Simms introduced multiple new items at ICAST, but a couple of standouts are the Contender jacket and bib and the SolarFlex tee, according to Simms' Diane Bristol.
The Contender offers high-quality Gore-Tex protection at a lower price point than some of the company's prior offerings. The jacket has several pockets, a storm hood and adjustable cuffs. It retails for $349.95, and the bib for $299.95.
"Sun protection is a huge deal," said Bristol. "We have a broad range of solar protective products."
One of those is the SolarFlex long-sleeve tee. It has a UPF rating of 30+. It's also anti-odor and has moisture management capabilities. It sells for $39.95 to $49.95, depending on the pattern.
I got an education in what Gore-Tex is today. It's a membrane that's waterproof and breathable. And to prove that to me, the Gore-Tex guys put me in a Gore-Tex rain jacket, pants and booties and stuffed me into a room where torrential rains poured from the ceiling.
I stayed dry, except for my hands, which were exposed. Afterward, the rainsuit went straight into the dryer.
Tired of your buddies poaching on your marker buoys? Check out Northland's Hot Spot marker buoy, which is available in black, making it less visible to prying eyes. Traditional colors are available as well.
Greg Vinson has his hands on the newest NetBait colors, an array of triple laminates of the most natural tones. Currently the T-Mac is the only plastic available in these colors, but other designs will follow.
Rather than introducing new products, Live Target introduces new species. New for 2012 is the crappie, which is available in a lipped and lipless model.
Not completely unexpectedly, I found live worms on the ICAST show floor.
Silver Bait owner Bruno Durant talked to me a little bit about what it takes to grow millions of worms.
Above, you see 6 small buildings, and then 7 long ones- the long ones are all full of worms- millions of them. The field behind the facility in Tennessee is worm food- literally. Each year the worms Silver Bait produces consume every part of all 350 acres of it!
If you want to learn more about the business of growing worms, Bruno and his company were featured in London's Financial Times, of all places. Check that story out here.
One thing about ICAST no one's covered on Bassmaster.com is how the show is not just a new tackle showcase, but it's also a job fair of sorts. If you think the economy is tough generally, it's even tougher in the outdoor industry because the first thing people cut back on in tough times is their leisure expenditures. So the unemployment rate among people who were working in the outdoors industry a few years ago is sky high.
Walking the floors along with the media and buyers are a legion of folks itching to get back to work in the fishing industry and hoping there's a place for them. Most will go home disappointed because there are remarkably few openings out there. The most savvy of them, though, will carve out a niche by convincing a company they can improve the bottom line and essentially creating a position where there was none before. More and more that's what it takes to find work in the fishing field — you have to create your own position by fitting your skills to needs and getting the employer to see opportunity instead of just additional expense.
There are lots of talented fishing industry people looking for work, and the most creative of them can still find it.
Bill Siemantel, of BBZ fame, is always innovating. These are his newest top secret designs, a square bill and a lipped BBZ swimbait. Look for them soon from Spro.
Russ Lane has been at the design board for Spro, and what he came up with is the Fat Papa. Lane wanted a bait that dives quickly, has a tight action and flat out gets bites. He says it's ideal for coldwater temperatures, namely the prespawn.
To prove their clothes and iPad cases are waterproof, Gore-tex brought a torrential downpour with them to ICAST.