I just got back from the American Sportfishing Association ICAST show in Vegas (www.asafishing.org
) and all I can say is I hope what happens in Vegas...makes it to my tackle box! This was the 50th annual show and it was amazing. 1230+ booths showing 392 vendors - all sportfishing tackle. The show is not open to the public, but I got in on a press pass (I knew there was a reason I get up at 4:00am on Saturdays to do a radio show!). Its where all the manufacturers and retailers get together to buy all the stuff that you'll see on store shelves shortly. Its also where the Who's Who in fishing get together and I was star struck. The list of folks I met include Bill Dance, Hank Parker, Fish Fishbourne, Ray Scott, Jose Wejebe, Ron Shearer, Al Lindner, Doug Stange, Cindy Garrison, Chris Fischer, Jay Kumar...on and on. The best part is that they are all very relaxed since its an industry show. Very cool...but not as cool as all the tackle.
The show features a new product showcase where each vendor can submit a product in several categories (freshwater rod, saltwater rod, accesories, reels, lines, etc) to be judged by the industry. The biggest winners were Shimano and Berkley (3 categories each). The new Stradic spinning reel is awesome and I've been field testing the new Berkley Gulp! Alive for a while with great results. Both won their categories. The new Stren Microfuse looks promising as well and it won its category. The overall "Best in Show" went to a a new company called E21 with a rod made out of carrots (no joke...garden variety carrots made into fibers said to feel like fiberglass but much lighter). I'll stick with my graphite St. Croixs, thanks. One vendor had 500# flourocarbon leader material he said was for great white sharks and the like. I tried to tie a palomar and needed big pliers to even slightly cinch the knot. A big trend was stuff for the ladies. Lots of pinks rods with small handles, girlish clothes, and trendy tackle boxes. The other trend, and one I am intigued with is the swimbaits. There were tons of swim baits that looked and swam so real it was amazing. Some of them will see action in my near future.
I could go on and on but I'll spare you. Bottom line; the fishing industry is full of great folks and pioneers and I'm glad I got to experience it. Look for tons of new stuff at you local Sportsman's Warehouse soon. CL