ORLANDO — Stroll down just a few of the aisles at the 2009 ICAST show in Orlando, and you'll quickly realize that fashion is not the exclusive province of Paris and New York. There's plenty of fashion right here in the fishing world ... if you'll just look for it.
Whether it's rods, reels, lines or lures, there's plenty to study and buy — if you want to be "with it." This is just a glimpse of what the well-equipped angler will be wearing, casting or using in 2010.
All around the ICAST show floor, the new rods are taking on a distinctly "Japanese" look. They're losing their foregrips (and with them plenty of unnecessary and undesirable weight) and getting more colorful.
The look started in Japan and is now gaining traction all over. Bright colors are "in" for next year, and losing unwanted ounces will never go out of style. Don't be caught dead with your flabby and drab rods in 2010.
If it worked as a hard bait ...
Sometimes innovation comes disguised as modification. That's certainly true with many of the baits at this year's ICAST show. From the new soft plastic version of Sebile's Magic Swimmer (which won the show's best soft lure prize) to Yum's Money Hound (the soft version of Heddon's Zara Spook), manufacturers are finding potential by loosening up their plastic mixes.
The reason for the transition is threefold: (1) the soft versions can be fished with a single hook — often Texas rigged — so they're more snagless, (2) soft plastic baits are much cheaper to produce (less paint, hardware and cheaper packaging), and (3) they work, so the manufacturers are confident you'll line up to buy them.
Click here to check out our video on the subject.
This is not your father's kayak
Taking the Best of Show award this year was the Hobie Mirage from Hobie Cat. It was one of several stylish, sleek and absolutely loaded kayaks at ICAST this year. These craft are far from the stripped down models that were the norm until recently.
Electric motors, livewells, electronics and other gizmos that would be "extras" on a full-sized bass boat are standard equipment on these new generation kayaks. Amazingly, the craft are still light, maneuverable and offer a cost-effective alternative to much larger boats.
Faster than a speeding crankbait
For 2010, the big trend in reels — and especially in casting reels — is speed. Whereas 6:1 has been a standard until recently, several of the big dog reel manufacturers, such as Daiwa and Quantum, are now making 7.3:1 Crankensteins that pick up more than 30 inches of line for every turn of the handle.
While these reels might seem ideal for lipless crankbait or spinnerbait fishing, pitchers and flippers are going to love them because they'll quickly take in line and allow them to make more presentations over the course of a day.
And there you have it — several of the big fashion trends coming out of ICAST 2009. Don't commit the ultimate fashion faux pas in 2010 by being "caught" without them.