Well, as expected, ICAST was a blast, and anglers from all across the world had their socks blown off—again. It’s great to see this much excitement surrounding the fishing world, but more the innovation. New gear across the board will certainly impress anglers in 2014, but if you can’t wait that long here is a sneak peek at my top choices after a week in the desert.
Abu Garcia is known for pushing the limits and they did it again! With the introduction of their blazing-fast REVO Rocket—boasting a 9.0:1 gear ratio—they have claimed yet another spot among fishing reel’s finest. This baby picks up 37 inches of line per turn of the reel handle—just over three feet. Perfect for fishing applications that create a lot of slack line like dragging football jigs in the fall to crashing pads and the slop in the summer. MSRP $299.
Technique-specific rods have been of high demand lately. They are usually broken down into categories such as jigging, swimbait, crankbait, finesse, so-on-and-so-forth. Well Lew’s has taken it even further by appealing to different kinds of baits within each category. By the introduction of their David Fritts Crankbait Speed Stick. These crankbait specific rods come in three sizes and actions: 6-foot, 6-inch medium action, which is ideal for ¾-ounce cranks, and two 7-foot models with the first being a medium action and the second being medium heavy. There’s now a stick for every crank! MSRP $99 through $119.
Swimbaits are not new to the bass fishing arena, but many anglers in the Midwest are just beginning to experiment with this lifelike presentation. Trigger X has introduced a very impressive looking paddle tail that has a completely unique action. The Slop Hopper is nothing like you have ever seen! Rather than the standard side-to-side action of the paddle tail, this baby shimmies in every direction making it even more enticing. They come in 4½ to 5½-inch models and in an array of tempting colors. MSRP $4.99 per 5-pack.
Seems every year there are more and more crankbaits coming to the market, but the great thing is they all seem to catch fish. The Yo-Zuri Craw brings not only a new look to a classic bait, but an unmatched action that will surely entice any skeptical bass into taking a bite. Not only is this bait extremely realistic, but it’s built for abuse and runs very effectively around weeds and rocks. MSRP is yet to be determined upon release of this product in 2014, but expect it to be in the $9 to $10 dollar range.
Others worth mentioning were Humminbird’s Bow-Mount 360, Spidewire’s Glo-Vis line, Shimano’s Ci4+ casting and spinning reels, Frabill’s new Storm Suit (this thing is sweet!) and finally, MotorGuide’s new trolling motors are as quiet as they come!—Thomas Allen