ICAST

The new Humminbird Meg 360 imaging sonar unit can cover a 250 feet circle around your boat.

ORLANDO — Around the world, sport fishing is big business, and each year manufacturers gather at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) to debut and promote any product related to any type of fishing.

A boatload of new products are released and showcased at ICAST. While many folks will certainly think of lures, rods and reels. But there are many other accessories and gadgets related to fishing at the show. From sunglasses, to trolling motors, kayak carriers to fishing apparel. All have a spot at ICAST.

This year about 300 companies showcased 1,004 new products. Some were designed more to catch anglers than fish. One thing was evident at this year’s show and that was technology is prominent in most aspects of the fishing industry.

Electronic manufacturers Garmin and Lowrance both introduced electric trolling motors. Each company touts the power and stealth of the new motors. Lowrance calls their new unit Ghost while Garmin labels their motor Force. Both units design with special motors to reduce noise and electronic interference with sonar gear.

Each trolling motor can be coupled with their respective brand of GPS/sonar. The transducer is built into the unit, so no separate wires or cables are needed to connect. Both trolling motors can be operated with remote control and coupled to a GPS unit to hold the boat’s position on any lake.

About GPS/sonar units, Humminbird introduced the Mega 360 imaging sonar. This can display a complete sonar picture 250 feet around your boat. The unit uses a separate, independently mounted sensor. So, the sonar picture remains the same no matter what position the trolling motor turns.

Fishing from kayaks has become very popular in recent years. And many current and new manufacturers were displaying their fishing kayaks. Hobie won the new product showcase award for its new Mirage 360 angler. The mirage is 12 feet long and weighs 105 pounds.

“This kayak uses the new mirage 360 drive technology," said Chris Holmes, kayak angler and representative for Hobie. “With the new drive anglers can turn the kayak 30 degrees while pedaling.”

Also, the drive unit has the new kick up turbo fins. If the fins strike an object under the water, they retract on impact. The fins can easily be snapped back into the drive position.

Strike King Lure company entered the fishing line market with their new fluorocarbon and braided lines. Power Pro introduced Moonshine Braid. A braided line with an incandescent coating that glows under a black light. Great for catfish anglers at night.

New from Gerber are some filet knives for salt and freshwater. The knives are made with heavy-duty stainless-steel blades and sure grip handles.

“The knife blades have a scalloped etching on the sides to help prevent the vacuum or sticking when fileting larger fish,” said Claudia Heath of Gerber.

Booyah Bait Company introduced a new spinnerbait called the Covert. This redesigned blade-bait has a special shaped head that helps prevent side torque on retrieves. The wire is a non-plated nickel-titanium in smaller diameter to allow more vibration from the premium Hildebrandt willow blades.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net.

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