ICAST 2002: New Products for 2003
July 17-19, 2002 - 45th Annual Expo -
International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades - Las
What is ICAST? The annual International
Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, or ICAST is nearly
5,000 key industry insiders who gathered in Las Vegas on July
17-19 to see 330 member exhibits of fishing tackle products,
particularly new products for 2002-03.
Not open to the public, ICAST is exclusively for
tackle buyers, sellers, manufacturers, manufacturers reps, the
sportfishing media and industry insiders only.
Most of all, ICAST is a once-a-year chance
for the industry's key players to meet, mingle, make deals,
strike alliances over lunch, nervously watch what their
competitors are coming out with next. ICAST is an opportunity for
buyers and sellers to make new or renew acquaintances and to size
each other up as potential partners for the coming business
Almost 1,000 booths lined the aisles at ICAST
this year. Almost every fishing product in the industry was there
to examine, to handle, and discuss complete product lines with
special emphasis on what's new for 2003 in rods, reels, lines,
lures, hooks, terminal tackle, fishing apparel, tackle bags,
fishing electronics and accessories.
Excitement and expectation are always in
the air at ICAST. There's no such thing as "taking a
break" or walking down an aisle without business men and
business opportunities tapping you on the shoulder at every turn.
Even going to the parking lot or the men's room is an opportunity
to unexpectedly meet with someone you definitely wanted to meet.
And if you don't take that ad hoc instant to stop and talk
business, then you probably will not bump into them again for the
rest of the show - or the rest of the year. ICAST is like that.
It is very much a political show, and it's certainly the most
important and productive three days in our industry each year.
Trends in the industry for 2003 can be spotted by
the astute at ICAST. Larger topwaters, the Yamamoto Senko is a
trend spawning many imitations, blood red hooks, extra wide gap
hooks for bulky soft plastics, hooks for wacky and dropshot
fishing. Polymer fishing line formulations are a trend, and more
ball bearings and tighter tolerances in reels. The trend in rods
for 2003 may well be Sirrus, a new company that won the Best of
Show Award in the fishing rod category. Another trend that can be
spotted in many booths is the pervasive spread of private label
softbaits, hardbaits, hooks, rods and reels from a small handful
of manufacturing plants overseas.
Below is a photo story of my ICAST odyssey,
featuring a few of the people and products I was glad to see in
Vegas this year. It certainly isn't the whole story nor is it a
complete list of new product announcements for 2003. It's simply
a tale of three whirlwind days of non-stop fishing business in
I am sure you will read much more journalistic
and complete accounts of ICAST new product announcements in many
major fishing publications in coming months. For now, please join
me on a journey into ICAST that begins below.
In order to bring the industry up to date with
new advancements since last year's ICAST show, two new
high-quality Gary Yamamoto Dropshot
Spinning Rods were announced to the fishing industry.
Designed for dropshot and other medium/light use with 4 to 8 lb.
test line, both utilize custom-made 6-foot 6-inch one-piece
100-percent graphite rod blanks, seven high-quality Fuji Silicon
Carbide Concept guides, plus matching tiptops. The 9-inch handle
model is primarily for dropshotting, deep vertical fishing, and
working lures that require wrist action. The longer 12-inch
handle allows for two-handed distance casting accuracy. In
picking a firm that would have the ability to best manufacture
his new rod designs, Gary Yamamoto chose to work closely with
sports product engineer Ken Whiting, president of Sirrus
Rods, and winner of this year's Best of
Show New Product Award in the fishing rod category.
The important area from the butt end of the
Yamamoto dropshot rod up to the first guide is designed to
provide power for unsurpassed fightability. Hooksetting flexure
is configured within the middle area of the blank, and more
guides than normal in the rod's middle area aid in an increase of
hooking power. The upper rod tip area is designed primarily for
unsurpassed sensitive feel. The tip area is micro-tuned to help
an angler sense accurate lure motion, interpret bottom feedback,
and detect even the most subtle presence of a fish. Click here
for press release on two new dropshot rods.
In soft plastics, it was Yamamoto's surprise
announcement of 5-inch 9-Series CoreShot
Senkos for 2003 that attracted most interest among
buyers. CoreShot Senkos feature one soft plastic color shot
straight through the core of a second complimentary color,
creating a two-tone tail tip effect.
