This year, we had the opportunity to join ICAST 2019, the world’s largest tackle trade show, joining over 600 companies and 15,000 attendees at the convention. But we weren’t just showing off our favorite floating sunglasses, we got an inside look at the latest tech, accessories and lifestyle products changing the sport fishing world.
Take a look at some of our favorite products and the big winners from ICAST 2019 below.
Best Fishing Lifestyle — Garmin Force Trolling Motor
Winning both Best in Show based on the most votes and Best in Category, Garmin was a big hit at the convention. This motor integrates GSP and “smart motors” so it’s easy for fishermen to fix their location with the hit of a button. While not inexpensive, the motor comes with lots of perks. It’s quieter, more efficient, built-to-last and available with 50” and 57” shafts. Like other Garmin motors, this one till connects wirelessly to Garmin GPS systems and can pull a bass boat at up to 5 mph.
Best Kayak Accessory — Hobie Mirage 360 Angler
Predictably, kayaks were everywhere. But we weren’t surprised when it was announced that the Hobie Mirage 360 Angler was taking the trophy for Best Kayak Accessory. It’s a stand-out product that rethinks the way you steer your kayak. And in fact, lets you leave your paddles home entirely. Soon, you can use a pedal-power device that instantly lets you steer a kayak in any direction — just as if it had a trolling motor on the bow. You can even use this new system in heavy cover and in shallow water.
Best Freshwater Reel — Shimano SLX DC Baitcasting Reel
Technology, meet fishing reels. Shimano presented a new braking system that’s made for just about everyone. Designed specifically for flexibility, the SLX DC Baitcasting Reel works for left and right-hand retrieve. Computer driven to reduce human error and eliminate distortion, this reel is made of solid steel for long-lasting durability and protects vital gears. And yes, we’re already dreaming about how smooth and simple it will be to fish with this new reel.
Best Saltwater Reel — Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel
It’s no surprise to us that Shimano dominated for both saltwater and freshwater fishing gear. The company is known for its leading designs and innovations and at ICAST 2019, they didn’t disappoint. This reel now has a tougher gear system that enhances rotational smoothness and power transfer. The new design of the long-stroke spool helps increase casting reach for an overall better fishing experience.
Best Saltwater Hard Lure — LiveTarget Flutter Sardine
LiveTarget hooked us with their new lifelike sardine bait that looks like it just jumped out of the water. Using injected core technology, the bait is encased with a strong, clear “exoskeleton” built to last for years. Made for any type of water, the dynamic slow-falling bait will definitely help you reach new personal bests.
Best Cutlery Hand Pliers & Tools — Bubba 110V Electric Fillet Knife
We loved the function and beauty of this fillet knife — and we promise it wasn’t because the Bubba team fed us raw tuna and red snapper ceviche everyday. It may seem like a simple knife, but what Bubba’s delivered is a highly-engineered tool for every fisherman. With this, you won’t need to rely on anything else to fillet your fish. It easily fits in your hand, makes a sharp, clean cut and is simply the best on the market.
Our Honorable Mentions
While Sea Ulcer didn’t take away any awards at ICAST 2019, they absolutely impressed us with the way they’re rethinking fishing. Imagine not needing a boat or even experience to start catching tuna, mackerel and more. Using drones, Sea Ulcer is making it possible.
The Fishbrain App
When we saw there was an app specifically to connect fishermen and talk about fishing, we downloaded it. With Fishbrain you can share photos of your latest catches, log your personal records, plan trips, see the best spots and get insider secrets from other anglers. Have we already started posting? Yes. Have we saved every fishing hot spot in South Carolina? Yes. We’re obsessed and love that there’s finally a place to nerd out about baits and gear.
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Not all sunglasses are created equal — especially when it comes to fly fishing. Read the guide to find the best lenses and fit for your fly fishing trip.