The seven million square foot Orlando Exhibition Hall full of fishing baits, gear and accessories at ICAST is like Disney World for fishermen. Nearly 1,000 manufacturers and businesses displayed everything you can think of at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades annual show there July 21-23. Picking favorites is almost impossible, but here are a few things that hooked this writer:
This amazingly lifelike bass fishing lure was voted 2021 Best In Show. The soft bluegill shaped lure infused with PowerBait flavor could pass as a real live swimming bream or it can be retrieved to perfectly mimic a wounded baitfish. It’s the first bait to ever win Best of Show, which is a pretty big accomplishment. That is usually taken by electronics, rods or reels. Gilly’s will be available in September in six standard and six HD colors in three sizes (90mm, 110mm and 130mm), selling for $6.49 -$7.49.
This iconic reel brings back memories. The silver Ambassadeur 5000 was many bass anglers first open baitcasting reel. This reel continues the 100 year-old tradition of success. It’s not flashy or made of space age components, but it’s a positive move back to the future and sure to be a hit with fishermen and collectors.
Prairieville, La., based Buzbe created a buzz with a new soft-sided tackle storage line, so new that only prototypes were available at ICAST. Plastic windows on the boxes are a clear plus to add to their modular tackle management line. They’ll be available in late fall.
Another celebration of longevity — 75 years for the old Broom & Mop Company — this new rod and reel combo with diamond shapes and gold colors is almost too good looking to fish with. It’s light, powerful and the extended grip that allows comfort for a long day of single poling shows why B’n’M continues to be the No.1 crappie pole company in the world. The balance and feel of the gear is thump on.
Go small or go home seems to be a crappie lure theme and this 1.25-inch plastic recommended for 1/64 and 1/32 jig heads in all the popular Garland colors will slay some slabs.
It’s an all natural product that repels everything from no-see-ums to mosquitoes, ticks and flies. And an itch reliever for spots that you might miss and get bit. It really works. And what outdoors lover doesn’t need that?
Lowly Catfish don’t get much respect at this high brow show, but Baton Rouge based H&H is offering a new floating catfishing system that is so well designed, easy and economical, why would anybody want to make homemade rigs any more?
This year’s new innovation with Road Runner type lures has a ringed body with a flaired tail to double vibration and create more sound. The TTI Blakemore lure runs smooth in the water, too.
The heat of summer was a great time to release hydration power stick packs. Great tasting, easy to pack and ready to mix in a bottle of water in sugar free Energy, Focus, Immune and Recovery blends.
Crappie baits galore here, but it was a little chunk of lead that caught me eye. It slips on your line like a slip cork, twists to lock into place and slides down your line to knock a hung up jig off a stump and save you $3 every time. Nice.
Angling apparel is a hot new part of the outdoor market. None is more attractive, durable or “in” than the Honey Hole line, another Louisiana company from West Monroe. There’s a fishing cap for every day of the year if you want.
A small application of this gave my achy knees relief in less than 10 minutes. Cannabinoid based cream is controversial, but CBD comes from hemp, not marijuana. If you are an achy outdoorsman, it does help a lot of people. I’m not sure it will relieve the stress of not catching fish, though.
More details on all these products are available from their manufacturers online.