It’s no secret the Covid-19 pandemic pretty much shut down the world’s supply production chain, but even through challenging times, the fishing industry managed to crank out some top-notch new products to showcase at ICAST. Usually, it’s a top-10 roundup, but this one goes up to 11 (for all you This is Spinal Tap fans). Here’s what caught my eye at the yearly international fishing tackle show in Orlando, Florida.
Fin-Nor North Drop Sunglasses
Fin-Nor’s name conjures sepia toned images of Zane Grey using knuckle buster Fin-Nor reels to battle grander blue marlin, and now the iconic brand has gotten super stylish, entering the hot sunglass market by dropping the big lensed North Drop frames for saltwater anglers. One facet of the frame construction I really enjoyed was the flexible ear frames that didn’t press against your temples all day long. The North Drop touts exclusive Lateral Line lens technology, hydrophobic/oleophobic coatings on both sides of the lenses, and lightweight frames made from advanced, eco-friendly materials for all-day comfort. Available in three frame colors: matte black, matte dark gray and matte keys camo. Glass or plastic lenses available in gray and copper, with three mirror selections (blue mirror, green mirror and silver mirror).
Penn Authority Spinning Reel
Big fish better respect some authority — I’m talking about the new Penn Authority spinning reel. This brawny new beastie boasts an IPX8-rated sealed body and spool that allows the reel to be submerged one meter for 30 minutes, a formidable trait when in the punishing saltwater arena. Machined out of a solid piece of hardcore metal, precise alignment and maximum torque is applied when battling big game.
The Leveline slow oscillation system produces a tight line lay for improved casting, along with a 12+1 bearing system for smooth retrieve. Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag offers maximum drag pressure and features silky smooth carbon washers which eliminate hesitation even under extreme drag settings. Washers are impregnated with a phenolic bonding agent to reduce wear. The total Penn Authority combination brings the fight to any big game fish, leaving zero power behind. Available in sizes 2500 to 10500.
Price: $499.95 – $599.95
Frabill Witness Weigh Net
How many times have you caught a respectable fish, then either needed a net, a measuring stick or forgotten to bring the scale to check the weight?
Frabill answers all problems in their all-in-one Witness Weigh Net. With a built-in 30-pound scale, anglers can now quickly get the weight of a fish and release it without having to hang the fish on a handheld scale. Featuring tangle-free Micro-Mesh netting, molded rubber grip 48-inch handle, and a 30-inch ruler.
Spro Flutter Tail Shrimp
Shrimp this, shrimp that, you can always use more shrimp lures. Spro’s Flutter Tail Shrimp measures out to the perfect bite size of 3 inches, plus it’s made from Spro Dura Tuff construction to stand up to the grating mouths of redfish and gnarly teeth of speckled trout.
Available in 9 colors like favorites Electric Chicken and new offerings such as Pink Gold Berry. All baits are infused with Amino Bite scent. The fluttering tail calls fish in from a long distance away, mimicking the snapping of the shrimp tail underwater.
Price: $6.99 (pack of five)
Bubba Saltwater Multi-Flex Knife
Forgot to bring the chunk knife to collar that tuna? Or maybe left the fillet knife at home? No problem!
Bubba’s new Saltwater Multi-Flex interchangeable Knife Set insures you are prepared for any knife wielding situation that may arise in salt water. A seamless squeeze and slide mechanism allows you to switch between blades quickly while the Flex-Change locking system keeps the blade safe and secure. The Multi-Flex features two different full-tang blades (9-inch serrated flex and 9-inch stiff) complete with non-slip grip handles along with a premium hard-sided carry case for a watertight seal.
Shimano Spheros SW Combo
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What’s a good entry rod and reel for salt water?”
Shimano finally helps me give a simple answer — the new Spheros SW Spinning Combo. Rods range from 7 to 9 feet, medium to heavy power, and fast action blanks ideal for piers, surf, ocean and bay fishing on artificial lures or live bait. The rod is matched with a legendary Spheros SW 5000, 6000 or 8000 spinning reel. Unmatched quality you expect from Shimano at an unbeatable price.
Price: $199.99 to $209.99
Bajio Roca Sunglasses
Fishing sunglasses try to exude hip and cool, combined with practicality, and Bajio’s Roca sunglasses check all the boxes. Made with tough, bio-based nylon, a modern oversized frame protects eyes with complete coverage and vented side shields, reducing glare off the water and overall light intrusion without fogging up. Blue-light-blocking LAPIS technology minimizes eye fatigue and strain to bring comfort all day long.
A pretty cool fact is Roca (rock in Spanish), is named for the productive Roca Flat near Campeche, Mexico. Scratch resistant and oleophobic coatings on both glass and polycarbonate lenses protect and allow for easy cleaning of salt, sweat and sunscreen.
Price: $199 to $249
Yo-Zuri Hydro Twitchbait
Built for big game, Yo-Zuri’s Hydro Twitchbait is made to handle the punishment, power hungry predators like tuna, tarpon, GTs and others put down. Available in one size fits all — 6 inches, 2-5/8 ounces — and available in 8 colors, the lures feature through-wire construction, 4X strong treble hooks and split rings. The Hydro Twitchbait teases with a moderate sink rate that allows to get in the zone like a crippled baitfish, seductive wobble to spark attention, and a quick darting and flashing action when whipped like a walk-the-dog style.
I can’t wait to toss this beauty to topwater tuna.
St. Croix Rift Rod
Standing at 7 feet, 3 inches, the St. Croix Rift series rod is designed to tackle nearly every saltwater species under the sun including striped bass, bluefish, redfish, yellowtails, yellowfin tuna, and tarpon. You name it. Built on the concept of targeting variety, the medium power, moderate flex of the Rift hits that sweet spot center point to get you in the game for all assorted species.
Drift crabs for tarpon, liveline bunker for stripers, or jig metals for tuna, you can do it all with the Rift.
Yeti Roadie 60 Wheeled Cooler
Yeti has been synonymous with keeping your beer, soda and food cool for days on end. Now they have a mobile addition to their lineup.
Capable of holding 50 cans and touting a dry goods basket to keep your food dry, amenities include a periscope handle for ease of pulling, never-flat wheels to roll over rugged terrain and docks, and Permafrost insulation that makes the brand so famous. A new Quicklatch system is so easy to operate, especially if you have difficulty with manual dexterity. I believe it’s a huge improvement to unlatch and re-latch the cooler lid.
Grundens GORE-TEX Boundary Waders Collection
Surf fishermen and saltwater river anglers now have a slick new option in the wader market. Grundens new Gore-Tex Boundary Wader lineup is built to handle cold climes and frigid waters.
Built to deal with punishing Northeast November surf or swift estuarial river systems, waders are insulated with Gore-Tex 3 layer and 4 layer Pro Shell fabric to hold in heat without sweat. Titanium Alpha Neoprene booties keep feet warm and cozy, plus there’s a fused contour suspension system for stretch and comfortability on those long, thousand-cast days. Also, anglers can expect new Boundary wading boots matched for ultimate comfort.
Price: Waders $699.99 to $899.99; Wading Boots $249.99 to $299.99