More ICAST Goodies

More ICAST Goodies
Overview of a portion of the ICAST floor during setup.

A couple months back I wrote about attending the ICAST show in Orlando this past July and all the cool new toys I found to tie onto the end of your line. Well, when I started typing that story I had a whole list of cool new toys that weren't lures. By the time I got through with the lures though, I had already filled my allotted space for this column and had no choice but to set the rest of the list temporarily aside. Here recently I was asked what I might want on my Christmas/birthday list this year and my mind wandered back to that list. The thought occurred that you might be searching for something new as well.

Tops on my list is a new standup paddle board. I've been wanting one for a while but never could find one that tempted me into pulling the trigger. That changed when I walked up on the L2Fish board manufactured by Live Watersports. While other paddle boards are basically oversized surfboards with added stability, the L2 is a catamaran hull. Most of the original paddle boards were designed for racing or fitness. Once fishermen got interested they widened the boards for even more stability, but this slowed them down quite a bit. Not really a big deal when you're creeping around the marsh hunting reds, but it matters on the trek out and back. The L2 cat hull makes it super stable with lots of open deck space, yet still fast like a racing style paddle board. Since seeing it I've talked to a few guys I trust who have paddled them and they have had nothing but good things to say. Mine is on order and should be here any day. Look for a full report on it as soon as I can get it wet and slimy.

A great accessory for the L2Fish would be a nice Yeti 35 to use for drinks and also as an elevated casting platform. And to make that Yeti look cool I'd like to dress it up with a new kit available from Tempress that they were showing off at ICAST. Tempress got together with popular fish artists DeYoung, Whitlock and Estrada to create kits that let you pimp your Yeti. It includes a cushion top as well as a wrap featuring works from these artists. They've also got one done up in Game Guard camo if that's how you roll. Personally I want the Estrada redfish version.

To fix up the interior of the cooler I found a very handy product called Coolerwebs. This is basically a webbed pocket with Velcro closures that attaches to the inside of the cooler lid. Perfect for keeping your sandwich and snacks from settling into the slush and getting wet. The same company also makes Tacklewebs for attaching to various spots on your boat or kayak to corral miscellaneous items and keep you more organized. I've been using the Tacklewebs and love them. I'm sure the Coolerwebs will end up attached to all of my ice chests.

A few years ago at this show I saw my first GoPro camera. I thought it was cool, but didn't really think it was going to catch on with fishermen. Boy, was I wrong on that one. Nowadays it seems like everybody on the water has at least one unit set up to record the day's activities. There have been several upgraded models introduced since then. Each one got a little more complicated with added features. This time they went a little bit in the other direction with the new Hero 4 Session. It has a simplified single button for on/record/off and they did away with the need for a housing. This one is smaller, lighter and still just as cool. It is a 1.5" cube that only weighs 2.6 ounces, yet still provides 1080p video as well as 8mp stills in ten shot bursts. Basically it is about half the size of a regular GoPro. Not sure how they packed all of that into this tiny cube, but they did.

If you need a new pair of sunglasses and want something different from all your buddies, Costa had several new frames on display. One model, the Rooster, won best of show for the new eyewear category. It is a large fit with built-in side shields to block side light and vents to prevent fogging. The interior and nose piece have a rubberized coating to help keep them on your face even when you get to sweating in the Texas heat.

It is really hard to walk through ICAST for two or three days and cherry pick just a few things to talk about. There are simply too many cool new pieces of equipment coming to store shelves over the next few weeks or months. Every year I go in thinking there couldn
't possibly be anything new and different enough to make me add it to my pile of gear. And every year these folks prove me wrong.