Pre-ICAST highlights

ICAST is coming up fast, but I already have some highlights to report.

As you probably know, ICAST is the industry’s biggest trade show. If you’re not part of a manufacturing effort (like pro anglers who serve on pro staffs), a buyer (like the people who order the products for Bass Pro Shops or your local independent store) or a media person, you can’t get in.

Most of the fishing industry will be gathered in Orlando to look at all the new gear that will start showing up on store pegs and shelves in 2018. The show is important because these products need exposure and orders or they’ll never get made. If the press and buyers don’t like them, it doesn’t matter how many fish they might catch. They’ll never get the chance, they’ll never be mass produced and they’ll never see the light of day. It happens every year.

I’ll be attending the show to work with several of my sponsors — Lowrance, Wiley X, Pelican and LunaSea (the folks who make the Cush-It). It’s a great time for me for a couple of reasons. First, the reason I work with them is because I believe in their products, and ICAST is sometimes the first good look I get at the new stuff. Second, these people may have started as sponsors, but they’ve become friends, so I look forward to visiting with them, having dinner together and generally catching up.

Wiley X has six new sunglasses on display at ICAST. Three of them feature Kryptek camouflage frames — the WX Boss, WX Omega and WX Valor. Then there are three other sunglasses — the WX Nash, WX Enzo and WX Ignite — that are designed for anglers and have special polarized lenses. I’m already wearing some of these and will be throughout the rest of the season.

Lowrance has new HDS Carbon software that enhances their electronics. They’re always pushing the envelope of new technology, and this year is no exception.

Pelican has a new 24-can Elite Soft Cooler that will hold ice for 48 hours. I’m looking forward to putting it to the test on family outings and on the tractor at the pecan farm.

Another thing I love about ICAST is the chance to see what all the other exhibitors have been up to. What new lures, rods, reels, lines and gadgets are out there? Some of them are really exciting, and some of them will make you scratch your head. You see it all at ICAST … if you have the time.

Because of the Elite Series schedule this year, none of us anglers will have a chance to stay through the entire show (which runs through Friday). I’ll spend only one night in Orlando before I fly back home and hit the road for New York and the final tournaments of the Elite season.

The break was great, and I enjoyed it, but it also flew by! That’s OK, though. I’m ready to go fishing!