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ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice: Best New Gear & Innovations

Our editors were in for a treat this year, with ground-breaking innovations, exciting new startups & a series of unlikely events.

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice: Best New Gear & Innovations

The 66th year of ICAST is sure to go down as one to remember in many event-goers' books. From game-changing innovations to unexpected celebrity appearances, ICAST 2023 had a lot in store for attendees, exhibitors and media alike. Personally, this was my fifth ICAST and has certainly claimed the top spot as the best yet.

What is ICAST?

ICAST is the world's largest sportfishing trade show that is exclusively for members of the fishing industry to attend. The general public is not permitted to attend the event. During the show, the biggest names in fishing, as well as up-and-comers, present the latest innovations, gear and garb for the media and attendees. Most of these new product drops won't be available to the masses for months to come, so we're here to share what we found the most exciting at the 2023 show.

Here are the best gear drops and new inventions that caught my eye. To see our highlights from the event, including a surprise concert from country music legend Toby Keith, see our ICAST 2023 Highlights article here.

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Lures

Alex the Alligator lures lined up on glass surface

A is for Alligator. Alex the Alligator that is. Natural Selection Lures introduced the world's first topwater alligator creature bait that will MSRP at $8.99

Bronco Bug Rapala lures

The Bronco Bug, part of Rapalas new line dubbed "CrushCity," looks to be a promising craw bait that promises a "lifelike bronco kick" snapback.

Rapala CrushCity the mayor paddletail swimbaits

Designed in conjunction with 2019 Major League Fishing world champion Jacob Wheeler for big bass action, I couldn't help but think a snook, redfish, or trout would absolutely clobber "The Mayor".

Shimano Jackall Bounty Fish

Shimano's new Jackall Bounty Fish is a walk-the-dog style bait with deep ribs and a unique mesh joint that should provide some erratic swimming action.

PowerBait Nessie

The PowerBait Nessie slow sinking glidebait from Berkley features a similar jointed body to the Shimano Jackall, but also sports a unique bristle tail. The Nessie secured the Freshwater Soft Lure category win in the New Product Showcase.

Strike King tidal shrimp

Can't go wrong with a good shrimp lure. The Strike King Tidal Shrimp features an ultra-tough plastic, mesh overlay, 1/4 oz hook, two line attachment points and comes in 8 colors.

X-Rap Magnum Xtreme

Rapala also introduced the X-Rap Magnum Xtreme this year in a variety of colors and prints to fit your fishing style. This model promises to swim true at 8-foot depths over 15 knot speeds.

Fish Razr 3-D Yellowfin Tuna Dredge Teaser

Take your trolling game to the next level with Fish Razr's 3-D Yellowfin Tuna Dredge Teaser. With the ability to be viewed from all angles, the extra dimension provided by this teaser is sure to make its presence known.

tiny fiddler crab lure

I couldn't help but get a kick out of this soft mini fiddler that seemed a little lost in the "hard lure" category amongst the 4-8 inch offshore-oriented lures.


ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Wearables

KastKing FishIQ sunglasses

The FishIQ sunglasses presented by KastKing work directly with KastKing's iReel & the adjoining app to give you casting metrics like the number of casts made, average distance, farthest cast, retrieve speed, and more. The sunglasses also boast noise-canceling ability and can play music via Bluetooth without the use of headphones. While I don't think these sunglasses have the ability to display information on screen yet, I can see this development coming in the future. FishIQ ($169) and iReel ($299 - $349) are available for preorder.

Costa Sunglasses King Tide

Costa Sunglasses made waves with their debut of King Tide, a pair of elite-level sunglasses in honor of their 40th anniversary that went on to win Best Eyewear in the New Product Showcase. Available in a 6- and 8-base wrap design the King Tide is made for elite anglers, with removable side shields, shark-inspired venting, top-of-the-line sweat management and non-skid hooding.

Bajio reader lenses

Bajio introduced reader lenses to their lineup this year, available on all models. Can you tell which lens is a reader lens and which isn't? Trick question, they both are! The Eldora frames, below, are also new.

womens outdoor jackets

As a woman in the fishing industry who is not particularly "girly", it's certainly been an uphill battle finding performance wear that isn't hot pink, form-fitting or leaving too much of my porcelain skin exposed to Florida's harsh sun. I was pleasantly surprised with the women's apparel selections this year. Fishe (right) always has fun designs and nearly every New Product entry from Duck Camp (left) had me wanting to drop some serious change on new additions to my wardrobe.

DSG Outerwear clothes on mannequin

Made for women by women, the crew at DSG Outerwear prides themselves on having the largest size range of any performance wear for ladies, up to 5X. Pictured are the new Nora II Sun Shirt with a removable gaiter in lilac and the Performance Fishing Pants with tool loops and adjustable waist in sharkskin.

FroggToggs HydroGrip Shoe

FroggToggs debuted their new HydroGrip shoe, which is notably lightweight and designed for maximum traction in wet and dry conditions but what stood out most to me was how incredibly plush the insert was. Felt like a cloud.

Korkers saltwater deck shoes

Korkers, a well-known footwear maker in fly fishing circles, has expanded into the saltwater market with these colorful non-slip deck shoes as well as flip flops, seen above in the lead photo, and ankle deck boots. Thoughtfully designed, these shoes can double as slip-ons and the fish patterns are only visible in the peek-a-boo section below and inside the shoe.

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Fishing Accessories

GoMist Drink and Misting Bottle from ExtremeMist

The GoMist Drink and Misting Bottle from ExtremeMist was a favorite among attendees and earned its place as the winner in the Novelties & Wellness category of the New Product Showcase.

