St. Croix


Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Thursday, July 11, 2019
Stars and Stripes - a miracle maker
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Baja whines and whispers

ICAST – a field of dreams
It was the capper of another year, another 96-hour marathon of red-eye flights and, according to my fitness watch, 19.1 miles of walking around the ICAST show for two days in July while catching up with many friends and making some new ones.

It’s that “kid in a candy store time” when I reach my destination and the show doors finally open. There are so many new items that have popped up over the past year, and I’m eager to test them all.

IMPERIUM OUTFITTERS WAS one of the most intriguing booths that my friend Ryan Donavan of Redrum Sportfishing in Cabo insisted I visit.

Imperium Outfitters was one of the most intriguing booths that my friend Ryan Donavan of Redrum Sportfishing in Cabo insisted I visit. There, he introduced me to Robert Mergenthaler, president, and Russel Snipe, the tech guy.

The display consisted of various-sized trolling lure heads that had been created/printed during the show. Some were skirted. They were flanked on either side by a 3D Printer. As they explained, it was possible to replicate any lure head with their system, including old favorites that had become irreplaceable – a Godsend for some captains who had their own collection of old treasured lures that were now cracked and chipped.

Hobie Kayaks introduced a gamechanger for the kayak set – a new Mirage drive with 360-degree technology. I’ve been a Hobie Kayak fan since shortly after I began traveling in the Roadtrek when I was introduced to their inflatable.

The new Hobie MirageDrive 360 propulsion system is a 360-degree rotating pedal drive that allows anglers to easily maneuver their 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 360 12 and 14 fishing kayak in every direction – backwards, forward, sideways, diagonally – it can even spin on its own length. Upping the ante with all-new Kick-Up Fins that automatically retract upon impact, the new MirageDrive 360 delivers precision boat control and close-quarter maneuverability that’s unrivaled by any other human-powered watercraft. Anglers can go where they want and fish how they want with total control and complete confidence.

My buddies over at AFTCO also have been busy this year branching out with new products. According to Greg Stotesbury, Vice President, their new Saiko Pro is a 100-percent custom formula fluorocarbon featuring a supple, yet hard finish that provides better abrasion resistance; it also tests stronger after abrasion than other similar products. In 12- to 80-pound test, it’s available in both clear and pink; 100- to 300-pound test is available in clear. The knot and crimped strength of AFTCO's leader is unmatched, and the line promises to generate more bites from finicky tuna, billfish, and inshore species. I’m told that the new product will be available Aug. 1, just in time for the late summer and fall bites. They will also soon be introducing their own set of custom fish cleaning knives available sometime in September.

THIS MATERIAL IS tough, resilient, and almost impervious to fish bites! Sebile delights in having an unsuspecting spectator grab hold of one end of the tail and pull with all their might.

Patrick Sebile was at the Band of Anglers booth demonstrating his “latest and greatest” lure designs. I have always found his lure designs fascinating remember the Sebile Magic Swimmer? However, his new Daartspin™ has its merits as well. First and foremost is the material it is made of “Hyperplastics™.”

This material is tough, resilient, and almost impervious to fish bites! Sebile delights in having an unsuspecting spectator grab hold of one end of the tail and pull with all their might. So far, I’ve never seen one break. Nor have I had one come back bitten in half – a real plus if you are fishing in remote parts of Baja, miles from any sort of tackle store.

The new design has a minnow-shaped body with a willow blade solidly embedded into its tail. It can be fished on a weedless hook, jighead, drop-shot rig, Carolina or Texas rig, or retrieved on top (or deep) with a circle hook through its nose. It offers a wide variety of action, depending on how it’s used.

Candace Fersch, who I met several years ago at WON Tuna Jackpot, insisted I couldn’t live without the Cuda Bait De-Hooker. This was another gadget that caught my eye that I must admit certainly seemed more practical than the butter knife that has always been my tool of choice for removing mackerel from a Sabiki or Lucky Joe bait rig.

Bill Pino of Squidnation, another WON Tuna Jackpot veteran, was also at ICAST displaying his latest dredges ( AKA Mud Flaps) equipped with new, tougher material that will not tear or shred.

Another Baja Buddy, Stephen Jansen, was displaying his “Cabo Killer” line of lures along with his hand-painted T-shirts designed himself and displayed the first time at ICAST.

I have so many extensive new product notes following two days at ICAST that it’s hard to choose my favorites. Remember, I walked nearly 10 miles a day, meaning there are a jillion or so more I can’t cover here. Perhaps another time.

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