8 New Products at the Bassmaster Classic Expo

GREENVILLE, S.C.— When it comes to new product launches, ICAST is the undisputed king of the fishing tackle world. But when it comes to consumer shows, that title shifts to the Bassmaster Classic Expo. With 100,000 anglers expected to visit the show this weekend, it’s no surprise that several companies chose to launch new products at the TD Convention Center.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the standouts. 

1. St. Croix’s Classic Quintuple

St. Croix Rods hit the expo hard with the release of five new bass fishing rods. The affordable Mojo Bass series (around $135) adds two technique-specific sticks—the Mojo Bass Power Shake and Mojo Bass Dock Sniper. Meanwhile, the bell cow Legend Tournament series (around $295) bolsters its lineup by two as well, with its own version of the Dock Sniper and a Pitchin’ stick.

Rounding out the party of five is a spinning addition to the red hot Legend Glass series (around $260), which has been in high demand since its category win at ICAST 2016.

2. Shimano’s Stella Surprise

News about an update to the Stella line dropped just a few days prior to the expo. The premier, $700 spinning reel from Shimano is legendary not only for its price tag, but also for its quality and dedication to innovation. The latest rendition, The Stella FJ, fits right in.

Stella FJ is available in five new models; and Shimano says its improved durability while basing the new Stella on its legendary HAGANE concept.

3. Lew’s Pro Ti SLP

Packing 11 bearings into a polished, low-profile frame, the all-new Lew’s Pro Ti SLP joins Stella on the short list of reels starring in a Justin Timberlake video. FTR got hands-on with the Pro Ti SLP outside of its sealed hall of mirrors, and the first take is a buttery smooth retrieve that silkier than JT’s voice.

At $350, the Pro Ti SLP won’t come cheap, but it seems poised to earn its keep. Its slickest feature? A handy line indicator knob, which anglers can set to remind themselves whether fluoro, mono, or braid (for the obsessive compulsive) is spooled up. The dial is reminiscent of the detailed, common sense touches that sometimes appeared on classic reels from the early part of the 20th century. It’s a nice, perhaps unintentional, nod to a Lew’s brand that’s synonymous with bass fishing history.

4. Lowrance FishReveal

We covered this in a standalone article earlier this week, but Lowrance deserves extra credit for a free software update available to EliteTi, HDS Gen3, and HDS Carbon units. FishReveal blends overlays from CHIRP and DownScan imaging to give anglers more information on the orientation of fish. It’s worth a quick look, and at free-ninety-nine it’s the most affordable product release at the Expo.

Also included in the free software update from Lowrance is High Visibility Color. This one feature alone is worth the time to upgrade, but you’ll need to be a HDS Carbon user to take advantage.

5. G.Loomis E6X Redux

The debut of E6X turned heads in 2015 for its sub $200 price tag. The original E6X was the most affordable casting rod to date from Loomis; but three years later, company engineers say the E6X was in need of an update. New at the Bassmaster Classic Expo, the revised E6X features smaller guides and a lighter tip, along with a refreshed clear coat finish—all features the G.Loomis team says make E6X a better performer and provide a longer lasting finish. The price tag? Less than $150.

6. Garmin’s Ultra HD Add-On

Make no mistake, sonar companies have taken note of the popularity of Humminbird’s MEGA Imaging. The race is on to deliver the most precise, clear imagery of the watery depths, and Garmin has thrown their hat into the race with its Ultra High Definition system—a black box and transducer that can be added to GPSMap and ECHOMap Plus combos.

Starting at $599, Garmin Ultra HD is a comparatively affordable add-on for high end sonar users that want crystal clarity. Ultra HD scans at between 800khz and 1.2mhz, and Garmin says it works at up to 200 feet deep.

7. Plano’s KVD Signature Series Tackle Bag

Tackle bags have long been the “cool kid’s” tackle box. This year, Plano—appropriately—unveiled a new KVD signature series of its 3600 and 3700 tackle bags. Highlighted by Plano’s Utili-Tackle Rail system with 17 attachment points, these bags pay homage to the four-time Bassmaster Classic champion.

KVD didn’t take home his fifth title this year, but at $99, his signature tackle bag is sure to find its way to the top of shopping carts around the country.

8. Daiwa Tatula 150

The popularity of Tatula has helped Daiwa regain significant ground in the bass fishing world over the last five years. New for the Bassmaster Classic Expo, Daiwa has unveiled a new, 7-bearing Tatula 150. Daiwa’s pro staff were raving about the 150’s 100mm handle, and the reel’s proficiency at both deep cranking and flippin’. The Tatula’s aluminum frame and side plate keep it light, while a price tag of about $160 keeps it an affordable option for performance seekers.