ICAST is the fishing industry’s annual tradeshow where much of the coming year’s new lures and other fishing equipment is introduced.
The event was held earlier this summer in Orlando. Here is an event recap and impressions of some new products from this attendee’s perspective.
Trolling motor “wars”
Maybe the most talked about happening at ICAST was the introduction of several new trolling motors. Minn Kota and MotorGuide have been, for the most part, the only players in the trolling motor market. That’s changing in a big way for 2020.
Both Lowrance and Garmin introduced their initial forays into the trolling motor game, and MotorGuide introduced a redesigned flagship motor, as well.
My initial impression of the new motors is that there is lots to like, regardless of the brand, for the angling consumer! However, it’s hard to tell how well a trolling motor actually functions without having it on a boat and testing it.
The real test will be when anglers start purchasing the new motors and putting them to use. If they function as advertised and prove reliable, then this may prove to be the dawn of a new era in trolling motors.
The only caveat to the excitement of these new motors is price point, as all three introductions are priced around the $3,000 mark.
Ned Rig popularity
Northern and Midwestern anglers have been fishing a jig-head tipped with a plastic worm for many years on the weedline during summer.
This method is a top producer of largemouth bass, though northern pike, walleyes and big panfish eat “jig-worms” too.
Recently, the “Ned Rig” has gained favor amongst bass anglers. A lot like jig-worms, Ned Rigs may differ only in size of the soft bait fished. Jig-wormers often use curl-tail worms and do-nothing stick baits in the 4-7-inch size range, while Ned Riggers often use smaller plastic offerings on their jigs.
This technique is a favorite amongst Midwest tournament anglers, particularly when the bite gets tough. It’s also a favorite of fishing guides as it often produces fast bass action, serving as a good alternative when the summer walleye bite slows.
Strike King introduced their new Tour Grade Ned Rig Head with a unique head shape to make lures stand up, a premium hook, and a wire bait keeper as well. The company also debuted three finesse soft baits for fishing on the new jig heads that looked very, very “fishy!”
This fishing guide can’t wait to get his hands on these new baits!
Technique specific walleye rods
Rods designed for use with species specific fishing techniques have been on the market for a long time.
As a guide who spends lots of time chasing walleyes, I’m always on the look-out for quality rods that fish very well for my clients and me and are available at reasonable price points.
It appears that Lew’s hit a home run with their new Speed Stick rod series! Ten walleye models are in the series, including a model for bottom bouncing, five jigging/live bait rigging spinning models, and four models designed for trolling.
In holding the rods at the show, I was very impressed with their lightweight design, their actions, and the cork handles the rods feature. Made with premium IM8 graphite blanks, they should be very sensitive too. And, most of the models come with $79.99 retail price tags!
Whether it’s to view new rods, baits, or some other items, I’m always excited to head to ICAST to see what’s coming that can help us put more fish in the boat. Many of the new items I saw this year didn’t disappoint, at least from my perspective, and now’s it’s time to get back on the water and see what the fish think.
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your outdoor adventures!
Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s School of Fish. Visit fishingthemidwest.com to learn more.