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ICAST 2023 Coverage


Hardbaits at ICAST, from Swimbaits to BFS


Date: 7/31/23
Tackle type: Lures - Hard Bodied
Manufacturer: Various
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: This year at ICAST hardbait manufacturers seemed to focus on extremes, with a number of notable introductions in full sized swimbaits and on the opposite end of the spectrum a number of tiny lures designed for BFS. There were a few other interesting conventional baits where manufacturers added patterns or additional features. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting baits at the show, both big and small.


Designed for topwater fans is the Spro Walking Haint 125 a walking oversized pencil style bait that features a loud knocking rattle and is designed to be easy to walk with simple rod pops


Stephen Young from Spro shows us the size of the new Walking Haint


The Spro Sashimmy Swimmer is a four jointed swimbait designed by Pro Angler Brian New


The Sashimmy Swimmer will be available in 105mm and 125mm sizes


The Spro Chad Shad 180 is an injected version of the popular KGB custom resin swimbait


Spro worked with KGB to create a plastic version that would be more accessible to anglers. These versions offer different patterns and can be more translucent


The Ghost Trout pattern looks great and is extremely detailed


Spro is also ramping up their hardbait storage game with new wraps...


...and waterproof storage no-divider boxes designed specifically for wraps


Spro is also launching new rigging boxes that are great for preparing leaders and rigs. This is a useful box for both swimbait and walleye anglers


DRT has once again partnered with Fish Arrow to introduce new swimbaits


The VT-Jack 210 and VT-Jack 23- are one piece swimbaits that can be tied on top or under the chin for different presentations


Like many other DRT baits the VT-Jack is designed to look downwards with the tail out of the water


The baits feature some great patterns and the familiar DRT V-Tails


The Fish Arrow x DRT Dart Jack is a giant pencil style bait that emits a loud rattle and moves a lot of water when fished on the surface


The Dart Jack can be walked or darted and features the V-Tail from the Klash 9


Daiwa's Proex Bessie is a 6.5" oversized spy-bait that was designed in collaboration with Nishine Lure Works


The Bessie is designed to target both Muskie and Largemouth bass and features 3X 4/0 black nickel hooks. The bait is available in floating, slow sink, and fast sink models weighing from 4.5oz. to 5.5oz.


The Adusta Barbatos is a bait produced by Japanese Big Bait hunter and maker Satan Shimada


The Barbatos is designed to be a shallow-range big bait for fast retrieves


The bait can be customized with various tails and features various line tie positions to alter action. This bait will retail for $85 dollars each


Italian baitmaker Molix is introducing an affordable glide called the Glide Bait 130. It features soft fins and rotating hooks and will be available in a variety of patterns for only $24.90 each


Molix is also introducing a lipped glide called the Glide Bait 178 LIP. The lip design gives the lure a more erratic movement that is designed to mimic nervous baitfish. This new lure also features soft fins and will retail for only $26.99


One of the most interesting swimbaits at the show comes from Gomexus, a company best known for their affordable handle upgrades


Gomexus is looking to demonstrate their ability to design unique products of their own and is looking to bring a metal-bodied swimbait to market


The bait is still in prototype phase and it will be interesting to see how the metal bodied bait will hold up, and what they will be able to do with the sound and movement


One feature that really caught our attention was a button on the underbelly that allowed the hinges to extend so that the tail would swing much further out. This has the potential to change the action and shape of the bait's retrieve instantly


A look at the top of the new yet to be named Gomexus metal glidebait


The front of the bait currently features a lip but this is also not final. The use of metal is interesting in itself, and the adjustable hinge design is very intriguing. It is good to see Gomexus designing this bait from the ground up


Moving over to the conventional baits Z-Man took the Chatterbait to the next level with the Elite EVO


The Chatterbait Elite EVO features the same proven head-to-blade connection and adds a new barb placement on the hook shank and more detailed paint and skirt color schemes


The EVO comes armed with a custom 5/0 heavy duty Needlepoint Black Nickel Hook


Paired with the new Z-Man 4.5" Chatterspikes for a complete baitfish profile. The new EVO is looking like the most refined Chatterbait yet


Mark Copley, Trade & Media Manager at Rather Outdoors shows us Strike King's new hardbait, the Gravel Dawg


The Strike King Gravel Dawg was designed by Pro Anglers Todd Castledine and KVD to have a wide wobble and strong hunting action


The Gravel Dawg features 1.5" profile and is designed as a go-to crankbait for a wide variety of conditions weighing 1/2oz. and capable of diving to 10 feet in depth


Pro Angler Greg Hackney shows us some of his favorite Gravel Dawg patterns. The new bait will come in some exclusive craw colors


Lunkerhunt's Boshi Blade is a crankbait with an underspin that is profiled like a smaller fish


The Boshi Blade weighs 1/2oz. and dives down 4-6 feet and will retail for $10.99


Rapala is no stranger to jerkbaits and has designed the PXR (Precision, Xtreme, and Redline) Mavrik 110 with an updated long cast system


The PXR Mavrik features a hard cutting and semi-erratic action that was fine tuned by Rapala's Prostaff including Angler Jacob Wheeler


Vexan Fishing is introducing their own BFS hardbaits with the Micro Strike, a micro-crank with a single hook positioned at the rear of the lure. This bait is designed for targeting largemouth, smallmouth, crappie and trout and will retail for only $5.99


The Nishine Lure Works Baby Albino 70F is a tiny propbait with all the bells and whistles


The Baby Albino looks like a miniature version of the Daiwa Bessie which Nishine helped design


A surprise feature is a popper mouth that can be used in place of the front blade. The Baby Albino measures 2.75" in length and weighs only 1/4 ounces. This lure will retail for $18.99 each, a very reasonable price for such a well built and versatile hardbait


If you haven't fished a Nishine Chippawa crankbait you are missing out. These are some of the most refined hardbaits out there and the new RB Blade version adds a removable willow blade that slaps against the rear treble as the bait hunts


The Chippawa XDD is the longest lip version and capable of diving down to 16 feet. The lure is designed to cast great distances weighing 3/4oz. and utilizing a fixed internal weight system


Hiroshi Nishine (right) and Yuichi Sakudo (Left) are the team from Nishine in Canada. Hiroshi still hand carves each master by hand before it goes to prototype phase


Our Quick take: Swimbait and BFS anglers have a lot to look forward to this season. When it came to conventional baits and techniques most bait manufacturers strengthened their portfolio of offerings with new sizes and patterns, as well as adding some additional variations. This season there wasn't one particular new type of hardbait that dominated the show, like the swimbait or A-Rig crazes of past years. This season's new baits are all about refinement on both end of the spectrum.


Looking for some these new hardbaits? Many are starting to become available at Tackle Warehouse










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