This is our ICAST Issue so hang on to your seat!
This newsletter will be all about ICAST and what we have seen. And since we have been in Orlando, Florida for ICAST this week this issue will not have any pictures or product specials as we think giving you immediate and timely info on all the new fishing products takes precedent over our typical features. At least this one time! We’ll be back on schedule in two weeks with our newsletter that will include many new ICAST items that should start arriving by then, all of your pictures, some new deals, and lots more. But for now it’s all about ICAST.
If you’re not familiar with the ICAST show it is the largest fishing tackle dealer show in the world and usually the venue where manufacturers introduce all the new gear for 2013. This year’s show was held in Orlando, Florida and in my humble opinion was the best yet. Attendance was up around 30% and we guess that exhibitors were up as well. Lots of new rods, reels, and gear was on display from last Wednesday until Friday. So this news is about as “hot” as you will get.
What we’re doing this issue is breaking down the new stuff by manufacturer, so take a look below to see what’s new and information on availability, specs and pricing (if available), and whatever description we could get. Here’s what we saw:
SHIMANO – There is no doubt in our mind that Shimano is the leader in high quality fishing gear. This year’s new products only served to confirm that belief. But just as important as all of their new products was the absolute commitment by the Shimano management team to raise the bar even higher as far as customer commitment, communication, and service is concerned. Our take is it’s great to have new products, but even better when innovative products are coupled to a fanatical commitment to you, the person who actually uses the gear.
First and foremost is the all new Shimano Calcutta “D” Series reels. With the new Calcutta “D” the bar has not only been raised, but totally redesigned and redefined. Think quality, function, form, and longevity. Most of you who read the last newsletter already know about these superb reels, but actually having one in your hand is so different than catalog pictures or spec sheets. First, they are one size smaller than the old Calcutta’s, so the 200 size is about the same dimensionally as the old 100 size, but with the expected 200 size line capacity. They replace the Calcutta CTE series in the 200, 300, and 400 size reels. A new smoother drag, closer-to-the-side plate handle, new more rigid body, and S-SHIP components are all new with this reel. The “regular” Calcutta CT series reels will continue to be made. Right hand retrieves are shipping, left hands will be November or later. Although these Calcutta “D” reels don’t jump out at you with extreme looks or the like, they are truly revolutionary and one of the most exciting products we saw at ICAST this year.
This year Shimano has redesigned several of their “mid-range” spinning reels. The Shimano Saros Spinning reels have been completely updated and obviously improved. They now have a X-SHIP high efficiency design which simply means finer tolerances and a better reel. The body is what Shimano calls XGT-7 graphite material which means the reels are a bit smaller and lighter but a great deal stronger. All have the same line capacity as before. They all have the rapid fire drag which is smoother and can actually handle larger fish than would be typical for reels this size. These new reels are beautiful and offered at a great price given the features. 1000, 2000, and 3000 size reels are shipping, the 4000 size will be about 60 days later.
The Shimano Symetre has been one of the more popular Shimano spinning reels and now there is a new “FL” series Symetre that has been completely redesigned. The reel body is smaller and more compact yet the performance is better than ever. Again, S-SHIP design and gearing, a new bail, and a new dark metallic green color. Features like the Shimano varispeed II oscillation, shielded bearings, etc. are all still there. All reels are approved for saltwater as well. The 1000, 2000, and 3000 size reels will ship in September, the 4000 size about 45-60 days later.
Although we haven’t been stocking the Shimano Sahara spinning reels that’s all about to change with the introduction of the Sahara “FE” spinning reels. Once again the overall reels are a bit smaller, but strength, performance, and operation is dramatically improved. These reels also have the XT-7 graphite frame and offer some fantastic bang-for-the buck to any fisherman, whether he be a weekend angler or a serious tournament fisherman. They’re that good!
If you’re a billfish fisherman then you will be elated with Shimano’s all new Talica 20BFC Conventional reel. This is one amazing engineering feat from Shimano. The reel is lighter but with a much more rigid frame. The gears are oversized and will allow you to retrieve 60 inches of line per revolution. Only by actually having this reel in your hand and then turning the crank can you appreciate just what 60 inches line retrieve per handle revolution is all about. It’s like nothing you have ever seen before! The line capacity is awesome and the drag allows for an ultra-low 3 lb strike setting as well as a 15 lb full fight setting. And that’s on a drag curve that is specifically designed for billfish. The clicker is new as is the handle which is also lighter. Gear ratio is now 6.7:1 These fantastic reels are shipping now!
Just as with the reels, Shimano has updated some of their rods this year as well. Basically there are two complete series updates: Cumara and Tallus.
