The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades got underway Tuesday morning in Orlando, Fla., offering eager anglers an early look at some of the new products, as well as upgrades to old products, that the fishing industry will be offering in the coming year.
I had a chance to check out some of the products that were going to be introduced at the event prior ahead of time, and I’ve already seen a few new lures that I think are worthy of mention.
Top on my list might be Storm’s new Arashi Glide, a 7 ½-inch, single-joint, hard swimbait with a replaceable soft tail. The gorgeous-looking swimbait has a controlled fall rate of 0.4 feet per second and comes in a variety of color patterns, including Bluegill, Green Gill, Rainbow Trout, Blue Back Herring, Ghost Rainbow Trout, Threadfin Shad, Pro Blue, Black Silver Shad and Oikawa Mesu.
And despite looking like a top-dollar swimbait, Storm said in a news release that the swimbait will retail for half as much, or less, than similar-looking baits.
Storm pro staffer Brandon Palaniuk was high on the bait in the release.
“You have the potential to catch the fish of a lifetime on this bait – we want to help you do that,” says Palaniuk, who worked with Storm for three years to design and perfect the new swimbait. “Big baits catch big fish. Fishing an Arashi Glide is the best way to catch the biggest bass in any body of water.”
Z-Man has three new baits it’s showcasing at ICAST that I think will be big movers on the market in 2019 and beyond, including one I first heard about as a rumor on a Facebook fishing page.
The most eye-catching to me has got to be the TRD BugZ, which has a similar design to creature baits such as the Palmetto BugZ and Googan Baits’ Bandito Bug but comes in a much smaller, 2.75-inch size that will work on a Ned Rig. With the success I’ve had fishing this year with Z-Man’s top new soft plastic product from last year, the TRD CrawZ, I’m amped to try this bad boy out. Downsized versions of already popular bait designs are an underrated commodity in the bass fishing world.
Z-Man’s TicklerZ is another Ned Rig trailer that I think will blow up the finesse fishing world this year. It is a tube-style jig with four tail tentacles spread apart at 45-degree angles to provide enough separation to get good tail action. I was on the Finesse News Network Facebook group’s page when I first saw this lure, back when it was basically a prototype that somebody had posted a picture of. At the time, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about, as the company had designed other tube-style jigs in the past. More recently, however, I’ve seen Z-Man pro-staffer Thomas Heinen, a Hayden graduate and current Washburn student, clean up on smallmouth while fishing with it, and have become much more interested in the product than I initially was.
The third new Z-Man product that caught my eye was the newest ChatterBait offering, the ChatterBait CFL football jig. It seems like every year Z-Man puts out a new ChatterBait that people go crazy for, as the original product and its upgraded versions have won a ton of big bass fishing tournaments over the years. This one has the typical ChatterBait blade at the front attached to a football-style jighead on a swinging hook, which looks to offer a ton of added action in the water for a lure that already had a ton of action. Z-Man partnered with Freedom Tackle Corp. again on this design, the same company that it partnered with on the ChatterBait Freedom. For those who like to fish ChatterBaits like bass jigs, this could be a big new product.
They also have some other cool new products coming in the Bang StickZ and Texas Eye jighead, so keep an eye out for those.
Sufix also is putting out a new fluorocarbon line that I’m interested in trying out. The company said in a news release that it was “developed with a proprietary Gel Phase Technology process that produces the ultimate handling, performance and clarity essential to the most discerning anglers.” I’m not sure what half of that means, but I’ve been impressed in the past with the quality of Sufix’s braided lines and I wouldn’t be surprised if they hit it out of the park with this one, as well.
VMC is introducing a new treble hook for modifying crankbaits and other lures that I think will interest some people. This new Mike Iaconelli-approved concept is a swivel and blade combination securely nested and enclosed on a VMC hybrid treble with a powerful epoxy resin. On the split-ring, the willow-leaf trailer can rotate 360 degrees, so a bait’s built-in action can make it kick out in any direction.
“That little extra flash in that bait is a triggering mechanism,” Iaconelli said in a news release. “Every type of baitfish I know of, if it’s a forager swimming in the water, guess what? It flashes.”
Finally, the dark horse of all of the products I’ve had a chance to check out ahead of time is a new fishing accessory from Luhr-Jensen.
The Coyote Cyclone Flasher is a new patent-pending design that is made for trolling applications. It’s a wild-looking little contraption that may strike some as a bit gimmicky, but also could turn out to be a pretty cool little deal.
The company explained how it works in a news release.
“The center ‘cyclone’ blades on this flasher rotate independently, adding a strobing flash and vibration while the Coyote Flasher rolls in a wide elliptical pattern, imparting fish attracting flash and motion within a big water trolling application,” it said. “Built with a kick fin to keep the flasher rolling over a wide range of speeds, the new Coyote Cyclone Flasher is available in 11 color patterns, including UV Bright colors and glow moon jelly patterns. The product comes in two sizes.”
I’ll be interested in seeing more about how this works and if it could be used from the shore, as well.
Other old favorites will see new colors, sizes and weights introduced at ICAST, including:
• Bigger sizes for Z-Man’s DieZel Minnow, ShroomZ jigheads and the new Giant TRD, which will run 6 inches long. Nine new color patterns for the soft plastic baits also will be unveiled.
• Rapala’s BX Brat and Rippin’ Rap will get new color patterns.
• Terminator’s Shuddering Bait jigs will get five new colors hand-picked by pro angler Ott DeFoe.
• The Storm 360 GT Searchbait and 360 GT Searchbait Swimmer will come in both larger and smaller sizes.
• Rapala’s Shad Dancer will come in a larger, deeper-diving size.
• Rapala’s Slab Rap will come in bigger and heavier sizes.
• Blue Fox’s Candyback spinner is coming in new sizes.
More about the convention
The voting process begins Tuesday evening for the “Best of Category” and “Best of Show” awards and continues Wednesday as part of the New Product Showcase Preview Reception, which includes 29 product categories. Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope earned Best of Show and was the top product in the Electronics category in 2018. Other notable award winners from last year include the Shimano Curado DC for Best Freshwater Reel, Westin’s Freddy the Frog for Best Freshwater Hard Lure, Rapala’s VMC Neko Skirt for Best Terminal Tackle, St. Croix Rods Legend Glass for Best Freshwater Rod, Power Pro SuperSlick V2 Braid as Best Fishing Line and Lew’s Team let’s Custom Black LFS Combo for Best Rod and Reel Combo.
Exhibitor news conferences are set to take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center, with lure tank demonstrations Wednesday through Friday. Those in attendance Wednesday will have a chance to see Jenko Fishing, Yo-Zuri, Matzuo and a variety of other bait companies. Thursday’s tank demonstrations will include Big Bite Baits at 10 a.m., Missile Baits LLC at 11, Bill Lewis at 1:30 p.m. and South Bend at 2 p.m., among others. Friday will finish up with Headbanger Lures at 11 a.m. and Lunkerhunt at 1 p.m. New this year is the ICASTing Pond, a large indoor swimming pool that allows exhibitors to showcase their baits, rods, reels and more without leaving the show floor.
A State of the Industry Breakfast also will take place Wednesday morning.
For more information on ICAST 2019, go to https://www.icastfishing.org/ or follow along at home on the convention’s numerous social media accounts, which are listed on the website.