Each summer the world’s largest tackle show called ICAST is held to promote new products that will be available in stores the following year. The 2019 ICAST show was held in Orlando, Florida last July. This is a tackle show that is for manufacturers, buyers and media from around the world. These shows will attract up to 15,000 people from over 71 countries.

The show features the latest innovations in fishing tackle, gear, marine products, apparel, coolers and other lifestyle categories. Products are judged in each category and to be crowned Best of Show is a huge recognition that all vendors seek. Showing that ICAST rated your sunglasses or fishing reel as the best new product for the year is a big deal in marketing the product.

One of the areas at last year’s ICAST show with many new innovations was electric trolling motors. Garmin, Minn kota, and Lowrance introduced new concepts in trolling motors that have really improved the battery life and the quietness of the motors. Some of these electric motors no longer use brushes extending the battery life and making them a much smoother running machine. The Garmin Force trolling motor won “Best of Class” at the 2019 ICAST show.  

The Hummingbird Helix 7 won “Best of Class” for ice fishing sonar equipment. The Helix 7 combines high quality sonar with a GPS system on the same screen. The competition in this field is intense with all the major brands introducing new and improved concepts in sonar and GPS technology, so to win first place in this area in really an accomplishment.

The competition for first place among rods and reels is also very intense. All the major companies enter the contest and to be selected the best is a huge marketing advantage. Lews, a very historic company rod and reel manufacturer, won the “Best of Class” with its Mach Smash Baitcasting Rod and Reel.  Shimano, another classic rod and reel company, won top honors with two of its reels, one a fresh water bait caster; SLY DC, and the other a salt water spinning reel; Stradic FL.

Anyone interested in seeing the winners in all the judged categories can go to the 2019 ICAST website and view the new products that are now in stores around the country. Want to know who has the best eyeglasses, tackle storage systems, outdoor clothing or crank baits? It’s all listed on the website. The amazing thing to me is how much all these products are improving year after year. 

RAY GILDOW is a northern Minnesota fishing guide and outdoor writer. 

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