The Cumara rods are all new for 2013 with new higher modulus blanks and improved performance all around. There are 23 brand new models with new reel seats, new blanks, new components, and superb performance hereto unseen in these great rods. These new Cumara rods will begin shipping in the late fall and details for now are a bit hard to come by, but we know these will be exceptional rods for Shimano and certainly raise the bar for mass produced high-end rods. Be sure to check our web site periodically for news and updates on the Cumara rods.
The Tallus saltwater (boat) rods have also been updated and these rods were actually on display at the show. Now this is a boat rod! New TC4 blanks mean rods that are lighter with smaller diameter blanks yet far more powerful. Each is designed for braided line use and have some great guides and reel seats that compliment the ergonomic foregrip. As we understand it these new Tallus rods will ship within 30 days.
Then there’s the new Orca top water saltwater lure. Folks, this lure is already “hot’ with Shimano in a backorder situation. And we can see why. Two sizes: 6.3″ X 2 oz (OT160JE) and 7.5″ X 3 oz (OT190JE) in 6 different metallic colors. These “plugs” can be vertically jigged, cast and jerked back, or just retrieved letting the changing internal weight make its own action. Delivery is beginning now, but demand already exceeds supply, so we’re ordering up and hope to have these available within a few weeks.
Almost as exciting as the new Shimano reels and rods and lures are the new Shimano bags and gear. Two new models of Shimano tackle bags feature Plano utility boxes and fantastic high-utility design. There are 3 new reel cases with the largest about the size of a steamer case – it will accommodate Several Tiagra 130 reels! Also in the gear department are 3 new Shimano Baraja worm binders that are reasonably priced and very, very well made.
There are also some new t-shirts, technical gear, jackets, and sweatshirts. It’s all good looking stuff, but due to limits of space will we can’t get into all the details now. What we can tell you is it’s all great stuff you will definitely want to add to your shopping list.
In summary we couldn’t be happier with what we saw and heard from Shimano. They have some great new products and are totally dedicated to all of us who fish. We find that extremely comforting!
G. LOOMIS – Well folks, it just keeps getting better and better! New for 2013 is an all new GLX line of rods. 18 models are shipping any day and the other 20 or so rods will be released late fall/early spring. Now it may be hard to imagine improving on the legendary GLX rod, but we can assure you it HAS been done. Think new, custom G. Loomis reel seats that arespecific to each model, totally redesigned blank tapers on many rods, lots of “I wish I had” new models including a 7’11″ flipping stick, Fuji SiC Titanium Frame Guides, Split Grips, lighter weight…well, you get the picture. It’s safe to say that this is the best rod made if you exclude the crème de la crème NRX models. We hope to
have greater details in our next newsletter, but watch our web site as when these babies come in we’ll have them listed that same day.
Speaking of the world’s best rod, the G. Loomis NRX line of rods is being greatly expanded for 2013. We know there will be some new, lighter line weight fly rods, some new 10 ft models, some new spey rods, and possibly some “pro” 1 pc saltwater fly rods. There are also rumors circulating about a line of NRX saltwater rods, but no details were available at the show. What we did see was some of the new NRX fly rod models which, by the way, won Best of ICAST Show for fly rods this year. Look for a continuous flow of new and updated rods from G. Loomis over the next few years. Just like Shimano, the folks at G. Loomis are totally dedicated to their customers as well as making the very best fishing rods in the world. So far they are definitely on track.
There is also some new G. Loomis gear that includes a couple of pieces of luggage – a duffle bag and a cargo roller bag. Now this may not sound like exciting news, but it really is. First, these bags are beautiful and better made than previous G. Loomis gear bags. Better, they are priced at about the same price as 5 years ago (lower if you adjust for inflation). Best, they signal that G. Loomis is (slowly) getting back in the tackle bag business. We expect to have these two models soon, so keep checking our web site for arrival info.
G. Loomis sort of blew it last year as far as clothing goes. There’s a very legitimate explanation for this faux pas, but who cares? This is today. And today there are some new hoodie sweatshirts, jackets, fishing shirts, and technical gear that’s really exciting. We’re even getting some G. Loomis vented fishing shirts! And Loomis is making promises of more to come. Availability should be within 30-45 days and we’ll make sure to include any new arrivals in the newsletter(s).
DAIWA – We’ve never understood why Daiwa keeps giving away market share to competitors, but that’s exactly what they’ve done over the last few years. Perhaps with some of the exciting new products this year that trend will stop or at least noticeably slow down.
