One of the trends that's clearly sweeping the industry actually began many years ago, but it's got a full head of steam now. I'm talking about the need for speed -- not with outboard motors, but with fishing reels. It dates me, but when I bought my first casting reel at the age of 14 in 1976, a high gear ratio meant 5:1 ... and you needed a special after-market kit (from Gator Grip, I think) to get that! My first casting reel was an Ambassadeaur 5000D. It was (is) green, and the "D" stood (stands) for direct drive. If you cranked, it overrode the drag system and became an honest to goodness winch. I still have the reel, and it still works great, but at 3.5:1 it's excrutiatingly slow.
Abu Garcia and their Ambassadeur series was the first to crack 5:1, and I think Daiwa was the first to break the 7:1 "barrier" in the 1980s (they blistered right past 6:1 like it wasn't even there -- now it's more or less the default among anglers). Today's reels, and most particularly the flippin' and pitching models, are almost universally faster than 7:1 and they're climbing toward 10:1 -- a ratio almost three times quicker than my beloved old green Ambassadeur (which I keep clamped to an original fiberglass Fenwick Flippin' Stik, if anyone's interested). Where does it end? I'll have a story for you on that in the next few days.
First, though, I need to walk a few miles of exhibitor booths at the ICAST show.