ICAST was a success

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Gettys Brannon

I’m taking a few minutes to write this before I start practicing for the HUK Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y. It was kind of surreal to leave the heat, hustle and bustle of ICAST on Friday and arrive here to the serenity and cooler temperatures of upstate New York.

As I sit here thinking about the show, I’m left with a feeling of encouragement for where our industry is. There was a real air of excitement around the show that hasn’t been as noticeable the past few years, and it seemed from the size of the show floor, and the participation, that the show was a success.

The last time I have felt this much buzz from ICAST was in 2009 when I signed with Eagle Claw TroKar and we introduced my Wright & McGill Co. Tessera and S Curve Rods. We were just starting to come out of the economic downturn, and there was some excitement about what was to come as an industry. 

This was the first year since that I saw some companies take some chances with some products in an attempt to be innovative and truly create something new, and there was a different feel on the floor from the participants and attendees.

I spent my time in my sponsor booths at Wright & McGill / Eagle Claw TroKar, Berkley, HUK, Lowrance and Lucky Craft. I shot a ton of videos for them about their new products, I had some meetings with buyers and got to discuss some new stuff for ICAST 2018 as well.

I was really excited for HUK when they won Best of Show in the footwear category. It was their first time in that category, and to see their work rewarded like that was really cool. Besides their shoes, they released their new casual clothing as well as some new performance fishing garments that were well received too.

I spent some time playing with the new Lowrance HDS16 Carbon, and I already know that I will use one of those next year in place of the two 12-inch HDS units I’ve been running on my dash. The overall screen size is plenty and one 16-inch unit will provide a savings over two 12-inch units, so that’s the direction I will go when rigging my Ranger next year.

As far as the rest of my sponsor’s products, Lucky Craft introduced the new Sammy Bug topwater bait, which is kind of a cross between a Jitterbug and a prop bait. When I shake it in my hand, it sounds like a dinner bell ringing, and is quite possibly the loudest topwater bait I’ve ever heard; I can’t wait to get on a bite with that thing.

My telescoping Wright& McGill Co. rods are steadily growing and gaining in popularity every day, and the feedback on the floor was very positive. These rods were built as a result of me suggesting to B.A.S.S. that the 8-foot rod rule was old fashioned, and they took it to the rules committee where the rule was adopted. Since then, we’ve seen the category grow, and those who have tried them are experiencing great results. 

TroKar came out with a new Bladed Swimbait hook that I’m pretty fired up about, and from the people I talked to, I heard a lot of good feedback about that one too.

Outside of my sponsors’ stuff, I am pretty excited about the amount of kayak fishing stuff that is coming into the show every year. I really feel that kayak fishing is a great and cost effective way to get – and keep – people fishing. The more companies that produce products to help anglers have better results and enjoy their time on the water more, I’m all for it. The coolest example was that Bote Paddleboard with the 9.9hp Mercury on the back. That thing let you get to places you wanted to fish quicker, but still operate with complete stealth once you did get there. 

After seeing the industry on display, my favorite part of ICAST is seeing all of my friends from all aspects of the industry. Any time you get a chance to see the whole industry on display; and celebrate it with your friends, it’s a good thing.

I left Friday mid-day, and caught a flight to Syracuse to get my truck and boat and head up here to Waddington. Now, it’s time to settle in and try to make a late season charge in the final three events of the season. 

I’ll check in with you later, no go fishing and get off the computer.