Let’s talk medal count — you know, the part of the Olympics where they recap what each country has won. Well, the ICAST New Product Showcase is a little like the Olympics, except there’s no Silver or Bronze — just gold.
The new Minn Kota Ultrex was the big winner, taking best Boating Accessory and Overall Best of Show. It’s Minn Kota’s first win in the Boating Accessory category in two years (2014 – Ulterra) and first Overall win since 2002 (Co-Pilot).
St. Croix’s Legend series continues to claim industry hardware in the Best Freshwater Rod category. In 2012 it was the Legend Extreme. This time it’s Legend Glass. Either St. Croix or G.Loomis has won six of the last seven awards for Best Freshwater Rod.
St. Croix and Shimano have dominated the Best Saltwater Rod category for the past decade, but Lew’s broke through this year with the Mach Speed Stick. In fact, Lew’s had the best of it with three wins in the rod and reel categories — Best Saltwater Rod, Best Freshwater Reel and Best Combo.
After four straight years of G.Loomis winners in the fly rod category, St. Croix has claimed the last two. This time it was the SOLE.
There’s a new sheriff in the Freshwater Reel category, too. After years and years of dominance by Shimano and Abu Garcia (Pure Fishing), Lew’s took top honors in 2016 with the Team Lew’s Custom Pro SLP. After resurrecting the brand just a few short years ago, Lew’s has made great strides.
Penn (Pure Fishing) continues to dominate the Saltwater Reel category, winning for the third year in a row. This time it was the Slammer III spinning reel. Penn has now won this category four of the last five years.
Pure Fishing’s success continues in the Fly Reel category, where a Pflueger (President) wins for the second year in a row. Last time it was the Medalist.
The Lew’s Mach II Speed Spool Combo took Best of Show for the Mach II Combo. Last year it was the Mach I. This gives Lew’s three consecutive wins in the combo category.
Another repeat winner is Savage Gear in the Hard Lure category. Last year they won for their Hard Shrimp. This year it’s the Suicide Duck, a lure that looks like a … duck.
The Squidnation Longtail Flippy Floppy was named Best Soft Lure, giving Squidnation its first-ever win and making it the second saltwater bait to win Best Soft Lure honors in the last three years. This is a category that’s usually dominated by freshwater baits.
We’ll have more “Medal Count” tomorrow.