ORLANDO, Fla.— The first full day of ICAST is a wrap. Yes, Super Tuesday came and went, but Wednesday was the first time attendees were free to roam the show floor, and with 24 hours of ICAST in the books, we’re taking a look at the weird, wacky and wonderful of ICAST (so far). 

The Weird

Zombait—an amazingly useful and disgusting way to reanimate the corpses of dead baitfish. The setup is powered by a single A battery that Zombait officials say will last 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of your rotting corpse. It’s practical, putrid and positively unusual.

A dog in a baby stroller. FTR contributor Nathan Benson witnessed a dog in a baby stroller on the show floor. The as-yet unnamed canine was being supervised by a woman holding a beer. Weird points + 2.


Bat lure— Savage Gear released what they’re calling the “ultimate reaction bait,” which is definitely shaped like a bat, and definitely took home best freshwater hard lure. The 3D bat lure is a hard body walking bait…coming soon!

Boujee Buckets. Multiple five gallon buckets in the New Product Showcase featured MSRP’s over $100. That makes $39 for the YETI bucket (a category winner) look like a bargain. I’m not sold on whether or not one would ever need a bucket for such a price, but if you manage to sell it, the margins could probably pad your pocketbooks nicely.

The Wonderful

Quantum G-Force- Quantum is introducing a new G-Force signature series from Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle. That rod, company officials say, is an ode to the gold, Tour Swindle rods that were discontinued years ago despite popularity. “It’s an all new rod,” McGuckin adds, “but it’s definitely from the same lineage.”

Quantum Smoke S3. The third generation Smoke retails for $169, and manages to fit a 35.5mm spool into a small frame, forgoing much of the line loss that’s come with the reduction in popular reel profiles lately.

Revised Revo. The Revo X, SX, and Premier are all new from Abu Garcia. That line will range from $100-$300. We’ll have a full breakdown later this week.

LIVETARGET looks to make waves with the Baitball Spinner—a sort of small, Alabama-rig style bait that mimics a school of baitfish. The lure features four teaser baits surrounding a willow blade, trailed by larger, target bait. LIVETARGET officials say the hookup ratio is exceptional, and the bait’s compact size allows it to be fished more like a spinnerbait, and less like a large, Alabama rig. The product was in development for more than five years, and will be available to retailers in November/December.

On the saltwater side, LIVETARGET’s Mullet Hollowbody took home best soft lure. It’s available in 3/8 oz, 1/2 oz, and 5/8 oz, and promises to deliver a relatively snag-free, topwater experience using a single, custom-made hook.

Lowrance 60th Anniversary celebration. Legacy fishing giant Lowrance is celebrating 60 years in the game. At ICAST, that meant a packed booth rife with product giveaways and throwback, hat swag.

ICAST is moving to the Orange County Convention Center’s North Concourse next year. That move brings the main show area to within arm’s reach of ICAST On the Water, which appeared to garner a resurgence this year, after struggling in 2016 at Lake Toho. It’s also a nice change of pace for a show that’s been in the same exhibit halls for going on half a decade.

Kick Plastic Campaign. The Costa-sponsored Kick Plastic campaign is trying to eliminate much of the 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year. Kudos to Costa. That’s a movement we can all get behind. The movement is partnering with a group called World Cast Anglers that helped eliminate 60,000 single-use water bottles by using refillable water bottles. They’re currently partnering with other outfitters and charters across the globe to continue the mission.

Jay Baer. Baer was featured at the ASA Industry Breakfast, which highlights problems and solutions swirling around the sportfishing industry. Baer delivered a stand-up address with an overarching theme: selling fishing as an experience. Too often, Baer says, we sell fishing as a list of technical specs and readouts that only the most hardcore anglers can relate to. In reality, anglers are born out of simple experiences on the water that they want to recreate time and time again. Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters, is available online.

Garmin VIRB 360- Garmin’s 360 cam could revolutionize the action camera market in fishing. No more fishing out of frame when a bass runs to the back of the boat—the single camera can record it all.

Best of Show winners. Nearly 30 awards were handed out Wednesday night for ICAST Best of Show winners. Perennial victors like St. Croix, Shimano, and Eagle Claw were joined by repeat sophomores Trapper Tackle, and burgeoning brand 13 Fishing. Humminbird took home their seventh straight Best Electronics award for the SOLIX 15 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS.

The ICAST fun continues all week as we get into the meat and potatoes of the industry’s largest trade show. Check FishingTackleRetailer.com for updates all day, and Facebook.com/FishingTackleRetailer for live video from the show floor, where industry veterans Patrick Sebile, Nathan Benson, Ken Duke, and I tackle the newest products right from Orlando.