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.
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.
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.
After Don Barone's stirring piece about their handmade cedar lures, Stanford Lures reports receiving the "Barone Bump" and having a great ICAST. Read Don Barone's full story here.
Jackson Kayak has rolled out what may be the Cadillac of kayaks for 2012. The Cuda has all the tackle storage, creature comforts and accessories a bass angler could want.
By far the best way to draw a crowd to your booth at ICAST is by having something truly "new" and innovative. It happens at every show. Something different comes along and it creates a buzz. Instead of stumbling across it by accident, someone you know sees you in the aisles and says, "Hey, Ken, you gotta see this!" Then they drag you past hundreds of other booths to the one that's going to make your day and have you asking, "Why didn't I think of that?"
The word you probably hear more than any other at ICAST is "new." This bait comes in three "new" colors. That reel comes in two "new" gear ratios. Another line is offered in a "new" bulk spool. Quite often the manufacturers play pretty fast and loose with the term, and you realize that it's "new" only in some broad marketing sense that means little or nothing to an angler.
Another ICAST is winding down and I feel like I've seen maybe 1 percent of the stuff here. That's not an exaggeration, either. There's lots to see and relatively little time to do it. Between chasing down products, writing photo gallery cutlines and doing some BASScams, there's absolutely no time to just walk the floor and get a feel for what's here. That's frustrating. Wish that were different, but I don't see it changing anytime soon.