An absolute stunner this year is the brand new Daiwa Steez EX reels. All new for 2013 these are magnesium framed low profile casting reels with new oversized swept handles, new spools, carbon fiber drags, 12 bearings, and lots more features we just don’t have time to go into detail about. Best of all, however, are the gear ratios with a Super Fast 7.9:1 retrieve ratio the fastest. there’s also a 7.1:1 and a 6.3:1 Drag pressure is 13.2 lbs and each reel weighs a scant 5 1/2 oz. Daiwa promises we can have these reels within 30 days, so we’re already getting excited!
Going head-to-head against the Shimano Curado reels are the new Daiwa Lexa series reels. The 100 series Lexa’s come in 7.1:1, 6.3:1, and 4.9:1 retrieve ratios with left handed models also available in all 3 ratios. The pricing is $139.95 There is also a 300 series Lexa that goes up against Shimano’s Curado 300 reels. The Lexa 300 series reels come in 7.1:1 and 6.3:1 retrieve, both available in left hand models as well as with or without a power handle grip. Price is $199.95 Overall we like these reels, but will have to do some field tests to see just how they compare to the Shimano competitors.
There is a new Daiwa TWS reel this year. After last year’s disastrous introduction of the “t-wing” level wind reels let’s hope these reels will show up before early 2013. If they do it will be a welcome improvement. The new TWS reel is a model T3BL100XS and is the Fastest Retrieve Ratio we have ever seen at an amazing 8.1:1 retrieve ratio – that’s 34″ of line each crank! This reel looks to be a winner and at $269.95 will most likely fly off the shelves.
There’s also 2 new Daiwa Steez Spinning reels – a 2508 and a new 3012 model. These are nothing less than fantastic reels and include the Daiwa Magnetic sealed oil system, air bail, Zaion body material, 15 lb drag, 13 (!) bearings, and so much more. They’re scary good, amazing to look at, designed by pure geniuses, and friggin expensive at $769-$799 But, if you want one of the best spinning reels ever made then this is your reel.
The Daiwa Lexa spinning reel is also new. Impressive looking with lots of features for the $119-$129 asking price. It has a front drag and feels very smooth. We like the gold/gunmetal/black color. We don’t like the 9.9 oz weight in the 2500 size reel.
Saltwater-wise there is a new Daiwa king-of-the-hill Dog Fight reel. It’s the Saltiga 7000 Dog Fight saltwater spinning reel and safe to say this reel is “bad”. 66 lbs max drag and a price of $1,399.95 should give you a pretty good idea just how “bad” this reel is. 14 bearings, 5.7:1 retrieve, and 30 oz weight make this a reel for those who aren’t intimidated by 1,000 lb + fish!
Rod-wise not much to report from Daiwa. Overall we do think Daiwa is getting their act back together and this year’s new reels speak volumes to us about the “new” Daiwa. Now if we could just get some new, updated Steez and Zillion rods!
SUNLINE – We love every Sunline fishing line we sell. They’re so well made and so reliable, they make any other line look like factory seconds. That said Sunline has two new products this year: The new SX1 braid tells us Sunline is committed to braid. This new series of braided lines comes in 10, 12,16,30, 40, and 50 lb test and compliments the FX2 Sunline braid. Color is deep green and spool sizes are 125 yards and 250 yards. We expect to have this early fall.
Also new is the Sunline Finesse FC fluorocarbon line. This is similar to the well known Sunline FC Sniper lines, but is a softer, more supple line yet retains the expected abrasion resistance that is typical for fluorocarbon lines. Comes in 8,10,12,14,16, and 20 lb test; spool sizes are 200 years. Color is clear. This new line also has low memory and lays on the reel spool well. If you’ve been reluctant to try fluorocarbon lines due to their “springiness” take one of these new Finesse FC lines for a test drive. It will surprise you.
ECO-PRO – This is an exciting year for Eco-Pro with the introduction of several jig heads that include flipping jigs, football jigs, gnat jigs, shakey head jigs, LR bead head jigs, and several more. Remember that Eco-Pro products contain NO LEAD – They’re made from Tungsten which means smaller sizes for the same head weights as well as environmentally responsible fishing. Now you can carry that same environmental responsibility over to your jig heads. Well made, well packaged, and allows you to “do the right thing” environmentally. Should be available in about 2-3 weeks.
Also from Eco-Pro is an absolutely innovative umbrella rig that they call the “Roll Tide Rig” (yes, we get it). This is a rig that has replaceable arms, as well as 2 lengths of arms and can be fished several ways. It’s impossible to describe without pictures, so watch for our newsletter with all the details. This will be a true “must have” for every tackle box!
