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The Versatile G-Flag 150 by Grow Design Works ARK Fishing's Intriguing and Affordable Gravity BFS

Feeding that Enthusiast Hunger : Daiwa's 2024 Certate

There's No Way A-Round It, Shimano's Conquest MD is Legit
Redefining the Big Bait Stick Genre : Evergreen International's Giant Dire Wolf Abu Garcia's Formula for BFS Success - Part One : The Rods Peeling it Back - The BFS Shallow Spool Challenge G.Loomis Launches Refreshed GLX Bass Series Rods, do they Live Up to the Legacy?

Additional Recent Articles

The Final Piece of the Revo5 Puzzle, Abu Garcia's STX
Having worked my way through the majority of Abu Garcia's refresh of their Revo platform, I didn't think necessary to investigate the remaining model, STX. However, as circumstance would have it, one landed on my desk here at TT HQ..
Where Form Lags Behind Function : Lew's SuperDuty GX3
As the big bait tide continues to rise in bass fishing waters, manufacturers are responding with reels better suited to slinging these oversized lures. Realizing that bigger reels are not necessarily the answer, but simply, more line capacity, we're seeing a return the old school strategy of the deep spool to carry more length of thicker lines.
A Gateway Swimbait – The Gracely Baits Finesse Gill
Many anglers commonly associate "swim-baits" with "big-baits," and indeed, most swimbaits on the market are full-sized baits necessitating specialized gear to cast. However, there exists a lesser-known category of smaller swimbaits that deliver a comparable experience in a more compact, less daunting form. Gracely Baits played a pivotal role in defining this segment...
SPRO Enters the Value Rod Market With Their Slayer Series
For those anglers out there that like the idea of brand matching their combos, manufacturers are making it easier and easier to accomplish this task with many rod manufacturers now offering reels and vice versa. This past year, SPRO released both at the same time...
A Big Bladed Kick in the Bass : The Donkey Slayer
The Donkey Slayer is a handcrafted bladed jig, distinguished by its massive blade, hand polished or plated tungsten head, and paired with hand-tied hybrid silicone and living rubber skirts. Originating from the California Delta region, this custom lure has thus far been fished by a select group of anglers in the know - until now.
Is the Revo X Still a Factor?
Back in 2018, we shared our experience with Abu Garcia's newest member of their Revo lineup, the X. Surprisingly, that $99 reel ran away not with a Best Value Award, but our Editor's Choice. Having such a positive experience with the recent, fifth generation refresh and the SX platform, left me to wonder if the X still had the factor to capture my attention. Let's find out!
A "Tail" of Two Baits: Baitsanity Explorer Gen 2 Swimbait Updates
At first glance, the latest generation of the Baitsanity Explorer may appear nearly identical to the original glidebait that the company originally debuted to launch their brand. However, there are a number of updates that have made significant improvements to the bait's capabilities and performance over even last year’s models. In this update, we explore these latest improvements, fresh tail designs, and a bones option.
Berkley Channels Science to Launch New Forward Facing Sonar Optimized Baits
Like it or not forward facing sonar, also known as live-sonar, has forever changed the fishing world. This powerful tool has enabled anglers to evolve and adapt like never before by providing them with the ability to see how fish react to baits in real time. To arm anglers with baits designed specifically to maximize effectiveness with forward facing sonar Berkley is launching three new baits optimized for this technology.
Shimano Launches New 70 Size Metanium DC and SLX Baitcasters
Shimano is kicking off 2024 in a big way by going smaller with the introduction of new Metanium DC and SLX baitcasters in compact 70 sizes. Both of these new reels feature numerous updates driving versatility and performance enhancements, and the Metanium 70 represents the lightest and most durable DC reel to date.
Fishing Lew's New ParaMag Featured in the Elite-Ti SLP
This past year, at ICAST, Lew's announced a low profile reel to usurp the Pro-Ti atop their food chain. The Elite-Ti SLP is the new top dog at Lew's and sports a brand new braking system that just might lead the way for their next generation of reels.
Battle of the Turd Baits - Dropping the Missile Bomba Worm
Just when you've grown comfortable into thinking lure designers and manufacturers have exhausted available profiles for soft plastic baits, something rumbles in the creative bowels of those designers and out shoots another...
Denali's Kovert Lite KW764MP Swim Jig Stick
Denali's Kovert Lite KW764MP is a seven foot, six inch (7'-6") casting rod built from an IM8 graphite blank. It features a split rear grip made of a polymer material similar to that found on golf clubs and an EVA butt.
The Stick To Go With That Bait : SPRO's KGB Signature Series B79H Keeps it In the Family
Searching for a stick to fish the new SPRO and KGB Swimbaits collab bait, the Chad Shad 180? Well, the two manufacturers do their best to eliminate this challenge with another joint venture. Here's a look at their complimentary collab fishing rod, the SPRO KGB Signature Series B79H.

