ICAST matters to you

Those of you who read this column regularly know that I’m big on education. It’s my firm belief that if you stop learning — at anything — you’ll slip backwards. There’s no such thing as standing still. That’s why ICAST matters to you, if you want to catch more fish. It’ll be in full swing late next week.

Almost everything that’s new and innovative for the upcoming year will be on display — rods, reels, line, hardbaits, plastics, boats, motors, electronics and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t think of right now. Actually, some of it is so innovative that I’d never think of it.

Just as important, most of the pros will be there showing you why the new stuff matters and how you can use it to catch more fish. What they say has great value. In many cases they are the ones who developed the idea and helped with the testing. No one will know more about the product.

This is absolutely true. I can make that statement without any reservations because that’s what I do for my sponsors. The other guys do exactly the same thing. We earn our living catching fish. We do not knowingly use junk and we do not want our reputations damaged by telling guys to spend their fishing budget money on stuff that doesn’t work.

I’ll use line as an example of what I’m talking about with products. Line is something we all must have. You can’t get your fish to the boat without it. Most of us will have to buy a few spools every year during our fishing lives. I guarantee you that there will be something new on display this year.

Maybe it’ll be for flipping and pitching, maybe it’ll be for crankbaiting or maybe it’ll be for working topwater plugs. Heck, it might even be an all-purpose line or something that’s made out of a brand new material. Regardless, it might be something you need for your next fishing trip. You won’t know about it, though, unless you pay attention to what’s at ICAST.

The exact same thing is true of almost everything you have in your boat or in your tackle box. ICAST is probably the greatest tackle show in the country. There is one thing about it that you need to keep in mind, however. It’s not a consumer show. Most anglers can’t attend. It’s limited to companies, buyers, media and other people within the industry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t follow what’s going on.

How so, you ask? It’s easy. Watch for short video clips on your favorite website or wait for articles to appear in your favorite print magazine or newspaper.     

This site will have some of the best coverage around, as will my site. The thing is, though, ICAST will be overrun with writers and photographers. Scores of media outlets will have features showing you what’s available. Check them all out.

ICAST is a great learning opportunity, and the information is free. Take advantage of it.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, MikeIaconelli.com.