super show offered new boats and a bevy of accessories
VEGAS — Once again, kayak fishing joined the fun
at the recent ICAST, the recreational fishing industry’s annual trade show and
cocktail party. We’ll get to the
notable product introductions in a bit. First, a missing ingredient signals the
tackle manufacturers are getting a better handle on the sport. There wasn’t a
single new rod or reel aimed solely at kayak anglers.
be tempted to think that’s bad news. Not so. It’s a sign of the sport’s
maturity. It’s dawned on most product development managers that we use the same
gear as everyone else. Of course that isn’t the case when it comes to the
kayaks themselves, or the accessories we need to fish them effectively. There
were plenty of those.
The flashiest news always concerns new rides and Hobie didn’t disappoint, unveiling
two new 11-foot long fish hunters. The Mirage Revolution 11 snapped up Best of
Show in the boat category. It’s the spitting image of its larger, popular
brother also boasting the Revolution nameplate, an excellent blend of pedal-drive
maneuverability and fishing-friendly storage and rigging. The new version hits
the same high notes. How Hobie’s designers did it while shaving off three feet
and knocking the boat’s fighting weight down to 47 pounds is a head scratcher.
11 is the shorter Revo’s paddle-powered complement. Same deal. Let’s call it a
pocket battleship. Lots of fishing firepower packed into a smaller size. That
wasn’t all; the company also cooked up the H-Bar, a leaning post for the big
daddy of the line, the massive Pro Angler. With one of these aboard, it’s a
veritable stand-up machine. The Horizontal Rod Holder, another new accessory,
is more in the mode of refined user mod. Use it to strap rods down along the
sides of virtually any fishing ‘yak.
powerhouse NRS turned up with cool new toys for the company’s first ICAST.
Hopefully these will be the first of a strong push into fishing products. The
Reel SUP is a stand-up inflatable designed specifically to cast lines. The
accessory Fishing Tackle Bag fits it perfectly, solving the problem of where to
put the stand-up paddle while fishing (there’s a neat vertical holder). The bag
would be a welcome addition on just about any fishing ride.
boat notes. Malibu Kayaks showed off new camo color blends and a fresh new
fishy deck for the X-Factor. Diablo Paddlesports checked in with the Fly Deck.
It turns the nose of their Chupacabra into a massive stripping basket. Nice!
good stuff, but it wasn’t the most promising development. That came from
Lowrance. Effectively mounting a fishfinder transducer without degrading
performance is one of those persistent kayak issues. Lowrance has an elegant
solution in the new Scupper Hole Transducer Mounting System, the first to boast
a universal design. The company says it fits 95 percent of the fishing kayaks
out there. A prior through-scupper design only worked with Ocean Kayak models.
scupper mount works with Lowrance HDS, Elite, Mark and X-Series transducers,
even the slick new DSI models. But that wasn’t enough. Lowrance also came
strong with the Elite Socket, a sonar head mount custom-designed for the Elite
Series which offers a solid price-performance punch for kayak anglers.
more in the accessory mode. Scotty, famous for kayak-savvy rod holders, was
showing the slick Portable Camera Mount – just the thing for Go-Pro Heroes. I
also caught two nets of note. The Castalia Outdoors Folding Flip Net offers a
small footprint when stowed, and pops out with the flick of a wrist. The
two-button yoke looks just a hammerhead. Leverage Landing Net was back with a
new Kayak model. The handle fits in a rod holder. This thing epitomizes “reach
out and touch someone” – the handle is long!
more: The Boomerang Tool Company was back with new tethered fishing tools. The
Big Catch H1 Pliers offer replaceable stainless steel jaws on a cast aluminum
body. That spring-loaded cable is tough Kevlar. The Swift Cut knife is a folder
with fine and serrated edges and a kayak-kind blunt tip. The handle is
non-slip. Berkley’s Fishing Multi-Tool looked great. Only $20 for a wealth of
fishing function built into a saltwater savvy aluminum and stainless frame.
oh so much more. While none of the myriad new rods and reels was designed
specifically for kayak fishing, there’s a lot to like in the avalanche of
high-tech new gear on the way. Quantum reps claim their feather-light EXO PT
spinner and baitcaster are saltwater cool.
back full force, with kayak worthy new Fathom and Squall conventional reels.
The powerful Daiwa Seagate fills the same niche. And finally Ardent and Okuma both introduced sexy new
saltwater baitcasters perfect for calico catches. They are the Inshore Pro and
Cedros Saltwater Specific. I’d spool either with the new PowerPro Slick. More
casting distance and better abrasion resistance? Yes please.
OF SHOW BOAT – Hobie
chose the fish-friendly spaces of ICAST to debut the Mirage Revolution 11, the
latest of the company’s winning line-up. This shorter, lighter version of the
original Revolution looks every inch the capable fish killer.