Hot New Fishing Gear
The 2009 iCAST Show is now history. Here’s what we found after walking the show floor for three days searching...
Quality travel gear is a rare commodity. Some much so, nowadays, for me, a bag that survives more than two excursions qualifies as “rugged.” Enter the Yucatan Lite. Founded in 2006, OHO designs and crafts custom fishing gear that’s making a big splash. Billed as an “eco-friendly” option to lead-based PVC gear bags–the Yucatan is constructed of a polyurethane coated 450D rip stop fabric. The Yucatan is feather-light–while standing tough, ready for any rough and tumble aquatic travel assignment. Quality of construction abounds, with YKK water resistant zippers and precision seam sealing that keeps salt corrosion at arms length. Hard urethane wheels make long totes through crowded airports a breeze. Airline approved as a carry-on, the Yucatan will appeal to discerning anglers tired of disposal baggage. ($125; oldharboroutfitters.com; 203-540-5150)
Few lures have the posses the ability to be fished in varying conditions with success. The Prop LVR 80 is a hybrid , one that morphs top water, cranking and wake baits actions into one versatile enticer. The LVR 80 can be twitched, popped, slow rolled, or waked with each producing it’s own action. When twitched or popped, the single-bladed tail prop sputters erratically, leaving a bubble trail that will trigger both instinctive, as well, as feeding strikes. When worked like a jerk bait, the LVR is deadly over sharp outcropping and natural points. When shad compress and stage here, the LVR is at home being burned through the strike zone–triggering reaction strikes. With a diving depth of less than 1-foot and a weight of one ounce, the LVR can be cast long distances and waked back to the boat. As such, the LVR promises to be a great tournament search bait when fish become unresponsive to buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Design features include the treble hooks being spaced close together, resulting in a higher percentage of hook-ups. Available in seven fishing catching colors. ($17.99;luckycraft.com; 714-241-8484)
Keeping anything cold or frozen while on an excursion is nearly impossible. Ice chests are woefully incapable of standing toe-to-toe with the intense summer sun. The folks at Engel have introduced the MR040 freezer, a freezer that ensures you won’t experience a messy meltdown on your next outing. The MR040 has an ultra-efficient cooling system, one that operates on 12 or 24-volts, 110 volts AC and wind or solar generators. The MR040 has circuitry that recognizes the power source and switches to the appropriate electrical juice. A tough plastic outer shell keeps the MR040’s working parts safe and oblivious to salt corrosion. Thick, strategically placed rubber bumpers on the corners protect these vulnerable areas. The lid is conveniently reversible for easy access from either side, while a storage compartment under the lid stores spare cords and other must-have fishing essentials. The MR040 is perfect for boaters, campers, truckers or anyone who needs reliable cold storage. (engel-usa.com; $641;561-743-7419)
Kayak fishing has become extraordinarily popular recently. Their stealth approach, ease-of-maneuvering and down right cheap operational costs have turned many a fishermen’s head. Add to that they are just fun and a great way to stay fit. However, if you have ever tried to stand up in one, you know it’s a dicey affair at best. Freedom Hawk kayaks uses their patented easy-to-deploy outrigger system that keeps fishermen both dry and upright when standing up. The design is amazingly simple. The retractable outriggers stay neatly tucked into the hull while paddling, offering sleek performance. Once you’ve decided where to fish, simply pull a lever and the outriggers are deployed from the kayak’s aft end. These outriggers provide a solid fishing platform. Freedom Hawk kayaks can also be used for duck hunting, scuba diving, snorkeling, photography and any other number of outdoor activities. ($995; freedomhawkkayaks.com; 810-299-2768)
Ever lose a fish because your hook was dull? If you haven’t, make sure you play the lottery this weekend because you have a lucky horseshoe shoved into your back pocket. Dull hooks are single-handedly responsible for almost every fish that gets off. Eagle Claw, who has been making hooks for nearly eight years, looked to the medical industry to help design the new TroKar. TroKars are first mechanically ground on three sides, producing an amazingly sharp point. After which, the points are chemically sharpened to remove any imperfections or blurs. The result of this meticulous sharpening is a hook that required less than half the pressure to penetrate as other comparable hook brands. The TroKar is available in all the popular sizes and styles, including flipping, swimbait, drop shot, frog and worm. These sinfully sharp hooks are available in all popular sizes and are black chrome plated for durability. ($11.99 sizes and quantities vary; lazertrokar.com; 720-941-8777)
Crawfish “scoot” along the bottom when they travel, once stopped, they typically assume a defensive claws up posture. When fishing soft crawdad imitators on traditional set-ups, this claws up position is impossible to achieve. The Scooter Jighead has a unique articulating hook that allows a bait to be drug across the bottom, when stopped, the hinged hook allows the bait to stand up naturally. The result is a very lifelike presentation. Other benefits include fish being able to pick the bait up off the bottom easier and hold it longer because it collapses when ingested. Soft plastics penetrate cover easier (when flipping for instance) as bait slither through matted vegetation with ease on the hinged head. The articulating hook keeps fish buttoned longer as they are less apt to throw baits by leveraging a fixed jig head. ($5.99/2-pack; fishaccent.com; 636-519-4840)
