Best of ICAST

The 2015 show had what every angler is looking for: great new stuff to buy.

For avid anglers, the ICAST fishing equipment show is the equivalent of a kid touring Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. It’s an industry-only convention, so consumers can’t get in, but take our word for it, 2016 is going to be a great year for fishing gear makeover. The first place the Boating World entourage cast its glance was the new Product Showcase, where we were able to get our hands on all the latest innovations and vote for the ones we liked best. Here are the winners.

HELIX7 SI_GPS_rightBEST ELECTRONICS From Johnson Outdoors comes the Humminbird Helix 7 SI, a 7-inch screen with a 16:9 widescreen format that’s perfect for going split screen. It features both Side Imaging and Down Imaging, delivering a near-photographic depiction of what’s down under. SwitchFire sonar cleans up the return in challenging water conditions, with Clear Mode; Max Mode delivers minute details, such as your lure’s presentation. It’s AutoChart Live-ready, which means you can make custom charts of your home waters in real time. A single micro-SD card slot accommodates Humminbird LakeMaster as well as Navionics Gold/ HotMaps. $350-$700, humminbird.com

rr_lmbassFISHSMART
FishSmart is a program that promotes fishing conservation, and products such as the Largemouth Bass Release Ruler — this year’s winner — are designed to help the conservation effort by enabling anglers to accurately estimate the weight of their trophy, so it can be released unharmed. The Release Ruler is based on scientific growth charts and is color coded for easy reading. Many popular gamefish species have their own Release Ruler, and the rulers are especially useful for larger species such as tarpon or marlin, which can be accurately “weighed” while they’re in the water. $16+, releaseruler.com

Eddyline C-135 YakAttackBEST OF SHOW
For two years in a row, the overall winner has been a kayak from the boat category, and this year’s champ was the Eddyline C-135 YakAttack Edition. What makes this sit-on-top kayak stand out from the crowd is that it is thermoformed instead of rotomolded, like almost all other hard kayaks. The striking difference is noticeable in the beautiful high-gloss finish, which resembles gelcoat on a boat. But its beauty is more than hull deep, with features such as the Cloud 10 Seating System, which offers four seating positions and can be flipped up to allow the angler to stand. It can also accept a variety of trolling motors, stakeout poles and aftermarket accessories. $2,599, eddyline.comPENN CLASH

BEST SALTWATER REEL
The Penn Clash spinning reel features a full-metal aluminum body and sideplate, a precision aluminum/brass main gear and brass pinion that are machined for exact tolerances, and eight-plus-one sealed ball bearings. This thing is incredibly smooth. The smaller Clash models have a carbon rotor, while the larger ones have an aluminum rotor. The Leveline slow oscillation system produces tight, near-perfect line lay for improved casting and reduces the likelihood of wind knots forming. $180+, pennfishing.com

Stradic FK C3000HG

BEST FRESHWATER
The Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reels use Shimano’s latest technologies, including the Hagane reel design concept, which includes a metal body with extreme rigidity. The X-Ship gearing system is as smooth as anything I’ve tried, which is in part due to a drive gear that’s cold forged for better precision and durability. The Propulsion Line Management has a spool shape that reduces backlash and wind knots, while the Power Roller’s grooved design reduces line twist by up to 50 percent. $200+, shimano.com

 

SqsVVhdJsbyBjSLJpxk6S1u9EoU8A3dtSGC0Ha1Hmm5EGNcb-RW7yR3B3hioBo2YHZPb7g=s190TECHNICAL APPAREL
The Aegis Lifeshirt looks and wears like a stylish shirt, and it’s a personal fl otation device that fashion-conscious people will actually wear. Lifeshirt will save you from drowning and protect you from harmful sunrays thanks to its maximum UV rating. Its high-tech fabric wicks moisture away from the skin and has the potential to measure your activity levels by integrating fi tness trackers. $150, lifeshirt.com

RinseKit-Fishing-Reel-1500

BEST FISHING ACCESSORY
The RinseKit is a pressurized portable shower that uses no batteries or pumps. Just connect the quick-connect fitting to a garden-hose spigot, and in 20 seconds it’s ready to go. With a two-gallon capacity, it will provide a steady stream of water for four minutes with no diminishment of flow. Use it for quick showers after waterski runs or to hose off feet before after-beach boarding. Anglers will love the convenience of quickly rinsing their hands after handling fish or bait and still having enough pressure left over for a quick rod-and-reel bath. $90, rinsekit.com

THE REST OF THE BEST

• FRESHWATER ROD G. Loomis Inc. E6X Bass, gloomis.com
• SALTWATER ROD St. Croix Rods Avid Inshore, stcroixrods.com
• FLY FISHING ROD St. Croix Rods Mojo Bass Fly, stcroixrods.com
• FLY REEL Pure Fishing Inc. New Pfl ueger Medalist Fly Reel, pfluegerfishing.com
• HARD LURE Savage Gear Hard Shrimp, savagegear.com
• SOFT LURE Koppers Fishing LiveTarget Hollow Body Sunfish, livetargetlures.com
• LIFESTYLE APPAREL Under Armour Storm Covert Pant, underarmour.com
• BOATING ACCESSORIES Yeti Coolers Hopper 20, yeticoolers.com
• COMBO Lew’s Fishing Tackle Mach 1 Combo, lews.com
• EYEWEAR Costa Del Mar Rooster, costadelmar.com
• FLY FISHING ACCESSORY Simms Fishing Products G3 Guide Stockingfoot, simmsfishing.com
• FOOTWEAR Simms Fishing Products Current Shoes, simmsfishing.com
• GIFTWARE YOLOtek PowerStick, yolotech.com
• KIDS’ TACKLE Steinhauser Tangle-Free Combo, notangler.com
• LINE PowerPro Maxcuatro, powerpro.com
• TACKLE MANAGEMENT Eposeidon KastKing Rack ’em Up Rod Racks, eposeidon.com
• TERMINAL TACKLE Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Fillet Knife, eagleclaw.com

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