ICast Day 1: Trend of the Day

As Day 1 of ICAST comes to a close, the big story is the G.Loomis/Shimano team cleaning up at the annual awards ceremony taking home six awards, including Best Saltwater Reel (Shimano Trinidad A), Best Freshwater Reel (Shimano Sella FE), Best Saltwater Rod (Shimano Terez) and Best Hardbait Lure (Shimano Waxwing). The new game-changing, impossibly lightweight G.Loomis NRX rod won both the Best Freshwater Rod category and the overall Best of Show award.

Pictured Right: This microscopic line guide is the one nearest the reel seat on this e21 Carrot Stix baiticasting rod.

Awards and accolades aside, the innovation that caught my eye more than any other on the show floor today is the advent of the use of micro-guides on numerous baitcasting rods. These tiny line guides, measuring roughly a millimeter or two in diameter and running the length of the blank, are utilized on no fewer than a half-dozen brand new rods this year. They first showed up without much celebration last year, but their proliferation across the industry was all the buzz at ICAST 2010 on the show's first day.

While I personally haven't had the opportunity to fish with a rod sporting the blank-long diminutive eyelets yet, everyone that has says that they bring a lot to the game. Supposedly they increase sensitivity, as the line is in more constant contact with the guides during the retrieve. To me, sensitivity has always been a product of my finger's contact with the portion of exposed blank near the reel seat. But given the technologically advanced construction of blanks these days, apparently sensitivity is also now accomplished through line-to-guide contact. Micro-guides are also purported to improve both casting distance and accuracy as they lay the line out with increased precision. While, for this fisherman, the jury is still out, these micro guides are winning over many anglers across the fishing universe. --John Taranto