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ICAST 2018 COVERAGE from Orlando Florida
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Event Article: 2006 ICAST Reel Coverage

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Zebco: We attended the Zebco lunch this year where the company talked about "respect" for the brands they have recently acquired. This "respect" carries over to understanding the history of the brands and doing them justice. What has in fact happened is that Zebco has introduced superior engineering into these brands (Van Staal, Fin-Nor) revitalizing them, and making them better than ever. We were extremely impressed with the influx of new offerings now resurging from these premium brands. In addition Quantum focuses on saltwater solutions this year and intends to build upon the successful launches of last season. 


The Incyte represents the new premium mainstream reel for Quantum


Quantum: Two new reels in the Quantum brand have now been released, the Incyte and Array. These two spinning reels represent the top of the segment Quantums before entering the Performance Tuned (PT) series, offer a lot of features and performance at a great value. The Incyte and Array come with a high bearing count, Continuous Anti-Reverse, and much more. In addition these reels have an extremely thin graphite body, aluminum side cover butt plate, 3-piece aluminum Long Stroke spool, and much more. The Incyte will be price at $59.95 while the Array will go for a great value of $39.95


The Array is positioned directly below the Incyte and is a great deal for $39.95

What really caught our eyes at today’s ICAST are the Quantum saltwater products. Let’s first start with Quantum big game trolling reel, the Aruba PTs. This reel is extremely solid in construction. This offshore trolling reel is their very first and took over three years to develop. Their goal was to not only make a durable high-performing reel but one that is different than others out there. 


The Aruba is Quantum's first lever drag reel, and its a good one!


The trolling reel uses Quantum’s new Nitrogen-Alloy PT bearings which the team has searched and tested thoroughly to make sure they have the finest product to go to market with. Because these new bearings are such high quality, that means they are also expensive, and that means that you won’t see these premium bearings in all of Quantum’s saltwater reels. Another key point of interest with the Aruba PTs are the dual-carbon drag system that provides smooth and powerful pressure when required. Adjustments are just a short reach away and are set by a “push and turn” external system. This provides a good security feature so anglers won’t accidentally change the settings while playing fish. Retail price for this reel will run for $489.95 to $539.95


One of the differentiating features of this reel is the amazing easy access for maintenance


You remember the PT Saltwater Cabo and Boca spinning reels right? Well, this year they get a size smaller and two sizes larger. The smallest size, 20, will make a great light tackle inshore reel for those more delicate presentations. In the larger size here’s the differences from the previous sizes. Depending on the size, the Cabo PTs will have 8, 9, or 10 polymer-stainless PT bearings and the Boca PTs will carry 5 or 7. The 70 and 80 size also have a aluminum rotor which will provide non-flex when battling large fish. The Cabo PTs 20 size will retail for $189.95 and size 70 and 80 for $209.95. Boca PTs size 20 will go for $119.95  while the 70 and 80 size retail for $139.95.


The spool and master gearing separated from the 100% machined frame


Now here’s something really exciting. Take the freshwater Energy PT baitcast reel and make it a saltwater reel. But to do so Quantum upgraded 20 parts to make it truly saltwater proof. The Energy PTs inshore baitcast reel is one of the only two reels that uses high-quality premium Nitrogen-Alloy bearings. 


The striking Energy PT inshore baitcast reel


These bearings are designed to crank smoother, last longer, and provide even greater protection against corrosion. Not all bearings in the Energy PTs will use this new bearings, but all the most crucial positions will including the entire spool shaft support system. To protect the reel’s body, Quantum applied their Saltgard 6-layer coating process to give it one tough finish. The Energy PTs will feature two models which will have gear ratios of 7.0:1 and 6.3:1. These reels will be released sometime around September in right-hand retrieve models but plans are to release left-handed baitcasters in the following year. The Energy PTs reels will retail for $139.95.     


This handsome reel makes use of new "uber" bearings


Fin-Nor: Things are about to change now that W.C. Bradley has bought Fin-Nor. Their goal is to bring back what this brand used to stand for, high-performance and durable saltwater reels that set records. We were told that they did prototype a trolling reel but the team decided to withdraw it from ICAST because they want to make sure it’s ready. 


New Cabo sizes available in the compact and offshore size


So this year they introduced two new spinning reels, the AHAB and OFFSHORE. Both of these reels have super-heavy duty construction. Yes, they are heavy but they will withstand anything you throw at them. The frame construction is solid, flex-free, and made durable it’ll take the beating big game hunters put on it. The gears are extremely large in design, the shaft is supported in three places and runs from top to bottom, and have ergonomic grips on the handle to make sure you are always in control of the fish. 


Big game beware, Fin-Nor is back with new offshore spinning reels


On the AHAB you’ll see something very unique. What Fin-Nor calls the MegaDrag which we explained in our preview article. Well, to add to that Fin-Nor continued with the traditional cork material which does provide greater smoothness when activated. Here’s another innovative thing about the AHAB. You can remove the spool without changing the drag adjustment by unscrewing the spool only. 


The simple elegant design remains true to the original


Or you can remove the entire spool and drag system assembly by removing the drag tension knob in the center. On the same topic, the OFFSHORE has a stack of washers in the spool which provides super stopping power when needed. It’s said to have well over 50 pounds on drag when fully buttoned down! Both the AHAB and OFFSHORE are heavy but the trade-off are reliability, performance, and a big game reel that anglers can trust to tow in that next record breaking trophy fish.  


For the same smooth consistent feel these reels make use of a cork drag


The inside of the spool reveals another drag surface


The bearings on the Fin-Nor reels are massive!


Van Staal: The boys at W.C. Bradley have also done right by Van Staal. The reels are back in production and better than ever. Not only do they use the very best materials, but innovation is trickling back into the ultra reliable design.  


The new VS is ideal for surf and jigging


Van Staal has always been known as an excellent surf reel for their sealed design and corrosion resistance. This year they are introducing the new VS Surf Spin which boasts a extremely wide spool for exceptional line capacity and casting distance. The VS300 is capable of holding 475 yards of 80lb braid! These reels feature 30lbs of lock down drag when battling the biggest cobia or striper, or wearing down a hard fighting tuna or Marlin. 


A huge spool holds 475 yards of 80lb braid!


These are also exceptional reels for vertical jigging techniques (which are all the rage now), and Van Staal is introducing matching rods to pair up with these beauties for the ultimate balance. (More on that later in our rod coverage) 


Capt. Craig Cantelmo shows Zander the new Van Staal VS


Next Section: Pure Fishing modernizes Abu and Mitchell! 










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