The International Convention of Allied SportfishingTrades show (or ICAST as it is commonly called) is just two weeks away and I amas excited as ever about attending the mammoth fishing event, which is beingheld once again at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. 

This will be about my tenth trip to ICAST and everytime I attend the show I feel like a little kid who has been given the keys to Disneyland.  Thatis how it feels wandering around the convention centre filled with thousands ofbuyers, sellers and members of the outdoor media from around the world.  

Despite what a lot of anglers think, however, ICAST isnot open to the general public, nor is it the place where you can purchaserods, reels and lures for your next fishing trip. 

Instead, it is where everyone heads to get a sneakpeek at the new fishing products that will fill the shelves of tackle storesshortly.  Everything from ground-breakingrods, innovative reels, novel lines, killer lures and must-have fishing accessories.  

 In effect, it is the fishing industry?s answer to theAcademy Awards and Grammies all rolled up into one gala week-long event.  Although some days it feels more like the RinglingBrothers and Barnum and Bailey circus.  

The good folks at Outdoor Canada Magazine send mesouth each year to research the show, talk with manufacturers and industryinsiders, sleuth out the top fishing products that I think will be of the mostinterest to Canadian anglers and then write about the items in the Outdoor CanadaMagazine Fishing Edition.  

One of the benefits of having attended so manyprevious ICAST shows, is that I've made many good friends in the industry whonow keep me informed about the exciting new products they going to unveil atthe show.  And let me tell you, thisyear's list of new products is exceptional.    

 For example, I marvel every year at the newinnovations in fishing line.  I mean,when you think about it, how can the various companies keep improving on thestuff?  But improve they do.  Like Pure Fishing's new Nanofil line that isthe thinnest fishing line that has ever been produced.  

The Pure Fishing folks say that the new spinning line pushes the limits interms of minimum diameter and maximum strength and having seen a couple of Nanofilsamples, let me tell, you they're not kidding.   This stuff will make spiders turn green withenvy 

It is also ultra-smooth and incredibly thin which means you're going tobe able to cast a jig or a lure further than you've ever done before.  

So what is Nanofil? 

Well, accordingto the Pure Fishing folks ... "it is a line that consists of hundreds ofDyneema nanofilaments that are molecularly linked and shaped into a unifiedfilament fishing line".   My head isstill ringing from reading that, but having seen the stuff up close I can tellyou it is industry talk for the thinnest, lightest, strongest, most sensitivefishing line you have ever used.  

 Trust me - youwon't believe it when you first see it! 

Another thingthat has me excited is seeing Navionics new waypoint storage application - orApp - that will allow anglers to save and transfer data and information betweena whole host of devices. 

Buddy ChrisGatley at Navionics was telling me about a charter boat captain friend of hiswho was field testing the new APP and dropped his phone overboard while fishingalong the east coast.  Fortunately,before he lost the phone he saved all of his recent waypoints to the Navionics server.  

 Anyway, to makea long story short, while he was waiting at the dock for his next charter toarrive, he entered some "hot bite numbers" via the new Navionics mobileapp, activated his Navionics private account, and hit the "Sync Data"button.  The waypoints were thenautomatically delivered to the plotter sitting on the dash of his boat.  

As Chris alsochuckled, "He got his new phone yesterday and knowing him, he probablyaccessed his Navionics account and downloaded all of the waypoints for that hotbite to his iPhone while he was sitting in his La-Z-Boy drinking a beer." 

On the lurefront, there are companies like Gary Yamamoto Baits, that tell you they'regoing to be unveiling new products and you automatically know they'll bewinners.  I mean, hello, is there anyonewho hasn't fished with a Senko! 

So, when goodfriend Ron Colby, who is in charge of just about everything at Yamamoto Bait Company,including research and product development, tells me to hold onto my hat, youknow I begin to salivate. 

Ron is all giddythese days about the new Kinami Flash Shad.  It is a soft jerkbait / fluke style softplastic that has an incredible tail wag when you team it up with a bellyweighted hook, pause it and allow it to sink. 

How special isthe lure and the wag?  Well, Davy Hite hasplayed a big role in its development and was using a prototype when he finishedsecond at the recent B.A.S.S. Elite tour event on Lake Murray.   Come to think of it, earlier in the year, Hitealso won the Elite series event on PickwickLake in Alabama using a swimbait.   Hmmm ......  

And if this isn't enough, the Yamamoto folksare going to be formally introducing the Hula Swimmer at ICAST this year.   It is a 4.5-inch long swimming Senko that hasa 12 point skirt on the nose and webbing in the center to flare it out on thepause.  Take a look at this and tell meit isn't sweet.

And while we'reon the subject of sweet, the folks at VMC are going to revolutionize drop shotfishing with their new Spinshot zero twist drop-shot system.  About the only drawback to fishing a dropshot rig is the line twist you can encounter. And anglers new to drop shotting, often have trouble tying on theirhooks to get them to kick out and stand horizontally.  The new Spinshot system completely eliminatesboth of these problems.  The VMC folks showcasedthe Spinshot zero twist system at the recent EFTTEX show in Europeand it was met with rave reviews.  Youcan bet that ground swell of support will explode at ICAST. 

(Part 2 tofollow) 

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