Beyond a Bargain: Kastking's Mg12 Elite Baitcaster
KastKing has built a well-earned reputation for providing reels at competitive prices. However, in recent seasons, they have significantly elevated their offerings, venturing into the high-performance segment. The Mg12 Elite stands as KastKing’s most advanced, and most expensive, compact baitcaster to date.

Denali's Middle Child, the Novus Pro Casting Reel
Denali is no longer just about fishing rods. At ICAST 2023, the company rolled out a complete line of fishing reels (2 spinning, 3 casting). Today, we take a look at the middle child in their casting reel lineup, the Novus Pro.
Shimano’s Stella FK Spinning Reel is a Moping Legend
The Stella is to Shimano what the NSX is to Honda or the GTR is to Nissan, the pinnacle of engineering, a halo product showcasing the latest technology. Serving as both a flagship for these respective companies and as a brand builder, there are very few spinning reels that can even claim to compete with the Stella...
Enabling Swimbait Mode with BFS Gear - Zappu Bredy Weedless Underspin
Zappu is a JDM terminal tackle company with innovative takes on terminal tackle. If you like to tune and tweak your bait offerings, or just keep up with some of the more interesting and inventive rigging trends from Japan, diving into the product offered by this manufacturer is a great place to start.
Swimbait Rod Build: A Blank to Handle All your Big Bait Needs and More: Phenix Titan Long Fall
Today, there are quite a number of choices for those slinging baits that weigh up to about six ounces or so. However, once you cross over to the truly large baits, rod options seem to dwindle. Throw in the additional wild card of needing that stick to be no longer than seven feet, eight inches, and there might be just a handful of production rods that can handle the assignment.


Elusive No More : SPRO's KGB Chad Shad 180
Spend any time in that kind of underground, social media world of big baits and you'll eventually come across discussion of the popular KGB Chad Shad. This bait came on the scene a number of years ago and built a reputation as the best shad glide bang for the buck. In the big bait world, reputation like that inevitably leads to scarce availability which eventually raises that buck-bang higher than retail.

SPRO's Very Affordable Vortex-E Casting Reel
2023 marks the year SPRO completes the transition from a bait company to full blown creator of just about everything you need to go fishing with the introduction of their own rods and reels. Today's focus is on their brand new Vortex-E casting reel priced at just $89.99.
Illude Lunker Fighters Zombie Gerbil – A Deadly Walker

The Lunker Fighters Zombie Gerbil is a rat-style swimbait that is a resin version of the original cedar-wood Illude Narle Gerbil. The Illude Gerbil is one of the rarest wood rat-style baits, with only a handful of batches ever made. While it's easy to assume that the wood version is superior in every way, there are many interesting attributes that the resin-based Zombie offers, making it both effective and desirable.

Follow the Leader : A Look Into JDM Options
Given the accessibility and affordability of so many nylon monofilament brands, you’d think finding one to rely upon for my leader game would be easy but for one specific application...
Built for Life and Wherever It Takes You: The Costa Aransas
The Aransas frames have recently undergone a makeover, incorporating more eco-friendly bio-resin materials. In this article, we will delve into the Aransas frame design and examine the impact of these updated materials on the frame's construction and overall user experience.
3 Decades of Green - Shimano's 200 M Baitcaster
The refresh of the new Shimano Curado 200 M flew under the radar this ICAST as the new Stradic FK took center stage. The new Curado iterates on a proven formula, and while it does not stray too far from the previous version, it does offer a number some improvements in design and feature-set for mainstream anglers.
Catching the BFS Wave with Phenix Rod's New Series
Until recently, most bass anglers turning to finesse techniques relied solely upon spinning gear to present their baits. However, over twenty years ago in Japan, manufacturers, third parties, and anglers were tuning their casting gear to do the same. Today, Bait Finesse Systems (BFS), are all the rage with large, US based manufacturers rolling out reels and rods to support the burgeoning approach.
Giving Bass "The Bird" - A New Crawler From Defiant
Defiant is best known for their soft bodied 210 and 247 trout profiled swimbaits which feature a line-through rigging system. The company has been expanding their product range and last season introduced a range of braided and fluorocarbon lines designed for big bait anglers. This Summer the company launches their first hard-bodied swimbait, a full sized topwater crawler called "The Bird."
Not Too Big, Not Too Small, with Versatility That Can Surprise and Confuse : CBC's Mini-Sonar
Born from the need for a consistent big bait profile for colder water, the Sonar has a build resembling a swimmer, but it is weighted to behave like a flutter spoon or blade bait - not a spinnerbait, but a solid metal, fish profile, blade.
Abu Garcia Raises the Bar in Their Quest for Speed : Revo5 RKT
Abu Garcia continues to challenge the speed barrier with their Revo Rocket platform, but with the latest, Revo5 iteration featuring the same retrieve ratio as the previous version, the Revo4, has physics and the laws of nature finally won out? Well, what if we told you, despite identical gear ratios, the Revo5 is actually a hair faster in inches per turn (IPT)? How is that possible?
A Next Level Swinghead from Gamakatsu
The swing head has seen a recent spike in popularity to the point many will think it’s new and innovative. Now, almost every terminal tackle manufacturer offers their own take.
"New" Slide Swimmer Glidebait, Same Old Song?
There are countless discussions regarding the merits of the old versus new versions of the bait including tuning strategies for both and even methods to convert the floating, wake bait version, the Silent Killer, into a Slide Swimmer...  
An Instant Classic? Daiwa Japan's '22 Silver Wolf SV TW PE Special
Once the leader in BFS enabled reel platforms, in recent years, Daiwa Japan has seen competing manufacturers match pace with their introductions. Still, few can match the manufacturer's fervor for offering variants to existing platforms built to suit specific techniques, applications, or game species.


