You got a glimpse of the ICAST award-winners when we published Hot New Fishing Gear - ICAST 2019 Best of Show Winners, and we took a closer look at the Ghost Drag, Deeper Shoreline Fishfinder, and Bubba Blade Lithium Ion fillet knife in More Hot New Fishing gear from ICAST. Now, let's get a little more detailed with some of the cool items you might want to put on the Christmas list.
Humminbird MEGA 360
New marine electronics hit the market each and every day, but only one will take home the Best Electronics prize at the ICAST fishing tackle trade show each year. This year’s winner? Humminbird MEGA 360. This is an imaging sonar that utilizes MEGA Imaging’s uber-high frequencies to see in uber-sweet detail, as it makes 360-degree rotating sweeps around your boat out to 125 feet in every direction. On-screen (it’s compatible with Solix and Helix models) the imagery looks very radar-like. The biggest difference is that it’s easy to tell what you’re looking at, because instead of blips and blobs you’ll see details levels that allow you to spot the individual branches on a submerged tree – and the fish swimming amongst them. That’s pretty dang cool, but what’s even cooler is the ability to touch an object you see on-screen and create a waypoint over it. You can also choose between six different beam rotation speeds, zoom up to 10x, and overlay range rings so you know exactly how far to cast when you spot fish or structure on-screen. Transducers are compatible with Minn Kota Ultrex and Fortrex trolling motors, and as we go to press the system should be available in a matter of months. Price: $1199. Visit Humminbird to learn more, and check out our on-the-scene ICAST preview video.
Shimano Stradic: Stradic-Tacular
If you’re looking to get a new set of spinning reels so you can slam those stripers with spectacular success, you’ll want to know about the model line voted Best New Saltwater Reel at ICAST: the Shimano Stradic FL. Wait a sec – Stradics have been around forever, so what’s so new about ‘em? Shimano like to emphasize continuous evolution in their gear, and for 2019 they’ve taken a number of steps to improve the already uber-popular Stradic. Gear teeth have been boosted to include the MicroModule II system thus reducing vibration; cold-forged HAGANE gears boost ruggedness, and the spool is now a Long Stroke for farther casting ability. What’s really cool here is that Shimano has taken some of the design features from the flagship Stella line and incorporated them into the Stradic. What’s really shocking is that they’ve done so without busting the line’s $200-and-change price-point. Sizes range from a 1000 to a 5000, and gear ratios run from 6.0:1 to 6.4:1. Jiggers will likely be eyeballing the ST-C3000XGFL, which holds 140 yards of 20-pound Power Pro, brings in 37-inches of line with each turn of the crank, and has a cross-carbon drag. We’ve have four of this reel’s previous Stradic incarnation (the FJ) in heavy saltwater service for eight years now without a hiccup, and an ancient 2001 model that’s required exactly one bail roller replacement through 18 continuous seasons of use in the brine – so we feel pretty confident in saying that new reels in the Stradic series are likely to enjoy some serious longevity. Price: $199.99 to $229.99. Visit Shimano to learn more, and watch out ICAST video below. We need to add in, however, that since this piece ran in New Gear we've had the chance to lay our hands on a Stradic FL 3000 and hit the Bay. Net result? We feel it's everything Shimano promised. The Stradic made our list of the 10 Best Fishing Reels You Can Buy after the FK was released, and yes, Shimano's topped it with this new version.
Electric Trolling Motors
In other ICAST news it was the year of the electric trolling motor, though these initial intros are for freshwater only (darn – you salty guys will have to wait). The surprise here is that new models were introduced by a pair of electronics companies: Garmin and Lowrance.
Garmin rolled out their Force trolling motor which won the Best of Show award. Features include a brushless design and the ability to run on either 24 or 36 volts (80/100 lbs. thrust), a wireless foot control, “anchor lock” virtual anchoring, and a waterproof handheld control with “gesture control” that allows you to point the controller and have the motor shift direction to follow. A GT54 transducer is built in, and you can get 50- or 57-inch shaft length. Price: $3099.99/$3199.99. Visit Garmin for more info.
Lowrance introduced the Ghost trolling motor, which is also brushless, includes virtual anchoring abilities, can run on 24 or 36 volts, produces 97 or 120 pounds of thrust, and integrates (including on-screen controls) with HDS LIVE, HDS Carbon, and Elite Ti2 units. An integrated HDI transducer comes standard and can be upgraded in the nosecone, and initial shaft length is 47-inches (more will come in the future). Price: $2,999. Visit Lowrance, to learn more.