KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — 5,500 fishing fans packed the launch ramp on Day One of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. That figure set a record for blast off attendance at bass fishing’s most meaningful tournament. By Day Two, rumors swirled that even more fans had come to see their favorite anglers off. Many of them filed into the Knoxville Convention Center afterwards for the Bassmaster Classic Expo.
Inside, they navigated jam-packed aisles to meet pros, purchase tackle, and—increasingly—to see new products.
In the overall world of fishing tackle, ICAST is the undisputed king of product releases. But for the bass fishing segment, the Bassmaster Classic Expo is closing the gap with its trade-focused cousin. This year’s expo saw the debut of a bevy of new products from manufacturers looking to cash in on the Classic spotlight. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
At Shimano, a new, flagship Antares 70HG bait casting reel is sharing the spotlight with four new Poison Adrena bass rods. St. Croix Rods has launched three new bass technique-specific rods that lower the entry level for their glass cranking rods and bolster the revered Legend Glass line. Across the aisle, Daiwa is tagging in with a special, anniversary edition Tatula FW100 rod and reel set, along with the flagship Steez CT SV, CA80 bait casting reel, and new Regal and Procyon spinning reels.
BOOYAH is riding on the coat tails of the freshly released Toad Runner, Jr.
PowerPro is shining their own light with a glow-in-the-dark, Super8Slick V2 Moonshine braid, that’s specifically targeted to night anglers. It’s so new that PowerPro hand delivered it to retailers at the Expo. Elsewhere, Power-Pole is causing a stir with their revolutionary new Power-Pole Charge, energy management accessory.
Here’s a cursory look at the Charge, as explained by 2012 Bassmaster Classic Champion Chris Lane.
And speaking of electronics, Garmin came out swinging with a new ECHOMAP Ultra lineup, which brings features from their premier GPS Map lineup into the popular ECHOMAP series.
At the Bassmaster Classic Expo, virtually every direction you wander in will have some form of new product designed specifically to attract bass anglers.. Some, like Berkley’s Jordan Lee series of soft plastics, are specifically designed to take advantage of past Classic success.
Meanwhile, retailers like Land Big Fish and Thorne Brothers are swarmed with customers looking to take advantage of show deals.
In Knoxville, it’s becoming impossible to walk anywhere downtown without spotting Duckett’s signature, white rods that have been flying out of the convention center thanks to a three-for-one sale.
A half-decade ago, a product debut at the Bassmaster Classic meant a share of a limited spotlight. Make no mistake: product launches the Expo are nothing new; however, the quantity of products that manufacturers are debuting has been increasingly rapidly in the 2010’s. The rise of social media, online marketing, and immediate media coverage means products that are seen first at the Expo can be seen by the world in a matter of minutes.
The end result is a show that’s becoming an increasingly popular place to debut new products—one part ICAST, two parts Black Friday, and all about bass.