 

Lew's Goes Lighter with HyperMag and a BFS Oriented Custom Lite Reels
Lew's focused on lighter weight and offering more refined baitcasters this ICAST with the launch of two new low profile reels, the HyperMag and Custom Lite Shallow Spool. Both of these reels are designed with better ergonomics, lighter overall weight, and the ability to cast lightweight baits with ease.
Baitcasting Young Guns: Fresh New Low-Profile Reels
While the reel market is very competitive there has been a number of rod manufacturers that have introduced their own branded reels, as well as a few independent reel makers that are entering the fray. Let's take a look at some of these baitcasting "young guns" that launched new low-profile reels at the recent ICAST.
Hardbaits at ICAST, from Swimbaits to BFS
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.
The Worthy, Wild, and Just Plain Weird Soft Lures at ICAST 2023
This ICAST there was a wide range of soft-bodied lures introduced by American, JDM, and even a few independent manufacturers just breaking onto the scene. This year there was a lot to unpack in the soft lure category with a number of baits that looked worthy of tying on immediately, some that had wild features, and others that just looked plain weird.
Costa's Most Advanced Frames Yet. Hail the King Tide
Costa has established itself as a leader in optics and has always done a great job catering to the unique needs and challenges that anglers face. This ICAST, the brand celebrated their 40th Anniversary with the launch of their most technical frame to date, the feature-rich King Tide.
Shimano’s Stradic Moves Closer to Stella in Major Refresh
The Shimano Stradic has long been the workhorse reel in Shimano’s spinning lineup and this season the series gets a major refresh with features that debuted on the Stella FK. The new Stella FM is designed to be smoother, more powerful, and offer enhanced durability over its predecessor, yet it remains the same price.
Daiwa’s Tatula 100 Grows Fangs
Daiwa refreshes its top-selling Tatula Series reels with a completely new form factor that places an emphasis on ergonomics. However, the redesign is more than skin deep, as HYPERDRIVE features originally reserved for the company’s higher-end reels now make their way into the new 100 size baitcaster.
KastKing Makes Big Moves with the iReel One
KastKing, once known primarily for their value reels, made big moves this ICAST with the launch of their own smart reel. The iReel brings the Internet of Things (IoT) to US anglers, with the capability of providing real-time data to anglers as well as a plethora of statistics that anglers can use to identify patterns, make adjustments, and adapt quickly to improve their on-the-water success.
Okuma Goes Limited and JDM with Wave Off Urban Fishing and ITX CB Reels
Following the success of their previous limited-edition offerings including the Chroma and GT spinning reels Okuma is now dedicating more resources to creating unique reels that add to the experience of angling and fishing an Okuma product. The Wave Off is both the name of the next reel and Okuma’s new “Urban Design Team” which is responsible for creating these limited-edition offerings.
TackleTour ICAST 2023 Live Video Coverage
ICAST 2023 has arrived! After a strange last year we are excited to be once again on the water and show floor here in Orlando. This year in addition to our article coverage we will also be providing Instagram Quick Hit Videos from the manufacturers and pro anglers.

The Ultimate Poison – Shimano and Jackall Bring JDM Poison Ultima Rods Stateside
Shimano and Jackall are answering the Enthusiast call by bringing the ultra-high end Poison Ultima rods to U.S. shores stateside. These rods feature a number of unique design attributes and performance characteristics that make it the highest-end Shimano rod made available in the U.S. yet.

Daiwa's Got Your Bass Covered with 16 New Pro Inspired Application Specific Tatula AGS Rods
Daiwa will be introducing a number of new products at ICAST this year including an update to their popular Tatula line of reels and rods. The Tatula Elite AGS Bass Rod Series gets 16 new technique specific rods built with the latest SVF Nano Plus Blanks and AGS guides with signature actions and powers favored by their staff of Pro Anglers.

Chop It Like It's Hot. Baitsanity X TW New Chimera Shad
Baitsanity is launching their first shad profiled swimbait, the Chimera. In addition to a number of unique design features, and emphasis on chop-style action, one of the things that makes this new swimbait so interesting is that it was co-developed with the Tackle Warehouse product team from inception to mass production.

 

   

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