July 13, 2023
A rod component as Best of Show at ICAST? You better believe it.
In another ICAST surprise, American Tackle Company’s Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle was named the best new product at the annual fishing show in Orlando Thursday afternoon. Up against other eye-opening innovations in trolling motors, fishing kayaks and space-age materials for lures, reels and tackle, the Tsuka 2 beat out 36 other Best of Category winners to win the coveted prize.
A loud cheer emanated from the American Tackle crew in attendance when the award was announced in ICAST’s New Products Showcase in the Orange County Convention Center. AT’s Darrin Heim was pretty pragmatic about it all.
"You can’t catch fish without rod components because you wouldn’t have fishing rods [without components]," he said. "But the fact of the matter is we’re such a dedicated team to product development, to fishing, to getting products out to the marketplace that this is a big win for us.
"It validates rod components as products within the fishing industry so we’re super happy.”
The feeling around the show seemed to pin Johnson Outdoor’s Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 fishing kayak, or Power-Pole’s Move ZR trolling-motor system as the favorites to win the award, but while those two whiz-bang products won respective Best of Category awards Wednesday night, it was the foot-long Tsuka 2 that won.
Built for the modern rod-building angler, the Tsuka 2 features an ergonomic trigger handle that ensures comfort and ease of use, the company said in its promotional product snapshot.
American Tackle Company Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle features
- 1-ounce matte 3K carbon handle for light weight and durability.
- Single-piece construction.
- Blow-molded forged carbon fiber.
- Amplified handle sensitivity.
- Matte 3K carbon foregrip sleeve has an aluminum trim for added style.
- Molded rubber end cap and aluminum check for ex\tra protection.
- MSRP: $129.99
So, was the win also a big surprise for Heim and his crew?
"It is, but to be honest, we’ve been working so hard the last several decades in trying to create new trends and innovative products that this is kind of validation. You know, rod components can win awards."
It was another Best of Show surprise at ICAST. Last year, upstart cooler company PacBak beat a number of well-known brands to win the award with its P88-MK Combo, a first-of-its-kind product that allows anglers to fillet and vacuum-seal their catch and put it directly on ice. In 2021, Berkley’s Powerbait Gilly swimbait, a line of realistic soft-plastic baits designed in collaboration with professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli, took the honor.
Check back with gafmag.com for more info on the Tsuka 2.