Eco-Pro also has some new punch weights and a saltwater umbrella rig that will blow you away. Unfortunately details are limited at this time, but we’ll be telling you about them in future issues of the newsletter.
CABLZ – Now this is a pretty simple line and so we figured “what could be new?” Answer, the brand new CABLZ ZipZ adjustable sunglasses (or just regular glasses) retainer. So amazing that you gotta say “how is it that I didn’t think of that?” heck of an idea and one we hope to show you in our next newsletter!
EGO2 LANDING NETS – We just love EGO2 telescopic landing nets. They’re super high quality and they Float! You really have to think of EGO2 as a “system” that includes a telescopic handle along with various “heads” such as landing nets, gaffs, etc. that can be screwed on. This year EGO2 has added scrub brushers, deck mops, lure retrievers, and (most impressive) a rod holder extension system. the rod holder extension blew us away and is so practical that it’s another “why didn’t I think of that” product. It virtually eliminates the need for various length rods when trolling or fishing different methods. We’ll have more details soon – it’s another product you have to see to appreciate.
Also new with EGO2 is a paddle head (saves space for that requisite paddle), tournament culling beam, weigh slings, and 3 different aluminum measuring rules. Good stuff from one of our favorite manufacturers!
KOPPERS LIVE TARGET – This line just keeps getting better and better, this year no exception. 2 years ago they introduced the hollow and walking frog lures, last year the hollow field mouse, and this year so much more.
First up is the new crappie crankbaits and lipless rattlebait lures. Sizes are 2 1/4″ (1/4 oz) and 2 1/2″ (3/8 oz) in the crankbait and 2 1/2″ (7/16 oz) and 2 /34″ (5/8 oz) in the lipless. there will be 3 color variations and all lures have Daiichi hooks. There is also the new Tilapia wakebait and lipless rattlebaits which come in 2 1/2″, 3″, and 3 1/4″ sizes. These come in 2 colors and promise to be a big bait for southern/western bass.
The Live Target Lure that won ICAST Best of Show 2012 Hardbait is the new Frog Popper. 5 colors, 2 sizes – 2 1/2″ (1/4 oz) and 3″ (1/2 oz) this is definitely going to be the next hot lure for bass. Absolutely stunning and sure to produce some trophy fish, the popper front is clear plastic matted to what looks like s swimming frog. An amazing lure that everyone will have to have in the tackle box.
Also from Live Target is a new larger hollow body frog as well as some new colors for all hollow body frogs. New colors for walking frogs as for blueback herring, rainbow smelt, golden shiner, and threadfin shad. There’s also a new bigger hollow body mouse as well as new, jointed crankbaits in the ever popular yellow perch motif. Finally, there are some new squarebill crawfish crankbaits as well as some new deep dive (14′ to 18′+) crawfish crankbaits.
We’ll be adding many of the new Live Target baits as they become available which will probably be toward the beginning of December, 2012. Stay tuned!
COSTA DEL MAR – Two new, exciting things from this wonderful product line: Clear frames and new ladies frames/sunglasses. Given this report is being written by a man, I can tell you the clear Costa frames are just crazy good lookin’ Even old farts like me look good (I think) in these clear frames. As we understand it there are at least 3 frame models and then a choice of up to 6 different lenses. With the ladies stuff it’s just too much to try and detail here, but we will try and mark all new items as “new” on the web site as well as tell you via the newsletter when all this new stuff arrives.
TUF-LINE – Here’s a line of lines that has really taken off recently. Perhaps it’s the umbrella rig craze which “Alabama Rigs” has designated Tuf-Line as the recommended line or maybe it’s just because this company has been listening to fishermen and offering them what they tell them they want. We think the latter. Anyway, here are 2 new products: Tuf-Line SuperCast braid which feels like monofilament line and casts like braid and the slow sink Tuf-Line HeviCore which slowly sinks rather than float on the surface like almost all braids do.
The HeviCore is unique due to its high strength PTFE core. The SuperCast is special and actually round rather than flat braid. Both lines will be available in green and hi-vis yellow. Tests for the HeviCore are 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 65, 80 lb and spool sizes are 100, 125, 300, and 2500 yards. SuperCast is available in 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, and 30 lb test and 100, 125, 300, and 2500 yard spools.
Otherwise, that’s about “it” folks for ICAST as far as American Legacy’s interests are concerned. We saw lots of stuff that we were interested in, but given our very stringent criteria for new products there just wasn’t much more that turned our cranks. We hope we have provided some insights into what we were interested in and felt strongly about.
Our next newsletter will be out in 2 weeks and we promise to go back to our usual format. We’ll make sure we have some of the ICAST products we have reported on featured along with lots of pictures, features, etc.