Article: Show Coverage
TackleTour's "Best of Show" reels and rods from ICAST 2002 (Top secret
Introduction: ICAST 2002 was a showcase of some of the most exciting
products that are just about to hit the market in the second part of this year.
While hundreds of manufacturers displayed great offerings these 5 reel and rod
manufacturers presented products that really stood out and deserve a closer
The "Best of Show" reels and rods: The following are the reel
and rod manufacturers at ICAST that caught our attention by displaying something unique and/or truly
A trio of
new Shimano reels. Stella (Main), Castaic S-Concept (upper left),
Shimano (Reels): Shimano pulled out all the big guns this year as they
prepare to introduce exciting redesigns of the of some of their most popular reels.
Shimano's flagship reel, the Stella, gets a redesign that incorporates new
materials, a new blue color, increased souped up gearing and a bearing upgrade. The
Stella felt extremely smooth and is slightly lighter then the
current model. One of the most radical changes was the introduction of a beveled
spool on the 2000 and up sized Stellas. The Stella was impressive enough to also
win ICAST's award for best new reel as well.
To compete with the newly introduced Capricorn from Daiwa, Shimano has also
redesigned the top selling Stradic. The result is a much sleeker and smoother
reel that shares some components from the Sustain. The new soft grip handle is
very comfortable, and the titanium lipped spool is a major upgrade from the
older model's standard aluminum.
Finally, huge news for fan's of Shimano's Castaic flipping reel. A redesign
introduces the "S-Concept" which stands for a new standard of smoothness,
strength, and silence in reel engineering. The new Castaic features an attractive
aluminum body and a new clutch system that is easy to flip back with your thumb
from either side of the reel,
and also keeps the spool more exposed for feathering. The new Castaic also makes
use of a wiffle spool and Shimano Super Free technology. Original Castaic fans
can rest easy as Shimano plans to continue production of their existing Castaic
and sell these two reels simultaneously.
Okuma's National Sales Manager highlights the new Titus gold reel. The Axiom
shore reel (upper left), and Okuma's first baitcaster the Nitryx (lower
Okuma continues to gain popularity with the introduction of some of the finest
reels for the money available on the market today. The Inspira, is the latest
new reel positioned above the Metaloid, and is coming to stores in time for the
holiday season. This reel features all machined brass gearing and will retail
for under 100 dollars. Basically Okuma's goal with this reel is to deliver
features and construction found in reels twice the Inspira's price, and from the
samples we got to play with it looks like they have succeeded.
Okuma fans will also rejoice as the Nitryx, the company's first conventional
baitcaster makes its way into final production. This sleek looking conventional
features a 2 stack drag system, 5BB, and a complete aluminum construction. With
a detailed frame design and impressive finishing we were blown away by the
aggressive estimated retail price of only 69-74.99 dollars!
The casting and trolling reels that made Okuma famous also get tweaked with infinite
anti reverse in both the large Convector and Titus gold series reels. The beautiful Titus
gold reels are now completely silent and feature an extremely fine tuned level
drag, as well as a new grip for more fighting power.
Most exciting for west coast shore anglers is the introduction of Okuma's large
spooled shore spinning reels. These giant reels feature high quality components,
a wide spool with special anti-tangle protective guard, and a forged handle
with comfortable power grip. Made with a combination of power and casting
distance in mind, the high end Axiom will retail for 139-149.00. This is one
reel we can't wait to field test on the Pacific shore for surf stripers!
VP, Alex Hung shows us a wealth of TICA offerings including lever brake
reels, fine bass and walleye rods with customizable butts (upper right), and
the well designed Flymaster reel (lower right)
TICA (Reels): Walking by TICA's booth you just couldn't help being drawn
to the wide assortment of shining TICA reels. TICA continues to make a name for
themselves in the U.S. market with an assortment of premium offerings. With a
rod and reel for every application TICA was one of the few manufacturers that
offered high quality reels with lever brakes. These lever brake reels are
extremely popular in Asia.
High end TICA reels like the
TICA TP-B feature an impressive array of specifications that include 14 BB,
Brass gearing, and titanium plated line roller. What is so impressive about TICA
reels is the flashy finishing, these reels are real attention getters, and some
of them are a real work of art with attractive of gold and silver trim. Proving
that TICA also knows how to make premium baitcasters TICA expands their popular
Caiman line of reels. these reels feature one screw access and a extremely silky
feel with up to 12 BBs!
Leaving no stone unturned TICA also introduces new Flymaster Fly reels. These
reels are designed for the serious fly fisherman and offer a combination of art
and technology. All Flymaster reels have a TICA designed anti-reverse, hexagon
cut frames, and are right or left handle retrieve.
Finally, when we thought we saw
it all TICA introduced TackleTour to their extensive line of rods. One rod in
particular that stood out was TICA's bass casting rods that feature an innovative
rotating cork butt for increased comfort, and a rubber coated reel seat that
protects your reel while holding it firmly in place. The wealth of offerings and
high quality craftsmanship truly made TICA products stand out.
Huggins showcases the new application specific spinnerbait rod, a new
sensitive handle grip on the drop shot rod (lower left), and a attractive
green finish sets the GLoomis Frog rod apart (upper right)
(rods): Leave it to GLoomis to come out with premium rods that continue to
set the bar in terms of performance and detail in design. To further provide
application specific rods GLoomis is about to introduce spinnerbait, drop shot,
and the all new frog rod. These rods feature new colors and a printed profile
of the application on the rod for easy identification. Because these rods are
designed for very specific applications they excel at providing attributes
suited for your favorite lure and fishing style. The frog rod for example
features a quick tip to flick frogs long distances over weed beds, but has a
super strong butt for dragging fish out of the hairiest situations. These rods
will be available in roughly 3 weeks, in time for the upcoming classic.
In addition the GLoomis "Fear no Fish" brand continues to grow in popularity.
New branded caps, shirts, and bags are making their way to store shelves now.
President, Don Beaulieu proudly displays the O.T. Fears designed Dream
catcher rods which are a lot of rod for the money
(rods): Quarrow impressed our team of editors 4 months ago when they were
awarded a Best Value award for their ML3 rod. At the show Quarrow's President,
Don Beaulieu, continued to impress us with the Dream Catcher series of rods
designed by O.T. Fears. These rods are shipping now and feature a great balance
of features like the latest Fuji reel seats and concept guide technology, and blanks designed
for very specific applications. The Dream Catcher rods are easily identifiable by
their green blank and interwoven green and red threading at the base of the rod.
Extremely light weight and sensitive these rods really stood out for their
Conclusion: ICAST had so much to offer in terms of exciting new rods and
reels this year. Picking just 5 manufactures was a truly difficult task, but the
following five manufacturers presented the right balance of innovative product
offerings, excellent construction, and right price points to win our vote. Other
notable manufactures included Quantum with their new PT reels and rods, Abu
Garcia's new EON Pro and EON Low Profile, and Van Staal's C-Vex removable sealed
drag premium fly reels.
Congratulations to all our "Best of Show" highlighted manufacturers, all of
which showcased extremely exciting product offerings.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the
ICAST "Best of Show"
where we explore the most exciting storage solutions, lures, innovations, and