Braid has become the staple of most fishermen. However, there simply isn’t a good way to cut it. Typically we find ourselves sawing through it with “braid scissors” and the cut looks like hair ball. The new Tri-Shear’s unique cutting action prevents braided lines, monos, or stranded cable from fraying when cut. These lines and cables stay in tact making tying on your favorite bait a cinch. The Tri-Shear is manufactured from one solid billet of aircraft quality 6061 aluminum and rust-resistant 303 stainless of all internal components. The Tri-Shear can handle the toughest of cutting jobs, including kevlar and spectra type line (to 200-pounds), mono (to 600-pounds) and stranded cable and wire (to 400-pounds.) ($79.95; steelmantools.com; 702-362-5084)
A day on the water with a cheap pair of sunglasses will leave you with a monumental headache. These underachievers ultimately cost you fish as they distort your vision with inferior lenses. The Zane, named after legendary oceanic explorer Zane Gray, is the newest addition to an already impressive Costa lineup. The Zane’s chassis is crafted of nearly indestructible nylon, promising performance no matter the abuse. Frame vents alleviate lens fogging and no-slip Hydrolite™ nose pads keep these glasses anchored where they belong. The top-of-the-line peeps are available in black, tortoise and silver frames, and with an integral hinge, are built to fit a wide variety of face shapes. Anglers have the choice of 11 COSTA 400 or high definition 580 mirror or non-mirror lens color options, including the new silver mirror. Costa’s 580 lenses provide an unmatched level of visual acuity and clarity. The Zane is also available with Rx-able lenses. ($239 w/580 lenses; costadelmar.com; 386-274-4000)
Swimbaits have been the recent rage in the bass fishing community. Sales have been driven by record breaking five fish limits on the pro bass circuits, with a few exceeding the unheard of 40-pound mark. Professional bass angler Kevin Langill has designed his version of these popular baits–the Mr. Lovely. The action accurately mimics that of a fleeing bait fish. The Mr. Lovely has five “live joints” that articulate freely rendering a natural “swimming” action and very natural appearance. When pausing the Mr. Lovely, it drops horizontally, quivering during descent, often triggering strikes. This realistic presentation is hard to resist. Three models are available, 3″, 5″ and 6-inches. ($19.95-39.95; langilllures.com)
The Sashimi Jerkbait is a suspending lure with an irresistible minnow shape that imitates many different types of forage game fish feed on. The Sashimi Jerkbait is deadly when fished using a stop-and-go retrieve or twitched erratically. The feather tail treble hook entices strikes when the bait is paused. The patented finish changes colors as the bait moves; a feature especially effective in clear water when the bite has turned tough. Yo-Zuri quality can be seen throughout this bait, with its premium hook sets and top shelf hardware. The Yo-Zuri Sashimi Jerkbait is available in a 3 1/2″ model with 14 fish catching patterns from which to choose. ($14.95; yo-zuri.com; 888-336-9775)
A leaky gas or hydraulic line can leave you stranded when out on the water. Rescue Tape is a self-fusing silicone repair tape with infinite uses. First introduced to the US military, this tape repairs leaks on plumbing and hoses, can insulate electrical wiring or shrink wrap or make emergency o-rings. Once installed, Rescue Tape creates a permanent air-tight, water-tight seal in seconds by chemically bonding itself together. Rescue Tape resists fuels, oils, acids, solvents, salt water, road salt, and damaging UV light. This tape is so tough it can be used to build emergency fan belts and won’t leave any residue or odor. It works on wet surfaces, as well as on dirty and oily surfaces. ($9.95; rescuetape.com; 877-847-2628)
Lugging a big, cumbersome tin minnow bucket around is painful–and dead bait rarely catches anything other ants. The Cool Bubbles is a compact, 8-quart insulated minnow bucket that will keep your minnows happy for hours. The styrofoam liner keeps the water cool while the aerator pumps life-sustaining oxygen into the water for up to 85-hours on just two alkaline D-cell batteries. For convenience, the styrofoam liner is removable for ease of cleaning. The outer bucket is made of a rugged plastic that resists breakage even with the harshest of use. A glass bead diffuser on the working end of the airline provides greater dissolved oxygen than other traditional “stone” designs. ($24.95; marinemetal.com; 727-461-5575)
Casting tangles that wrap around rod guides always happen at the most inconvenient times–typically when sight casting to a trophy fish. Fuji’s K Series guides eliminate these headaches. The K Series are non-welded, deep pressed frames that sit lower on the rod blank eliminating the common areas where line can become twisted and tangled. A flared frame radius exceeds the ring diameter allowing looped line tangles to slip forward on the guide and release automatically without tangling. The K Series is constructed of titanium for exceptionally lightweight performance and outstanding corrosive protection. (Price varies according to sizes; anglersresource.net; 251-943-4491)
The 2009 iCAST Show is now history. Here’s what we found after walking the show floor for three days searching for the most innovative new products.