Crappie Magnet Loc N’ Knoc jig retriever, Smith Products Aluminum Pliers, Jenko Jig Box
Fishing for Crappie Tackle at 2021 ICAST
by Ron Wong
Although the 2021 ICAST show was not as big as it normally is, it was still impossible to see all the vendors. It is like being a kid in a candy store. You’re not sure which way to go when you enter the show.
After a year’s absent due to COVID, ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trade) opened the doors in July 2021 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida displaying thousands of new fishing products. Products include fishing lures, rods, reels, apparel, accessories and services. The event started on a Tuesday with the ICAST Cup tournament, Live on the Water Demos and the opening of the New Product Showcase, where attending buyers and media members were eligible to vote on 28 categories of fishing products.
Due to lingering effects of COVID, this year’s show did not have a full slate of vendors. During a normal year there are over 800 vendors, this year about 400 vendors were displaying products. Most international companies did not participate this year. However, there were plenty of products to see and all the booths were very busy.
New crappie fishing products comprised mostly of new sizes, colors and tweaks to existing products.
Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company will begin offering a 2.25-inch Slider Grub this fall. This grub is the built the same as the poplar 1.5-inch Slider Grub.
Roadrunner Lures has a couple of new offerings: the Vibe Runner and Weedless Slab Runner. The Vibe Runner partnered with Bass Assassin for its’ curl tail grub rigged on a Roadrunner head. The Weedless Slab Runner partnered with Bobby Garland using its’ baby shad rigged on a Roadrunner head that is weedless.
Due to the increased use of the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope, there were quite a few new items to accommodate those fishermen. Downsizing lures is the trend for those that use the live scope technology. Crappie Magnet introduced the Dancer, a 2-inch paddle tail bait. Lots of action that will be good for casting or pitching to fish with sonar. It has a slow fall so the bait will stay in the strike zone longer. This bait should be available by September 1.
Bobby Garland introduced the Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R. It is a 1.25 bait compared to its’ 2 and 3-inch bigger brothers. This bait is now available in retail outlets.
Jenko Fishing introduced several new baits at ICAST. The 1.5-inch Mermaid has been added to the Big T Fry series and comes in a new color – gold digger. It is 1-inch smaller than the original Mermaid. The Jenko Kevin Rogers Series Warbird, a tied feather jig, now has a small brother, a 1/32-ounce jig that should be available early fall.
Also, in the Kevin Rogers series of baits, a 1/32-ounce Warhead jig was on display and should be on store shelves soon.
Quite a few new crappie rods were displayed at ICAST. B’n’M Poles displayed the 75th Series rod and reel combo.
It is a one-piece high modulus graphite rod paired with an all-new 7 + 1 bearing reel to match the rod.
This combo was introduced to help celebrate B’n’M Poles’ 75th Anniversary in 2022. B’n’M also introduced the new Diamond series high-modulus graphite jig pole that will be available in 8, 10, 12 and 14-foot lengths.
At the Lew’s display, the Wally Marshall Classic IM8 graphite rod was introduced. This rod has all stainless-steel guide and inserts with a lightweight reel seat. It will be available in a medium-light action in lengths 5.5 to 7.5-feet.
At the Jenko display, the all-new X-series crappie rods were shown. These high-end rods are made with minimalist carbon fiber reel seat and ALPS guide system by Batson to reduce the weight of the rod. The 13-foot jig rod weighs a mere 7.5 ounce, and the 15-foot rod weighs only 9.7 ounces. The X-series also has a 10-foot jig rod.
There were several crappie fishing accessories at ICAST that most fishermen would like to procure once they become available. Smith Products displayed the Regal River brand aluminum pliers. There are 2 models, one with snap-ring feature and the other with straight needle-nose. These are multi-use pliers that will crimp fishing weights and cut fishing line. These pliers are now available at retail outlets.
Jenko introduced the Big T Jig Heads Storage box. This double-sided water-proof box with foam inserts will keep your jigs secure and provide a way to track your jigs easily. It is now available in tackle stores and online at www.jenkofishing.com. Crappie Magnet showed off the Crappie Magnet Loc N Knoc jig retriever. A simple insert your line, twist the locking mechanism and drop it to your snagged jig, jig it once and your lure is freed. Owner Jeff Smith said, “I must be the dumbest business owner around as I sell jigs”. With the increasing cost of especially hand-tied jigs, this will help you save your favorite jig.
NEW ELECTRONICS – “Best of Show”
In the fishing electronics, Humminbird won “Best of Show” in the electronics category with its new Mega Live Imaging transducer. With the included ethernet cable, you can connect the transducer to compatible Humminbird units such as the SOLIX APEX or Helix 8-15 G3N and you are ready to use the technology. This unit should be available early fall.
One common theme from all vendors/booths – consumers need to be patient. Manufacturers say raw materials are hard to get, plus many products are coming from international manufacturers now have much longer lead times due to on-going COVID issues present in respective countries. Shipping issues are also causing delays in products getting on retail shelves. However, all tackle companies are optimistic that they will have new products in time for Christmas.