Additionally, Yamamoto announced the new 5-inch 7L-series Cut Tail Worm in 13
colors. The 7L Cut Tail is a larger-size finesse worm ideal for
dropshotting, on a darter jig head, or for shaking with a loose
sinker and bead to create a clicking noise. Click here for press release on the 7L Cut Tail Worm.
The Yamamoto Senko has shrunk since last year's
ICAST show with the new 9B-Series Slim
Senko and new 9C-Series Fat
Senko. Both hit the tape at three inches and come in
15 colors. Click here for press releases on the 9B 3-inch Slim Senko and 9C 3-inch Fat Senko.
Four new saltwater tough
models of 5- and 6-inch single- and double-tail grubs
for inshore gamefish drew the eye of ICAST coastal buyers. Click
here for press release on Yamamoto's Saltwater Bait Series.
Cassidy (right) of Western Plastics got reacquainted at the
show with good friends Larry Evans (left) marketing
director and Ken Sasaki (middle) president of Yamamoto.
The jacket hanging in the back is by Bass
River of Schaumberg, Illinois. Part of a new line of Yamamoto fishing clothing
for 2003 including flight jackets and flight pants for those cold
morning runs and wet boat rides. There's a professional
tournament style fishing vest, plus other stylish and practical
new Yamamoto fishing clothing items. Contact Bass River at (847)
301-7350 for all your fishing clothing needs, whether an
individual pro, fishing club, tournament organization, tackle or
At ICAST, Yamamoto also announced two new tube bait colors,
translucent pearl white and watermelon with purple and gold.
Ken Whiting of Sirrus Rods won Best of Show New Product Award in the fishing
rod category for his new Co-MATRiX Filament Wound line
of rods, which utilize a new and proprietary process. The new
technology incorporates the use of Multi Modulus fabrication with
a proprietary filament winding process The virgin graphite rod
blanks are strategically fabricated from IM6, IM7& IM8 pre-pregs
which affords the Multi Modulus configuration in each blank. The
addition of the filament wound butt section, which extends from
the butt to the first guide on all rods, may be typified as a
"Power Butt", in as much as its combined modulus may
exceed 83,000,000. Not only are these rods built with the latest
new technology, but each Sirrus rod has fantastic eye appeal and
elegance built into every rod. Sirrus is truly a new company to
watch (and a hot new stick to fish with) in 2003!
I was honored to run into Wild Bill Skinner,
the legendary Mexican bass fisherman and trip booking agent for
practically every lake and lodge south of the border. For the
past 34 years, Wild Bill has helped his clients haul incredible
sizes and quantities of bass out of every lake Mexico has to
offer, and Bill knows the weather, the seasons, the patterns and
the temperaments of each location like the back of his
weather-beaten hand. Co-owner of Trophy Bass Lodge on Lake Huites,
Bill was proud to say they're putting up a new lodge there for
2003 with room for 18 and 9 new bass boats. Bill has probably
caught (and put his clients onto) more ten pound bass than anyone
on the planet.
Taking in the ICAST scene were Western tournament
legend and Team Yamamoto pro Gary Dobyns (left) who has
won 30 bass boats in tournament competition, and Mark Mendez
(middle), owner of U.S. Angler's Choice Tournament Trail, Bass
West magazine and Competitive Edge Fishing products. Partnership
plans were discussed for U.S. Angler's Choice to host an exciting
new "Yamamoto Tour Tournament
Series" with events to be held in in Northern
California, Alabama and other locations.
Two guys you should never put this close together
unless you want a spontaneous combustion of fishing jokes and too
tall fishing tales are Ray Scott (right) and the Dozer.
In the late sixties, Ray Scott had a dream and
began to build the sport of bass fishing, establishing
competitive fishing tournaments which would honor and recognize
the best bass anglers in the country, attract media attention and
consequently build our sport. This led to Ray's founding of the
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.). Indirectly, Ray
Scott's dream led to the entire bass fishing industry as we know
it today. Ray, thank you.
Gary Yamamoto Custom Bait's president Ken
Sasaki meets with good friend and Team Yamamoto pro Roland
Martin, one of the most recognizable and legendary figures in
the professional bass fishing sport. On the screen, Roland's TV
career spans nearly three decades, and Martin holds the records
for most Bassmaster tournaments won at 19 and most B.A.S.S.
Angler-of-the-Year titles at nine. In addition, he will be making
his 25th appearance in bass fishing's world championship event,
the BASS Masters Classic along with Gary Yamamoto this week on
Lay Lake, Alabama.
B.A.S.S./ESPN Outdoors senior writers Louie
Stout (right) and Ed Spencer (not shown) both stopped
by to make new acquaintances and inquire as to new products.
Louie is a senior writer for Bassmaster
magazine, BASS Times, and Fishing Tackle Retailer.
Ed Spencer is also a senior writer for Fishing Tackle Retailer.
Gentlemen both, look forward to their in-depth
coverage of the ICAST show in upcoming issues of these fine
B.A.S.S./ESPN fishing publications.
I enjoyed meeting Lee Bailey, Jr. (left),
the founder of the Foxwoods Bass Challenge Tour, the largest and
most prestigious tournament trail in the Northeast. Lee recently
reacquired the Cavitron company, and has re-released the Cavitron Buzzbait in three sizes
(1/8, 1/4, 3/8 oz) and five colors. Newly-improved, it sports a
patented body shape and high-quality Gamakatsu hook. A special
"oxbow" bend in the wire reduces missed strikes by
suspending the Cavitron body deeper in the water. Holes in the
gold anodized blades create tremendous bubbles and an enticingly
With tournaments often decided by the difference
of one fish, it's a little-known fact that top pros regularly use
fish attractants (although they do not always publicize it). It
took a good guy like Bobby Uhrig (above right) to finally
let the secret out about Megastrike Fish
Attractant. Formerly available only at tournaments to
pros since 1994, it is the first and only artificial bait
enhancer to come with a 100% money back guarantee that states,
"If you think Megastrike Fish Attractant did not help you
catch more fish, we will return your purchase price. No questions
asked." Based on a formula using amino acids, fatty acids,
proteins and other ingredients, MegaStrike comes in a thick gel
form that doesn't wash off easily.
Las Vegas with it's gambling casinos was the
perfect setting for High Rollers and long-time acquaintances Darcy
Ellis (right), Skip Collins (not shown) and Terry
Jertberg (not shown). Having been raised on wood plugs as we
used to call them, I feel it's unfortunate that many anglers
today have never used a wood lure and do not know the difference
in buoyancy of wood over plastic, or the special feeling of
catching big bass on wood. High Roller offers you a high-quality
wood fishing experience that's an alternative to the plastic
lures being mass manufactured today.
New this year are super sharp premium Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap Trebles on
all High Rollers.
Shown at right is the 2.75" PopRoller
topwater popper in the new Perch color
pattern, the 3.25" RipRoller propbait in the
sought-after Bone pattern (middle), the 3.25" Original High
Roller walking topwater in the Fire Tiger pattern. As you see,
all finishes are diamond-dusted, and all metal hardware is
Crony T.J. Stallings of Daiichi rocked me
with two new hook models. First, a new Daiichi
Bleeding Bait Wacky Hook for fishing fat-bodied soft
plastic wacky worms like 5-, 6-, and 7-inch Senkos. This hook is
definitely s-t-o-u-t, and absolutely perfect for all big bass
hunters using big baits and heavy line. Second, a new Daiichi Bleeding Bait FATGap Hook
designed to allow anglers to "skin hook" Senkos, soft
plastic jerkbaits and tubebaits for better hooksets. At first
blush, the new Bleeding Bait FATGap hook seems to me it is made
of medium grade hook wire that's ideal for mid-duty applications
and sweepsets where a heavy wire hook would be too much. In other
words, it's just swell for average-sized bass and tackle!
My friends tall Dan Johnson (left) senior
editor and Kurt Beckstrom (right) editor of North
American Fisherman magazine were really impressed and excited
at all the new products at ICAST. Look for their comprehensive
new product coverage of ICAST in the upcoming October/November
issue of North American Fisherman. Dan Johnson says
although a multi-species fishing magazine, reader surveys show
bass are number one in interest to their readers.
Devereaux (right), owner of the Bass Tubs of Oklahoma outdoor
shows, and Steve Price (second right), one of the world's
most prestigious and prolific bass fishing writers discuss
Yamamoto's new 7F-Series Flat Tail Worm
with Larry Evans (left) and Ken Sasaki (second
left) of Yamamoto.
Most other baits used to dropshot today were
originally designed for some other use before dropshotting
arrived on the scene. However, the new 4-inch 7F-Series Flat Tail
has been designed solely for the specialized requirements of
light line dropshot fishing. The 7F will become available in fall
I spent time to review the new Owner Wide Gap PLUS Hook with young
friend Tony Shitanishi of Owner. This new offset shank
hook has a bait-holding Z-Lock shoulder bend, and one of the
widest gaps I have ever seen for extra beefy oversize soft
plastics and tube baits. The hook point is elevated above the
eye, and the deep keel bend appears that it will rotate inside
the mouth, ensuring a good hookset.
A second swell surprise was Owner
Mosquito Hooks now in red. I often use Owner Mosquito
Hooks to wacky rig or nose hook bigger weightless baits, or to
dropshot bigger baits, and I definitely intend to use the
new red Owner Mosquitos with my bigger wacky and dropshot baits
as soon as possible. Thank you, Tony!
Cyrille Mathieu of VMC introduced me and
everyone else at ICAST to the new VMC Fastgrip
Point Model 7311 extra wide gap rigging hook. This
hook has three barbs beginning immediately on the point tip with
an auto-setting micro-barb that can barely be seen but catches
fish that would normally spit hooks, followed by a second
micro-barb, then a third locking barb back similar to what you
would normally expect. Made of extemely strong Vanadaium steel
with a sharply-bent Z-neck bend to prevent soft plastic baits
from sliding off the offset neck.
My good friend Garry Garland (right) of
Canyon Plastics and his brother Bobby released the first tube
bait for crappie in the late sixties. In the early seventies they
released the Gitzit, the first tube bait for bass. Then they
invented the first spider grub in 1974. Nowadays, almost every
soft bait company in the world makes versions of the Garland's
original crappie tubes, bass tubes and spider grubs.
Garry Garland is still leading innovation in bass
fishing almost thirty years later. He's designed a new jig head
with an 8/0 Gamakatsu hook for his 7-inch Tora Tube. Long a
secret killer of Western double-digit (ten pound plus) bass, the
Garland Tora Tube has become increasingly popular with the
younger group of Western pros in recent years, causing other lure
companies to create their own versions of the oversized Garland
Team Yamamoto pro and Bass Master Classic
contender Ron Colby (right) helped Ted Sakai
(middle) demonstrate Lucky Craft's five new product releases for
2002 and 2003.
First, the new Splash
Tail topwater propbait with fore and aft ball-bearing
propellers. Propbaits are relatively unused, bass don't get to
see them much. That's why I use them a lot. Second, a new much
larger version of G-Splash
popper. There is a trend in bass fishing today towards larger
poppers, and they do tend to result in larger bass. Third, the
new CB-001 super shallow
runner crankbait, which can leave a wake on the surface. Another
deadly yet relatively unseen lure action that I use a lot.
Fourth, the new Pointer 78-DD,
a deep-diving version of Lucky Craft's most productive lure of
all, the legendary Pointer 78 jerkbait. Fifth is the new concept
hard-bodied B-MH Minnow Buzzbait.
Friends Kentaro Hara (right) and Paul
Michele (left) of SPRO impressed buyers with several new hard
plastic baits added to SPRO's well-respected line. New
introductions from SPRO include shallow-running lipped
crankbaits, deep-diving lipped crankbaits, lipless crankbaits,
exciting new topwater models, plus new jerkbait minnow models.
Both the new shallow-running SPRO Fat
Crank and new deep-diving
SPRO DD Fat Crank crankbaits remind me in shape and
appearance of bluegills and other deep-bodied panfish, which are
staples in bass diets almost everywhere. I can't wait to add them
to the other fine SPRO hard baits in my tackle bag.
My amigo Ron Troyer of Thornwood Lures
took a booth at ICAST for the first time this year. He bedazzled
the industry with his hand-carved Baby
Bird lures. No gimmick here, these baits work wherever
birds build nests in trees, brush or man-made structure above
water. However, most buyers consider Ron's bird lures to be such
incredible works of art that many are put on display on mantles,
never seeing the water.
That's not the case with Ron's highly-productive
topwater poppers, inverted (upside down) poppers, propbaits, and
side-floating propbaits (for night fishing). New this year, Ron
announced his 4.5-inch Large Popper
(shown middle) weighing .725 oz. All Thornwood lures are
hand-made and feature premium Owner hooks.
To me, fishing Ron's creations add a rich
sweetness to any catch. These are special lures, and relatively
inexpensive. The kind that Dad or Granddad would cherish fishing
during the season, and display on the fireplace mantle in the den
until next season.
That's all for now folks. I hope you have enjoyed
making a trip to ICAST with me, and meeting just a few of the
many key players who help make the bass fishing industry tick.