The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. The ICAST, in Las Vegas, Nevada. And what a show it was. I walked around the whole three days and every day I saw something new. There were hundreds of booths and manufacturers that were showcasing their new products, and products that have been a staple for years, only to add new tweaks and twists to them. Admittedly, this was my first opportunity to attend such a great event. I can safely say, it will not be my last trip here. As a charter boat captain and angler, it was great to be able to see what everyone has been working on for the past year. There were a few items that really caught my attention. Most of them were things that have never been seen on the market. As long as we have been trying to refine the industry, it was evident, this is still possible. Just when we think we could not see anything new or innovative, there was many surprises here. Of course we tend to get a little complacent with the “big boys” in the trade. But, the “big boys” brought their new toys and completely rocked the fishing world with them. Most impressive to me was how simple these new designs were. I have to mention Plano Tackle systems. With the “Best in Show” award, the newly designed Hydro-Flow tackle box was a huge hit. We have all seen it. Water retention in our stow-away tackle box carry cases. They have designed a system to let the water weep away and giving way to a dryer and more manageable tackle box. No more dumping out water after your trip and waiting for it to dry before packing it up for the next trip. Just a great example of a new twist on a very dependable staple. One of the products I was totally fascinated with was a brand new one. The “Cush-It” from LunaSea. As long as we have been fighting fish with a rod and reel, we have been getting bruised and battered from the end of a rod. Sharp and hard, notched, all the things we deal with to catch big or small fish. Ending a day of fishing is not supposed to be something we walk away from with battle scars. Bruised hips, battered bodies and considerations about whether or not we want to go back, is counter productive for an activity that is supposed to be enjoyed. The Cush-It has completely eliminated the pain associated with fighting big fish on stand-up gear. With the three different sizes, the stand up is only one of the types of fishing that benefits from this amazing product. Simple, efficient and cost effectiveness can be summed up very easily with this one. From A to Z, this year’s ICAST was a huge success and not to mention the best of the best attending it this year. I was able to get interviews with the likes of Bill Dance, Jim Zumbo, Al Lindner and more. From new lures to the best in the clothing manufacturers, like TopWater Clothing. Brad Aultman has some of the best designs to top of the line quality. I was proud to be able to get in the mix with an early showcase of new and great things to come out very soon. I would advise everyone to pay close attention to the new additions to the line up this year and look at what the shelves will hold this coming year.
This is Captain Craig Mann for the Western States Sportsman. I want to wish tight lines and huge success to all of you in the outdoor world. Please make it a safe one and take a kid. We have a responsibility to take care of our earth and our children. We are only here for a short while and all we truly own is our legacy. Make that a good one.