ICAST SHOW 2012 Orlando hosted the world’s largest fishing tackle show last week at the Orange County Convention Center. It was huge and everyone interested in selling or buying fishing gear was their. The economy may be down but the attendance was record breaking and retail dealers spending money. I visited with numerous guides and local tackle dealers there. The awesome assortment of gear was unbelievable!
I was impressed with how big and diverse the fishing apparel has grown. Some of the shirts and clothing was colorful and looked great but very functional. Sun blocking has gotten our attention; no one wants skin problems. I’ll have to design some new art work and get some hot new shirts!
Rods and reels keep improving at light speed. I’ve been fishing the Quantum’s Cabo reels mostly for the last decade. The drags are great but I had a few issues. They listened and fix the drag knob and bail roller pick up. They also beefed it up and made it even lighter. New products won’t be available till First of the year but they are coming with big improvements; much better exterior finish and housing materials too.
Bagley, Cotee, Key Large, and gold spoons are back into production and gearing up to come on strong. Captain Morris Campbell of the awesome fishing yacht “Lady Di” home ported on Boca Grande was helping with research and promotions. The products have the same tried and true forms but improved finishes and hooks. The productive, Bagley Finger Mullet has stronger inner wiring too. The gold spoons have been upgraded also. The Cotee Jigs are my favorite offshore for snapper fishing, that red eye seems to help. Traffic was so good they ran out of promotional material.
Charlie’s Worms also caught my attention their soft plastics are vivid colors and realistic finishes. Their pearl white glows powerfully. They also had nice lures, jigs and jig heads.
EZE-LAP Diamond products may become a captain’s best friend if you like sharp knives and hooks! Check out www.eze-lap.com to look at their impressive selections. They have sharpening stones also.
You know how hard it is to find a good, sun block lip protection product. Try Dermatone’s lip balm, they even have a 100% natural SPF 23. you can also get coffee or green tea flavors! They offer a complete selection of products for sun burn protection; www.dermatone.com
There were so many lines, lures, and gadgets I got lost and confused by the assortments. The best news is the fishing tackle industry is excited and looking forward to another good year. While we face serious issues with fishery miss- management especially on the federal stage the industry is optimistic!
My friends at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group had an impressive display that took up two spaces. Their Bleeding Bait Circle hooks are all we use for whitebait fishing! Their hook and lure assortment is huge! Daiichi hooks are the sharpest available! TJ started the red hook concept because his red laser caught the bass’s attention in the tank at shows. They make those ‘Target Beads” that almost eliminate double hooked minnows for us. If you enjoy trout, crappie or bream freshwater fishing try their Road Runner products. They have all the bases covered with a proven track record in the crappie circuit! Many of their spinners also work on trout and redfish here. I even use the Crappie Thunder bodies for my pompano tip its. They last much longer than shrimp and offer a big selection of color options. Also if you still fish with mono their Reel Magic helps protect it keep it softer so it casts better.
I’ll be back on the water this week and looking forward to bending the rods again. Tarpon or snook are available for catch and release fun; strong fish and exciting action. Baitfish will continue to be a challenge so I’ll be using some artificials to keep us fishing more. Trout and redfish are open if you’re looking to bring home fish dinner. We have a shot at mackerel and maybe snapper or grouper near shore if the winds are calm. It’s great to be able to enjoy the area while it’s so quiet, the crowds are gone. Let’s go fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>