It's about getting better

The 2012 ICAST show is underway and if the hardbait selections in the New Products Preview Reception are any indication of what’s to come it’s going to be all about details. Nearly every bait displayed — big, small, freshwater, saltwater — was designed to attract even the most discriminating fish.

The finish on these new baits is extraordinary, a real tribute to the companies that make them. In some cases they are designed to look like the real thing, and they do. But in other cases they have an almost surreal finish to them. They look like nothing any of us has ever seen. Yet, they undoubtedly will attract fish. But it’s not all about the finish.

One of the more interesting offerings is the new line of Rapala baits, the BX Minnow. It’s a traditional Rapala balsa bait but with a serious improvement. They put the balsa inside a durable copolymer shell. That not only toughens the lure but it also allows Rapala to create 3D effects in the gills, eyes and scales .

The Duo Realis Pencil 110, offered by Duo North America, features a protruding hemisphere on the underside of its chin which, according to the manufacturer, uses water pressure to swing the head back and forth. This results in a brisk and compact walk-the-dog- action with little effort.

Luck “E” Strike has a new product they call The Freak. A quick look at it and you’ll conclude it was appropriately named. It’s a deep-diving square bill crankbait. The bill is narrow coming off the front of the bait and then widens to create the square bill effect. It’s different. It also carries Rick Clunn’s name on it.

The improvements we’re seeing aren’t limited to hardbaits, however. They’re also about the tackle that delivers them to the fish, specifically the Umbrella Rig. River2Sea has a new one this year called the John Murray Bumbershoot. It’s fully customizable with interchangeable arms, easily replaced arms, spinners and collapses for storage.

On the other end is the Yumbrella Ultralight Tripod. This is an umbrella rig designed for fishing smaller lures. It comes with three arms and a variety of baits.

This is just a small sampling of what’s to come at this year’s ICAST. It’s clear that the fishing industry is moving forward not only in developing new products but in refining the old ones, making them bigger, stronger and better.

Science and technology has helped with this trend. Of that there is no doubt. More important, however, is the need that anglers have to catch more and bigger fish, to improve their craft. We might not be able to reinvent the wheel but we can make it better.