Next week kicks off one of my favorite events of the year – the ICAST show. It’s when all of the tackle manufacturers come together to unveil new products for 2017.
Like many other Elite pros, I will be there working for my sponsors. The excitement and anticipation at this show is over the top, and I love being a part of it.
The Bassmaster Classic, of course, has become a mini-ICAST of sorts, as several manufacturers introduce new products then as well. But in many cases, those products are designed specifically for that event with hopes that the winning angler will be using them and help springboard sales during the early tackle season.
ICAST introductions, meanwhile, represent the unveiling of fishing gear you won’t see on tackle shelves until later this year or early 2017.
It’s amazing how companies go to great lengths to keep things under wrap before ICAST for fear the competition will copy them.
That’s especially true in the highly competitive electronics market, where companies battle fiercely for market share. That competition has forced companies to step up their innovations and anglers have benefited. Many of those innovations found in high-end models one year are passed down to more value-priced units the next, a trend I expect to continue this year.
Humminbird spearheaded that movement last year with its Helix Series that provide bright, user-friendly screens with key features like mapping, side imaging and down imaging at affordable prices.
You’re going to see that trend in other tackle being introduced next week. Last year, Quantum launched a Team KVD baitcast reel for $79 that is a very good reel at that price, and you’ll see several rod and reel manufacturers offering more high quality equipment at great prices.
A lot of this has come about because of social media. The voice of the consumer has never been louder, and tackle companies are reacting to consumer demands. They want quality and value in their gear.
I can’t let the cat out of the bag about everything Strike King is introducing, but I can tell you that we’re coming with new sizes and a lot of new colors in our popular models as well as some entirely new baits. We’re going to open some eyes with the new KVD Poppin’ Perch, a hollow body bait that’s similar to a frog but not a frog. It’s a very unique bait that has a lot of innovative features, incredible action and liveliness.
Most anglers have no idea how much engineering and time goes into something as simple as a soft body bait or even a crankbait. The Strike King designers and pro staff work for months to get a bait right before introducing it to the public. We’re already working on new baits for the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, 2017 ICAST and beyond!
One of the many things I love about my job is being involved in tackle innovation, and that’s what makes the ICAST show so special to me and one of the highlights of my fishing season.
I suggest you check Bassmaster.com daily next week for new product announcements. Be the first among your buddies to hear about it.
It’s all about the attitude!