Coltsniper stickbaits have a wide slide-swim action when retrieved and feature chemically sharpened treble hooks at the tail and midbody. Available in two sizes — 120 and 140 mm — in eight baitfish patterns with reflective finishes.
$12.99 and $14.99
St. Croix Mogo Jig Series Rods
ST. CROIX MOJO JIG SERIES RODS
Designed for the specific demands of vertical jigging, the Mojo Jig series from St. Croix uses premium SCII graphite, pumped up with FRS and ART technologies to achieve the strength and durability required for this specialized fishing technique. The Sea Guide guides with corrosion-resistant SS304 frames and aluminum-oxide rings are saltwater tough. The new series includes four conventional and four spinning models in 5-foot-8-inch and 6-foot-6-inch lengths, rated from 30- to 65-pound-class up to 80- to 200-pound-class. All feature Fuji reel seats with black hoods, and Fuji gimbals on H and HX power models.
Rapala X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow
RAPALA X-RAP TWITCHIN’ MINNOW
The X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow is designed to perform a tight walk-the-dog retrieve with an aggressive side-to-side action, 1 to 2 feet below the surface. The slow sink rate allows a glide-and-drop technique that lands the Twitchin’ Minnow precisely in pockets where fish ambush prey. Available in 12 color schemes, the lures match a full range of forage species to tempt all the popular inshore game fish. Available in 4- and 41⁄2-inch models, weighing 1⁄2- and 15⁄16-ounce respectively, they feature Xtreme Flash, X-Style translucent bodies, 3-D holographic eyes, and VMC Coastal Black 1X in-line single hooks to minimize fouling, increase hookups and offer easier, safer releases.
$9.99 to $13.99
Spiderwire Stealth Smooth Braid
SPIDERWIRE STEALTH SMOOTH BRAID
Spiderwire’s Stealth Smooth Braid is a new thin-diameter, eight-carrier braided line with a tight weave coated in thin layers of microcrystalline polymer for exceptional smoothness. It offers increased durability and glides through rod guides for longer, quieter and more precise casts. The new line also cinches down easily for tying knots effortlessly and goes through the water with less drag, making vertical descent faster and more efficient, a major plus when vertical jigging. Available from 6 to 80 pounds in 125-, 200-, 300-, 500-, 1,500- and 3,000-yard spools.
Starting at $13.99; spiderwire.com
D.O.A. 2.75-Inch Shrimp
D.O.A. 2.75-INCH SHRIMP
This new shrimp lure incorporates** the best of both worlds: fishing with a jig and a D.O.A. shrimp.** The super-sharp weighted hook slips seamlessly into the body, which also contains a rattle cavity to add sound and increase the attraction. The hidden weight is less likely to hang up on rocks, oysters, roots and other submerged structures. Available in the hottest fish-catching D.O.A. colors.
$6.89 for a pack of six; doalures.com
Z-Man Redfish Eye Jig Heads
Z-MAN REDFISH EYE JIG HEADS
The oversize 3-D eyes on the new Redfish Eye jig heads from Z-Man present a prominent, highly visible target for game fish. Dual, super-sharp, conical keeper spikes hold ElaZtech or other soft-plastic baits securely in place. And the 4/0, 30-degree Mustad UltraPoint jig hooks help to prevent fouling and snagging on vegetation when fishing in shallow water or over grass bottom. Available with red, pearl, Glow and gold eyes in 1⁄8-, 3⁄16- and 1⁄4-ounce weights.
$5.49 for a pack of two; zmanfishing.com
Savage Gear Panic Popper
SAVAGE GEAR PANIC POPPER
Touted as an extreme lure with attitude, the Panic Popper is designed for maximum casting distance and durability, with extra heavy-duty hooks and split rings that resist 120 pounds of pull. The specially cupped face is shaped to throw more water farther and create the kind of fish-calling commotion that results in more savage surface strikes. Available in five color patterns in 51⁄4- and 7 3⁄4-inch sizes.
$8.99 and $15.99