bernie schultz

ICAST 2022: My picks

Bernie Schultz details his picks for the best new products at ICAST 2022.

Each year, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) hosts the fishing industry’s biggest trade show, called ICAST. From across the globe, manufacturers, sales reps, buyers and dealers, all meet at a given location to work toward a common goal. And that is to bring new products and services to market.

The show will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida (July 19-22). There, more than 100,000 square feet of showroom space will be packed to the rafters with anything and everything imaginable related to fishing. Rods, reels, lures, electronics, apparel, sunglasses — you name it, and it will be there. 

Below are my picks for best new products within several categories. And though it will take some time to bring these new products to market, I believe they will be well worth the wait.

That said, here are my choices.

A whole new power source

Among the most exciting new products is Lithium Battery Company’s (LBC) Don’t Die lithium-ion battery. Touted as the only stackable, portable, multiuse lithium cell on the market, this new power source is designed specifically for extended trolling motor use — delivering 60 amp hours to either 24- or 36-volt systems.

That means they will work with any brand of 24- and 36-volt trolling motor.

Housed in a military-grade, waterproof case, Don’t Die lithium-ion batteries are lighter, stronger and far more durable than any trolling battery available on the market. I know this firsthand, as I’ve been testing the product for years now.

Besides the battery’s minimal weight and seemingly endless power supply, they are modular — able to be mounted in any orientation. And they’re stackable!

Even better, LBC’s Founder, Nathan Staron has worked closely with JL Marine (makers of Power-Pole and CHARGE Battery Management Systems) to develop the perfect algorithm for flawless charging and long term, on-the-water performance.

Simply put, Don’t Die lithium-ion batteries are built to last. 

The new stackable batteries complement the original Don’t Die 24v and 36v, 50-amp-hour models, which have the same footprint as a standard Group 31 battery.

For more information, visit Lithium Battery Company of Tampa, Fla.

A Senko that floats

In the “Best New Soft Bait” category, my choice is Yamamoto’s Ned Senko. 

Since being acquired by GSM LLC, Yamamoto Baits has been busy innovating new products for the bass market. And this high-floating Ned Senko is indicative of that effort.

Unlike the original Senko, which is designed to sink at a specific rate of speed while displaying its unique wiggling action, the Ned Senko utilizes Yamamoto’s new “Mega Floater Formula” for maximum upright flotation. In fact, the bait stands nearly vertical, even with a lead jighead attached. And that makes it ideal for Ned rigging various species of black bass — including smallmouth, largemouth and spots.

The new Ned Senko is the same length and profile as the 3-inch Fat Senko and is available in 17 fish-catching colors, including certain laminates. And you can bet they will be a major part of my arsenal during the Northern Swing of the Bassmaster Elite Series.

To learn more about the Ned Senko, visit Yamamoto Baits.

Swimming with Shimano

Expanding on its release of new bass lures in 2022, Shimano introduces the ARMAJOINT 190SF swimbait — my pick for this year’s “Best New Hard Bait.”

Designed to solve the challenges of casting big, jointed swimbaits, Shimano’s proprietary ARMA BOOST technology significantly reduces air resistance, which increases casting distance and accuracy. 

As the lure takes flight, its ARMA BOOST magnetic technology allows the body to fold into a compact position. Once the lure hits the water, the body reforms to initiate a smooth and natural swimming action. The ARMAJOINT 190SF can be retrieved fast or slow, enabling you to vary its speed depending on the situation. 

Measuring 7 1/2 inches in length and weighing nearly 2 ounces, the lure swims in a natural S-pattern and won’t flare out when stopped due to the unique fold in its body. When paused, it displays a natural slow-rising action. 

The ARMAJOINT also features Shimano’s proprietary FLASH BOOST technology, which emits a constant fish-attracting flash during the retrieve and when the lure is paused. They are offered in five beautiful finishes and will retail for $42.99.

To learn more about the ARMAJOINT 190SF FLASH BOOST swimbait, visit Shimano’s website.

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