ICAST wrapped up less than a month ago, and we’re all still a little dizzy from all the new stuff we encountered. We whittled the list down to 10 favorites that we think you’ll enjoy, in no particular order. But if this isn’t enough, check out our roundup of the 30 items that caught our eye at ICAST.
G Loomis NRX+ Inshore
G Loomis wowed us on the show floor with the NRX+ Inshore series ($625 and up), which just so happened to take top honors for the best saltwater rod at ICAST 2023. The line of 10 casting and spinning rods was designed with technical presentations in mind, giving those that throw lures and soft plastics a top-notch tool. The American-made blanks provide ultra-fast recovery for increased casting distance, heightened sensitivity, and weight reduction. A Fuji Titanium SiC guide train should hold up to the bangs and bruises that often accompany a life on the brine.
PENN Spinfisher VII
PENN didn’t really re-invent the wheel with the latest entry in the Spinfisher line, but it did make it a little more durable. The newest Spinfisher VII features IPX5 sealing that promises to keep saltwater out of the gears, and the HT-100 drag washers that are housed in a sealed spool. A full metal body and side plate keep the CNC-cut brass gears in precise alignment under stress. Plus, a unique line keeper (shown above) will hold up to 50-pound flouro.
Fenwick World Class
Fenwick might not be a name you commonly hear around the dock these days, but the introduction of their World Class series of rods ($269 and up) might just change that. The technique-specific lineup includes several inshore spinning and casting rods that boast light weight and responsiveness. A unique tailored foregrip increases sensitivity that must be felt. Other notable attributes include 40/36-ton graphite blend with proprietary reinforcing resin, contoured rod butt, and titanium guide frames with super thin zirconia inserts.
Simms G4Z Waders
I’d venture a guess that most of our readers fish primarily from boats, but if you do any wading in the colder months you owe it to yourself to check out Simms’ G4Z waders ($999). The made in America design took ICAST honors for the best fly fishing waders, but they are just as good plodding along a jetty or navigating a boulder field. This is Simms’ most durable offering, and it should resist rock rash for years to come. A GORE-TEX membrane keeps anglers dry from the inside out, and the front zipper makes getting them off and, on a breeze.
Costa King Tide
Costa’s latest offering is the result of years of development and 40 years of heritage. Show goers were so impressed with the new King Tide that they took the crown for best new sunglasses. The innovative glasses are available in both a familiar wrap around 8-base and flatter 6-base curve, with removable side shields that keep stray light out. Shark-inspired venting, sweat management channels and eye wire drains move sweat away and help prevent fogging. Non-skid hooding keeps them in place when you set them down, even if seas get a bit sporty. Available in a variety of lens colors, with black and black and gold flake frames.
Newport NT 300 3HP Electric Outboard Motor
A few years ago, I probably would have laughed at the idea of an electric outboard. But recent advances have made them a real player, with excellent models like the Newport NT 300 3HP outboard ($1,199) leading the pack. This quiet powerhouse will deliver 6.5 mile per hour top speed and up to 66 miles of range with an appropriate lithium ion battery, without any of the maintenance that comes with traditional outboards. I have only just begun to experiment with mine, but my initial experiences suggest this is perfect for sneaking up on spooky fish in skinny water or equipping a dingy for launch duty.
Savage Gear BFT Flyer
Kite fishing is a really exciting way to catch tuna and other bruisers, and the Savage Gear BFT Flyer may just be the best lure for the job. The 16-inch BFT Flyer is a pre-rigged flyingfish lure built to catch big-game species such as tuna, factory-rigged with a harness suitable for kite or trolling duty. The bait was built using a meticulous 3D scan of an actual flying fish, with easily removable wings for storage or transportation. The line-thru design causes the lure to surge up the leader when a fish is hooked, preventing the fish from utilizing the lure’s weight as leverage during the fight.
Salt Life Ballast Flip Flop
Summer is flip flop time. While I usually advise against wearing flops on a boat, the latest from Salt Life is an exception. The new unisex Ballast Flip Flops ($70) were built with traction in mind, featuring siped non-marking outsoles that provide extreme traction even when wet. The molded foot bed with arch support and non-skip texture provides all-day comfort. Nylon webbing straps with leather trim make these stylish as well.
St. Croix rods is jumping into the world of reels with the introduction of a baitcaster and spinner under the Seviin moniker at ICAST. The new reels are available in both freshwater and saltwater models, under the GX and GSW series respectably. Available in 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 sizes, GSW reels are sealed with gasketed side plates and blade seals on the spool shaft. Specs include 6 + 1 shielded stainless-steel bearing system, powerful multi-stack carbon fiber drag, stainless-steel drag components, and precision hard-brass pinion and die-cast drive gear.
Pelican TRVL Air Travel Cases
Summer means vacation for many, and that usually involves travel. Though we didn’t see them at ICAST, the water- and crush-proof performance of Pelican’s TRVL Air Travel cases ($288 and up) warrant mention. Just before ICAST, I had one of these cases in the bed of my truck as we drove through a storm the dropped an incredible 9 inches of rain and the contents remained bone-dry. Whether you are traveling by plane, train, automobile, or boat, keep your valuables safe with one of these—and the Air versions are about 40 percent lighter than previous iterations. Available in both checked and carry-on sizes.
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