Swimwell fish spray

Not sure about the science behind this one yet, but the more we can do to try to release our fish alive and well, especially with the brutally hot water temperatures we are experiencing right now, the better. A promising idea.

Charcuterie Safe from SubSafe

Another fan favorite, likely thought of after the introduction of the "snackle box" on social media, the Charcuterie Safe is exactly what it sounds like. Food safe and water-tight sealed, this new addition from the SubSafe brand is the pinnacle of fancy livin' on the water for the weirdos who love ultimate variety when snacking. It's me, I'm the weirdo. And I want one. Unfortunately, they are on backorder for now.

Nomadix towel

Dubbed "The Only Towel You Need," Nomadix proudly makes their towels with tightly woven recycled material and utilized dye sublimation for a durable print that withstands stains, smells and fading. Get a pre-made pattern or order a custom print of exactly what you need.

Danco Sports ECO-1 knives

Danco Sports partnered with Oceanworks to create the ECO-1 series that utilizes ocean-bound plastic to create the grip and sheath for this line of knives.

Engel rechargeable XL Bubbler

Engel's rechargeable bubbler gets an upgrade with the new XL Bubbler that boasts a longer battery life, higher capacity and improved construction.

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Kids Fishing Gear

Northern Lights paint your own lure kit

One of my favorite products I saw at the show, these paint-your-own lure kits from Northern Lights seemed like so much fun to tackle with the family. Each kit comes with non-toxic paint, brushes, hooks and up to 6 lures. A great way to get crafty kiddos involved in a fishing adventure.

Flambeau Outdoors Wild Bite Fishing Kit

Flambeau Outdoors aims to get kids their very own tackle box with the Wild Bite Fishing Kit that comes with pliers, a digging spade, hooks, bobbers, swivels, split shot and a guide on how to rig and catch various freshwater species. Retails around $15

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Tackle Management

Frogg Toggs Tackle Storage Tote

I'm all about practicality on the water. The Tackle Storage Tote from Frogg Toggs has all the main essentials in one place with easy access.

Rapala magnetic tool holder

Again, it's the simple things! Having what you need, where you need it when out on the water is essential.

BUZBE soft sided tackle boxes

BUZBE had some other entries in the New Product Showcase, including an item that placed in a Fly Fishing category, but these soft-sided boxes caught my eye at their booth and just seemed perfect for a kayak.

Rothco tackle storage bags

These tackle storage bags from Rothco had a unique tactical aesthetic that was exciting to see in the fishing space. I'm digging it!

Evolution Salt large tackle bag open

Evolution Salt showcased quite a few tackle storage options, this one being the largest of the bunch that seals all magnetically. Not sure if it's water-tight, but it was cool and fun to snap open and shut, open and shut...

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Rods & Reels

ICAST Best of Show award next to Tsuka 2 from American Tackle Company

Winning the coveted "Best of Show" award was American Tackle Company with the Tsuka 2, a seamlessly combined handle and reel seat that weighs only one ounce! I had the pleasure of meeting someone from their team during ICAST's On The Water Day and was able to sling this around for myself. It performed great, was feather-light, incredibly sensitive and is supposedly super durable due to its forged carbon fiber construction.

Shimano Stradic FM Best Freshwater Reel of ICAST

The Shimano Stradic FM took Best Freshwater Reel of ICAST and I gotta say, boy was it smooth!

Daiwa Seapower 1200 sitting on top of glass at ICAST

Another category winner, the Daiwa Seapower 1200 was both a looker and a performer, boasting exceptional speed and power at a price point of just under 1K.

Florida Fishing Products reels sitting on glass at ICAST

Some new additions from the Tampa-based company Florida Fishing Products were included in the Showcase. Although I've never tried the brand out for myself, I've heard amazing things about their gear and impeccable customer service.

ICAST 2023 Editor's Choice | Best New Power & Pedal

Power-Pole MOVE ZR on display in ICAST New Product Showcase

The MOVE ZR from Power-Pole proved to be a crowd favorite with its exciting display at their booth—which you can see in our social media coverage of the event (coming soon!)—and placed the bow-mounted motor at the top of its category. Made for both salt and fresh water, the MOVE features multi-layered corrosion resistance, compound fail safes and an indestructible aerospace-grade titanium shaft.

Newport Vessels NT300 display mounted on a wood plank

Newport Vessels introduced two models of electric outboard motors this year, the NK300 for kayaks and the NT300 (pictured) for mounting on smaller vessels like a Jon Boat or Gheenoe. Both models are non-invasive, a cinch to install and run quiet and clean. They also have a 66-mile range, can reach a top speed of 6.5mph and claim a hefty 30-hour run time.

Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 on display with best boat and watercraft award at ICAST

The folks at Johnson Outdoors Watercraft pulled out all the stops this year with what I thought was sure to be the "Best of Show"— the Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132. The perfect fusion of power and pedal, this electric power-assisted pedal drive is a game-changer in the kayak market allowing users to seamlessly transition between modes with the intuitive keys and screen on the drive. A simple back pedal will also disengage the powered propulsion.

GoBoat fishing vessel on display at ICAST 2023

Last, but certainly not least, a newer company dubbed GoBoat introduced an inflatable trolling motor-powered circular vessel that performed surprisingly well with on-the-water testing during Super Tuesday. With added surface area, the GoBoat proved to hold its own among other entrants and was way more stable than expected. Even crazier, is the price point. Name any other solo vessel of this type that comes standard with a trolling motor that rings in at $1,000 flat... I'll wait.

view from escalator at sign that says see you at ICAST 2024

It's been real (reel?) ICAST 2023. Looking forward to July 16-19, 2024.

To see our highlights from the event, including a surprise concert from country music legend Toby Keith, see our ICAST 2023 Highlights article here.

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