The ICAST Show and Another TSFMag Contest

Everett Johnson
Every year in mid-July the American Sportfishing Association puts on the mother of all fishing trade shows. The name ICAST is actually an acronym; the full name of the event is International Conference of Allied Sportfishing Trades. Virtually every major tackle manufacturing concern in the world is represented. The purpose of ICAST is to announce the new products that will be introduced in the coming year. ICAST 2008 was the fifty-first anniversary of this event and over the years ICAST has become an economic bellwether of sorts. Economic trends that influence sportfishing for better or worse here in the US usually also influence the number of new products exhibited, not to mention the general tone of the show.

Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even an economist to recognize that the US economy has not been without its struggles thus far in 2008. Surprisingly, this year’s ICAST was very upbeat and the primary indicator could be seen in the New Product Showcase. The assembled media and tackle retailers were greeted with an expanded New Product Showcase that featured more than 600 new products, the most ever.

This is not to say everything’s going to be rosy for the general sportfishing industry during the next twelve months, but it was my observation that many manufacturers are hopeful of another good year and are investing mightily to make it happen.

Sure to be of interest to TSFMag readers were the new baitcasting reels introduced by Shimano and U.S. Reel. Shimano has totally revamped their popular Curado and the updated version scheduled for release very soon will feature a 200-size spool in a low-profile 100-size frame along with a sizeable list of other upgrades and improvements. The new baitcaster from U.S. Reel is being touted as the most revolutionary and innovative fishing reel produced in 50 years. This little gem is slated to hit dealer’s showcases in the final quarter of 2008.

Listing everything we saw that was new, better and different would require a catalog but two products really stood out and I think they deserve mention here. Pallatrax Corporation unveiled new fishing weight products they have dubbed the Stonez™ System. With environmental concern growing over the use of lead in fishing weights, this system uses plain old river stones with eyes and swivels attached and is 100% environmentally friendly. Pretty cool… and I found the play on words clever as well.

The final product I want to mention is Bioline. I cannot tell you how many times I have found balls of monofilament fishing line washed up on bay shores where it poses a very real threat to all manner of creatures. Bioline is designed to bio-degrade in water, solving an age-old issue. Bioline was first formulated for medical suture use. Also noteworthy, even the throw-away package spool is biodegradable. Kudos to Bioline!

And now for the contest we’re about to launch. We’re calling this one “Be Kind to Shorelines” and like our Speckled Trout C&R contest, it too will be photo-entry. What we’re asking readers to do is remove unsightly trash from their favorite shorelines. Sack it, drag it, chop it up if you have to… just send us a photo of the mess being removed and another showing it being disposed of properly and you will be entered to receive some really cool prizes. The official kick-off and prizes will be announced in our October issue.

Good luck and good fishing!