We are a week removed from ICAST and thought it time to wrap up our trip to Orlando, Florida for the big fishing show. Kayak fishing was once again well represented in the large world of sportfishing.
I've seen some folks online complain about the lack of innovation in kayak fishing at this year's show....well, companies had their hands full trying to keep up with demand over the last 2 years, so it was all hands on deck in production. That means a lack of hands and time for R & D. So, I wasn't shocked to see a muted display of new models, etc.
But it was good to be back at the show. This year I took Spencer, our Warehouse Manager, down to the show. ICAST presents a great opportunity to see the massive size of the fishing industry, and our place in it.
The NRS booth had some fun stuff including the NRS Pike Pro Package collab with YakAttack. The Pro Package includes: $1795
- NRS Ripple Kayak 2pc Paddle
- YakAttack RotoGrip Paddle Holder
- YakAttack MultiMount Cupholder
- YakAttack MightyMount Switch
- YakAttack BlackPak Kayak Fishing Crate
- YakAttack Omega Pro Rod Holder with Track Mounted LockNLoad Mounting System
That's a lot of goodies!
Also found a some new river attire for my wife with this river dress:
Lastly, the Slipstream two seater raft rig looked really cool! So small you could load it into a truck bed.
The BIG Adventures booth, aka Bonafide / Native Watercraft / Hurricane, had some interesting items and a leaked prototype blueprint for their soon to come river fishing kayak, the RVR119. Hans Nutz designed this kayak. He's got a good track record with the ATAK and Recon for Wilderness Systems, and the SS127 with Bonafide. So I'm giving this thing a thumbs up, because Hans track record is solid.
The interesting development? Bass Series fishing rods built in the US with US blanks. Manufactured in NC? Maybe. Interesting direction from Bonafide. Will it work? Depends on how the rods perform. Either way, I'm a fan of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Lastly, but not least, Hurricane is poised to release a new model soon, the Osprey. It's an updated version of the Skimmer style sit on top, lightweight and stable. I loved the look of this kayak! I'm increasingly interested in good lightweight rec/ fishing models. The Osprey looks to fit the bill.
YakAttack will be releasing some special colorways in OD Green and Tan styling and they look really good. We will have some of these items headed our way soon. Here are the colors represented in BlackPaks.
Jackson Kayak was showcasing their new release the Knarr fishing kayak. This is the best iteration of the Flex Drive to date. It carries good speed and the kayak reacts well in maneuvering. We sold out of our first shipment of Knarrs quickly, but should have more in stock in the coming weeks.
Hobie announced a new model, the rotomolded Passport series. The thermoformed Passport series has had a tough road with production issues, so this didn't come as a great surprise. It's a solid offering that will most likely cannibalize the Compass in the line up. The Passport Rs come with GT Kick Up fins and retail for under $2k. That's a good deal.
Hobie ran us through all the improvements to the 360 drive. It sounds as if they've been continuing to innovate and improve upon this tech.
And Hobie also took us out fishing at Osceola Outback Adventures where Spencer and I each got to catch a barramundi. This is the only licensed place in America where you can catch this famed Australian game fish. Spencer dragged his through the mud. :)
One kayak they offer that is lost in all this shuffle, is the Outback. It remains a really good fishing platform. I took one out for a spin after the show and found some specks. :)
NuCanoe debuted a lot of QuickConnect systems for their line of fishing kayaks, from pedal to motorized, etc. We will be bringing in some of this gadgetry as it has been sought after from our loyal NuCanoe customers.
Old Town was at ICAST with their Sportsman series of kayaks. None of these are new, but they continue to rule the market right now. Each is a very solid offering, and the Sportsman launch remains one of the most successful brand pushes by anyone in our industry. I fish from the Bigwater quite a bit and it remains a fantastic vessel in the pedal drive market.
All in all it was a good show. Spending time with everyone in the fishing industry and paddlesports industry is a fun time and informative. Next up is Big Gear Show in Utah to see a few other vendors. As preseason programs continue to get launched earlier and earlier, it increasingly looks like ICAST might be the best show. August is staring to feel too late and increasingly our industry is driven by fishing or kayak fishing related activity. Big Gear Show appeals to me because it is outside, and so I'm giving it another chance, but it doesn't feel like enough folks in paddlesports are doing that. ICAST on the other hand, shines every time with bright lights and participation.
Spencer certainly enjoyed his first experience, despite having to be convinced that this in fact was not a car for him: