ICAST, the world's largest sportfishing trade show, is always such a fun event. Not only do you get to see the latest and greatest in all of fishing, you get to hang out with your friends and have a chance to meet some of the legends you usually only get to see on TV.
This year the show was a little different than in years past. The International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show, which had been housed inside of ICAST for a number of years, decided to part ways this year. As the DUN staff headed to the "No Fly Zone", we were very excited to see who would be at the show, and if we would find any new gear to bring to our fly audience.
ICAST is well-known as the place that the largest brands in fishing flex their muscles and show off the newest and best they have to offer. That part of the show is always a little mesmerizing, but for us, what makes the show stand out are the small booths around the outside, filled with tons of products we’ve never seen before. There is a lot of the ICAST side that doesn't apply to us as fly anglers, but more often than not, we walk away with some products that really get us excited. Here are some of the finds we can’t wait for you to get your hands on.
Not Another Yeti
When Yeti released the first soft-sided cooler, there were many in our office that just shook their heads. But, after using them, and even running one over with a drift boat trailer and a truck, we were convinced and now love them. Someone at the office is always grabbing one for a trip to the lake or any other event they may be having. They've become a staple in our office now, but one constant complaint about the coolers is the zipper. The zipper first moved from the top to the side (which was a great improvement that helped with the zipper "jaws" tearing up our hands). Now, they've made it even better. With the latest editon, Yeti has removed the zipper completely (YEAH!). Instead they use a large strong magnet that runs the length of the cooler to seal it! We can’t wait to get one of these for our fleet when they become available later this year. If you’ve been doubting your need for a soft-sided cooler, your wait has paid off. Now is the time to get one.
Something is FisheWear in the State of Xtratuf
We heard some rumblings earlier this year about a collab between Fishe and Xtratuf, so with anticipation one of our first stops at ICAST was the Xtratuf booth. And .. there they were! Rolled down with the Groovy Grayling pattern, Xtratuf has for the first time made a BLACK boot which looks fantastic with the Fishe grayling pattern! It was love at first sight! And if that wasn't enough, while we love the boots, what really caught our eye was the Sharkbyte sneaker with the same Groovy Grayling pattern. This shoe looks like the perfect boat and around town must have!
TFO Seals It Up
The new BVK SD reel from TFO is more than just a simple redesign. They have updated every aspect of this reel starting with the new sealed drag, which allows you to use this reel in saltwater and reduces the maintenance needed to keep the drag working smoothly. This machined and anodized aluminum reel is light in the hand, and the best part is that TFO has kept the reel the SAME price as the original version of the reel. Look for this coming soon to a TFO dealer near you.
Toadfish Sucks It In
One of the best things about ICAST is taking the time to slowly walk through the show floor. There is so much to see that even when you walk slowly, you still feel like you've missed things. Every year we find creative and unexpected, truly amazing products. The Toadffish Sucker literally stopped us dead in our tracks. This can cooler will not only keep your beverage cold on the warmest days, it also stays put no matter where you place it. No longer do you have to worry about dog tails, waves, or your friend Brandon, knocking over your drink. Set the Sucker down and don't worry.
Casio Keeps You on Track
Casio has taken the smart watch to the next level by integrating Google's Wear OS into this sophisticated watch. Not only can you make calls, see texts, and do all of your day-to-day tasks with this watch, you can also use a full color version of Google Maps for directions to your next favorite fishing spot. And, if where you're going doesn't have cell service, don't worry. The 4GB internal stoarge allows you to store your maps on your wrist. The built in compass, barometer, and altimeter are also great tools to have at the touch of a button. You can now easily track your adventure so you will always know how to get back to that secret spot you just found. You can also install custom apps from the Google Play store, like Fishbrain, so you can get even more out of the watch. It's like fishing in the future.
St. Croix Hammered It Home
Despite the split between ICAST and IFTD, there were a lot of great fly fishing specific products at the show. St. Croix introduced a saltwater version of their beloved Imperial line of rods. This rod is designed to deliver a lot of line quickly and National Sales Manager Dan Johnston definitely wowed onlookers at the ICAST's On The Water event by dumping the entire fly line with one false cast. The soft blue with a matte finish is a winner for us on the looks end and the engineering team used their knowledge of graphite and pattern making to put the stiffness where it needs to be to generate line speed effortlessly. This rod won Best Fly Fishing Rod at the show and we absolutely agree. Look for this rod at a St. Croix dealer near you.