ICAST Celebrates 50 Years
Showcases Many New Products
By Margie Anderson
The American Sportfishing Association celebrated its 50th year of bringing the tackle industry together under one roof this year. ICAST50 was a huge success, and there were plenty of great new products to see.
Shakespeare’s X-Tools has a new emergency floating marine tools set for about $100. The kit has every tool you need to fix anything in your boat and is designed to get you back to the dock no matter what your problem is. The bag and included tools all float, too. It’s a very compact set, and the minute you see it, you’re going to want it. Check it out at www.xtools.us.
Large holes in the sides allow water to circulate, and a lid in the top lets you put your fish into the Well Mate as you catch them. When it’s time to go to weigh-in, just close the lid and lift the Well Mate out by the handle.
The last few inches don’t have holes, so the Well Mate holds enough water to keep the fish happy as you take them to the scales. The Sportsman’s Model is about $80 at www.well-mate.net.
Kwik Drop is a hinged metal fishing seat pedestal that drops your seat down to the deck so you can see to drive. When you get to your honey hole, pop the seat back up. It costs about $100 and weighs about 5 pounds. Find a dealer and see a video at www.kwikdrop.com.
Re-Action System by Modevational Enterprises is an upgrade to your trolling motor that basically gives it two throttles, resulting in better boat control and more freedom from the foot pedal. It also gives you more time on your batteries and increases the life of your trolling motor itself.
You can set the main throttle to a constant speed to keep yourself moving along the shore, and set the second one to compensate for wind or current. Then, instead of having to stay on the throttle constantly or keep moving the speed control, you just fish and give the foot pedal a bump now and then.
Phillips Fishing Products makes boat cleaners and a screen cleaner for your graph that I first saw when Brett Hite used it at Roosevelt. The cleaners are specially formulated for our hard water, and the screen cleaner is so good that everyone kept borrowing Brett’s on the ramp.
Use the Pink Stuff when you wipe the boat down and the Purple Stuff on hard spots on the transom and motor. You can see all their stuff and find out how to order at www.phillipsfishingproducts.com.
Black Fin is a skeg replacement and repair that you can do yourself. It is made from nylon 6 and fiberglass so it has a very high tensile strength.
During manufacture it is scanned about a million times per square inch to keep each skeg true to the design. There are small fins on either side to equalize the up-and-down water pressure, so you end up with better handling and improved cornering.
The design also helps eliminate chining and walking, and the sacrificial node makes the skeg go up and over obstacles instead of digging into them like a regular flat metal skeg. They are available now for about $80 and are easy enough to install by yourself. Put one on before you trash your skeg to protect your lower unit. Www.blackfinskeg.com.
OTB Boots has awesome boating shoes made with technology that originated with the Navy Seals. The soles have incredible grip, and the shoes have excellent drainage.
They have felt-bottomed wading shoes as well as a variety of really good-looking deck shoes. Go to www.otbboots.com to see all of their shoes and read about how the company came into being. It’s a good read.
Bounty Fishing has made it possible for anyone to fish a tournament any time and at any lake they choose. You can even pick from a variety of species.
Just log on to www.bountyfishing.com, pay your $7 for the day or $19 for the week, and you’re in the tournament. You receive a secret code number, and when you catch a nice fish, you simply send Bounty Fishing two digital photos — one of you holding the fish and one of the fish with a ruler and the secret number.
Mueller Sports Medicine is used to making wraps for injuries, but now they’ve come up with flip-up sunglasses that attach to the brim of your cap or visor. Fish Fishbourne was at their booth at ICAST and he says that he really likes them.
SmartShield Sunscreens are completely marine friendly: They won’t hurt the water or the fish, and they’re made with an eco-friendly no-oil formula.
They also have sunscreen that includes an insect repellent. The natural insect repellent was tested and deemed equivalent to DEET, but it won’t eat your fishing line and clothes as DEET does. SmartShield has a variety of sun protection products and you can see them and buy them all at www.smartshield.com.