Orlando, Florida—More than 500 companies displayed their 2016-sportfishing products. Walking thru the ICAST isles, under the bright lights in the big city, I questioned if all that glittered was gold. Hidden amongst all the items showcased, it is certain there was a real gem or two. But can they solve an angler’s blues?
As much as I enjoyed looking at all the new trinkets, my mind focused upon those items most luring to a fish. Sure, the best rods and reels spooled up with superlines have their place and at times are difference makers. Trendy accessories make you look fancy, but if your lures suck so will your fishing. The more appropriate question is: “Will they make a difference within your fishing?”
Here is a brief glimpse of what captured my attention.
Sunglasses: Typhoon Optics, a family owned business, has assembled an eclectic team of pros to represent them. Typhoon has a sundry of sunglass models; the Zabra model is very stylish and for those of us with old eyes, practically defines the fashionable Mariner II polarized reading glasses. Products sold under their Gone Fishing Brand float and have an attractive price point. www.typhoonoptics.comHard
Baits: PRADCO has worked hard to streamline its popular brands. That is good news for those with too much tackle. The company’s lipless crankbaits and popping lures were rolled out under the Booyah banner. Can a new jig be like money “on” the bank? The Bank Roll Jig that sports a flattop and stands on its head is being touted as such. www.booyahbaits.com
Reels: Abu Garcia REVO Spinning Reels have enjoyed a cult-like following, but that does not allow the company to relax. It introduced the new REVO MGX series, increasing the family total to six. The new MGX’s compact design improves balance; internal refinements make casting easier. The utilization of carbon reduces weight and increases strength. The rocket spool lip minimizes line twists and knots. This REVO epitomizes style and functionality. www.abugarcia.com
Terminal Tackle: Freedom Tackle Corp. I was walking down the isles looking for someone when Nick Tamburro asked, “Can I show you our products?” In a hurry, but careful to not be rude, I stopped and Nick proceeded to explain his products. I am a fan of swing-head jigs and wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what Nick wanted to show me. Freedoms’ Hybrid swing-head jig design is unique in that you can actually change hooks when and if needed. In addition, a traditional jig skirt, can be added when a larger profile is warranted. Then too, for a twist, they added a bait keeper to their Stealth model to fish a swimbait. They offer heavier swing-head jigs that keep the lure on the bottom, making contact in deeper waters much easier—problem solved. www.freedomlure.com
Lifesavers— Smartphone Case: DiCAPac’s phone case is picked for personal reasons. In the course of three months, I dropped one phone in a lake, threw another off the hood of my truck, and then wind ripped one out of my Harley Davidson jacket pocket as I rode down the interstate. This waterproof cover, however, would have helped me only in the first scenario. For you boaters and anglers, the cost of this case is much cheaper than the insurance deductible for a replacement phone. Believe me I know! Luis Yeom, DiCAPac President, indicated that water could not ruin a smartphone once it has been placed inside of their waterproof pouch. In an underwater demonstration, Yeom proved that a phone is completely functional when placed inside of the case. www.DiCAPacUSA.com
Best of Category Pick, Giftware: YOLOtek. I am not sure how this product is categorized as giftware; moreover, I am still unsure how it was selected as the best amongst the others. The picture doesn’t do justice to what I am trying to say, but here goes. When I noticed this gadget, it was obscured due to its placement on the display table amidst the other items. It was kind of covered up, so maybe that is why I picked it up for a closer look. When I did, I was blown away with its simplicity and had a: “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. YOLOtek has transformed a rear boat running light into a camera mount, USB port, and personal cameraman. I cast my “best of show” vote for it. I was surprised to later learn that this is the second show there AquaStick PRO has garnered media praise. www.yolotek.com