ICAST Our Best of Show–Items Worth Mentioning

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ICAST 2012 is over and all of the awards have been handed out; the meetings are over and all of the dinners consumed. While the event itself is over, the legacy of the products that have been named as the best in their class has been established. Many of those products have a chance to become staples in the arsenal of anglers for years to come.

However, ICAST is full of excellent products that don’t win, and to some, the setup of the New Product Showcase doesn’t allow for the voters to know all of the features that make the products being displayed what they are.

In the days after the show, Advanced Angler looks at the products that we have seen and covered on the show floor and comes up with our own version of Best in Show. Our approach is not to say that any of the products that won the awards during the show should not have, but we want you – the reader – to see some of the items that could be serious contenders for the titles.

We do not break down by category, instead, we show you some of the items that should make an impact in the retailers and on the water for years to come.

Again, this is not all of them, but they are a few that stand out. For reference, the complete list of ICAST best in Show winners is available right here on Advanced Angler. ICAST Best of Show Master List


TH Marine – Gerald Swindle GForce Culling Kit
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle has had this idea in his head and almost to market before, but the company that he was working with was unable to complete the project. The GForce Culling Kit is a balance beam that has notches at each end that hold specially designed loops at the top of the culling floats when balance beaming bass in a tournament.

The loops at the top of the floats allow for less handling of the fish during the culling process, which should reduce bass mortality, but it also speeds up the culling process significantly. This was a no-brainer for us, and in fact will likely be one of our purchases coming out of ICAST as soon as they are made available.


SIMMS Contender Series Rainwear –
Based in fly-fishing, SIMMS has become a favorite of bass anglers across the country the past two years. Last year they introduced their ultra-premium Pro Dry Gore Tex rain suit that has become the favorite of the pros. But, at a price tag of nearly $1,000, the suit is one that may seem cost effective for only the pro angler who makes a living on the water.

SIMMS incorporated the performance functionalities of the Pro Dry suit into their newest rainwear made for the everyday angler. The Contender series of suits offers all of the waterproof features of the Pro Dry, but reduces cost by removing a few frills like flexible fabric around the elbows and clear windows for watches. But, don’t let the fact that they removed features fool you, this may be one of the driest rain suits on the market.


WileyX Echo
WileyX became the first company to produce a pair of sunglasses that incorporate Military Spec safety standards, polarization and their patented removable facial cavity seal into one high-tech package. The stylish looks of the Rout hide the fact that these glasses shield your eyes from the sun, wind, debris and rain, give you extreme visibility into the water and provide you tactical ballistics specs that can not only stop oncoming shrapnel on the battle field, but will also stop a bullet sinker hurtling at your eyeball on a missed hookset.


Never Slip Bait Tape
This product wasn’t actually even on display on any boot at the Orange County Convention Center, but the owner was there as a first time non-exhibiting vendor. He has come up with a new product that holds soft plastic baits on jigheads, jigs, and even worm hooks. Never Slip Bait Tape is excellent when wrapped around the center of a soft plastic stickbait to allow for secure wacky rigging.

Never Slip Bait Tape comes in strips that are non-adhesive, but stick to itself, so wrapping around a soft bait helps lock the lure in place. According to the manufacturer, this product increases the amount of fish you can catch on one soft plastic lure dramatically.


NetBait Triple Pour Colors
The guys behind the NetBait brand have figured out how to pour three layered colors in their injection molds and keep them uniform and consistent. NetBait strives to make sure that their lures’ colors are consistent when consumers pick each and every worm out of the bag, so it took them longer than a year to perfect the process of making triple pour colors. Now that they have, the Alabama company has released several of their new colors in some of their more popular baits and are working to incorporate them into more of their baits.


Goal Zero Guardian
The leader in portable solar battery packs, Goal Zero has found ways to allow outdoor enthusiasts to keep camera, cell phone, iPod, tablet and computer batteries charged using portable, packable solar panels and battery packs. The company even has the ability to power almost an entire base camp with their technology.

Now, they can keep your boat batteries charged as well. With their new Guardian product, anglers can charge a 12 volt battery, or with their 36volt unit, can use the packable solar panels to top off trolling motor batteries while towing, or while on the water during the day. A little bit of sunlight is all it takes and batteries can last as long as an angler needs.


Mustang Flotation MIT 100
A desire for many is to own the inflatable personal flotation devices on the market today. However, at more than $300, they can require a significant investment. Mustang Flotation came up with the MIT 100 version that allows anglers and boaters to have an inflatable PFD without breaking the bank. At around the $100 mark, anglers can experience the comfort and safety of wearing their PFD all day long, but still keep enough money in their pockets to purchase all of the lures they need to fool fish.


Phenix M1 Rods
Phenix has long been known as a high quality rodmaker from the Western United States, and their newest M1 rod showed why they have always had such a strong reputation. The M1 featured aggressive cosmetics, high quality SiC guides a Fuji reel seat adorned in carbon fiber graphics and most importantly a nanotechnology blank that we hear has been able to deadlift as much as five pound vertically without suffering a failure. What’s even better, is that these nanotechnology rods are expected to come in at under $200 retail. They will be available in six casting rods, four spinning and two eight foot swimbait models as well.


Lew’s BB1
Lynn Reeves and his crew at Lew’s was able to produce a reel that even crankbait master David Fritts could be proud of. A fan of the original features of the BB1 and BB1N reels that put Lew’s on the map decades ago, Fritts sought the same features in a cranking reel today. Using the geometries that made the original BB1 series so effective, Lew’s created the new BB1 and BB1Z to satisfy anglers everywhere.

The BB1 features a multistop anti-reverse design that Fritts said helps anglers feel the swimming action of the crankbait better. There will also be a BB1Z version that will feature instant anti-reverse. Each reel has 10 ball bearings and a large spool design that also incorporates an oversized pawl gear that will help the angler make longer casts with big crankbaits.

Many of these products and more were featured on Advanced Angler’s ICAST Raw coverage from Orlando, Fla. Take a look over there and see what items you might think will be setting tackle trends for this year and many years to come