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Featured Article: Show Coverage

TackleTour's "Best of Show" products from Fred Hall 2003

Date: 3/19/03
Location: Long Beach, CA
Event Dates: 3/5-3/9
Admission: Adults: 10 Dollars 
Kids 15 and under: Free
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: The task to pick the "Best of Show" products is always a tough decision for TackleTour, especially when it comes to the 2003 Fred Hall show where each year more and more worthy manufacturers set up booths to display their countless offerings. While many manufacturers showcased great offerings these are the cream of the crop products that turned the most heads and shouldn't be missed.


Nick Nakao, President (right), and Roy Gray (left) displays a wide range of lures for both freshwater and saltwater fishing

MegaBait: The development of new fishing lures will never end. Anglers are always seeking better and different types of lures that will attract and catch more fish. Many succesful Japenese lures are now becoming a mainstay for US anglers. MegaBait by Pace Products are a new line of quality performance Japanese hard baits that are still an affordable price. Aside from these exciting looking lures, Megabait also produces other eye catching baits such as the Charlie. Charlie is their latest suspending swimbait that is designed with slits on the soft plastic rear portion to achieve a more live-like motion when retrieved. The Charlie comes in both fresh and saltwater versions.


Ray Rojes, Greg Perresini, and John Turner (from left to right) explained how easy and effective their exciting swimbait can be in any situation as long as you know what pattern and color of the baitfish


Mondo Baits: Custom fishing tackle is becoming more popular each day. For example, fishing rod manufacturers are coming out with many new technique specific rods to meet the demands of anglers wishing to own specilized tackle. Mondo baits was created by hardcore saltwater tournament anglers. These unique swimbait lures are fabricated to be easy to modify, and remain soft but durable. They developed a what we will call a swimbait "blank" where the colors are either solid clear or white baitfish-like plastic.  By using Mondo permanent markers one can instantly have the baitfish pattern and color they desire for any fishing application. Aside from these neat swimbaits they also offer other shapes that apply the same concept.  Stay tuned for our in-depth review on these exciting customizable baits.


Don Hoben, President, took the time to explain in detail on how the new Sickle hook design adds strength and at the same time uses a thinner wire.  Also they showcased an exciting assortment of quality lures


Matzuo America: Don Hoben, President of Matzuo America, showcased an entire booth of quality lures. Highlights from the new lineup included the new Wart Hog shallow diving lure, a uniquely shaped crankbait that has a tight wobble when retrieved, and the new look and shape is sure to attract attention from fish. Matzuo also showcased a patented hook design that features an angular bend. By applying these bends the Sickle hook gains a superior amount of strength and at the same time a thinner wire hook can be used for finer presentations of lures and bait. The thinner diameter wire also means that the hooks will be exceptionally sharp. In a future article we will run side by side tests where we will put the Matzuo Sickle hook against other conventional designs.


Sean Caples, owner, has the stuff for you if you're looking to fish from a kayak.  He shows TackleTour how his kayaks are swift and stable even when rigged with all types of fishing accessories


Malibu Kayaks: In recent years kayak fishing has become a popular alternative way of watercraft fishing. Kayaks are easy to carry to any launch area, cut through the water quickly, are durable, and cost effective.  Malibu Kayaks offers an outstanding fishing kayak package that will impress you. Sean Caples, owner of Malibu Kayaks, explained how his design is much more stable and hydrodynamic when it's in the water, especially when rigged with heavy fishing gear such as a trolling motor and battery. At a price tag that's under $800 for the Pro Explorer is very affordable and comes with everything you need to get you fishing on the water. Some manufacturers might not have handy kayak fishing accessories, but Malibu Kayaks does. They have a good assortment of items that one will find useful to add to their setup just for the purpose of fishing.


Jeff Robles showcased a booth filled with Rapala tackle that included new tools and Storms lures.  The Lock 'n Weigh is one of the most exciting new products for 2003


Rapala: While walking up to the Rapala booth you will immediately notice the wide range of fishing tackle they have displayed.  The name Rapala is well known throughout the fishing community and that's because they make a vast assortment of lures, rods, tools, and basic tackle. New to their lineup for this year are many new products for saltwater fishing, crankbaits that quickly dive and stay within the striking depth, and most exciting is the new Lock 'n Weigh tool. The Lock 'n Weigh is a tool used to land that big fish without hurting your fingers, and at the same time it weighs the fish without having to transfer the fish from the gripper to a scale. Rapala design this tool to eliminate any hazards as a result of handling to the angler and to the fish. Once landed, the fish can be weighed, photographed, and then quickly released with the effective Lock 'n Weigh tool from Rapala.


John McAfee, President (left), and Don Holliday, Secretary-Treasurer (right) are two happy guys and really enjoyed being at the show.  They demonstrated their effective lure retriever and it works every time!


Mac Squid: Lure retrievers are a big thing nowadays especially when you snag your favorite hardbait on underwater structure. John McAfee, President, and Don Holliday, Secretary-Treasurer of Mac Squid, explained to us about their new and effective lure retrieval tool that will get your lure back each and every time.  At their booth they had a demonstration tank that tells no lies. Infront of a crowd, the lure is first purposely snagged onto some branches, then the Mac Squid goes to work, and sure enough the lure was retrieved every time. With a retrieving mechanism that works, anglers will not have to fear losing their expensive or favorite lures anymore.  TackleTour will soon put the Mac Squid to the test against the nastiest bottom structure we can find. 


Harout Alajajyan, President of Avet Reels showed us each and every part of the reel, its abilities to free spool, speed control, the drag, components, and much more


Avet Reels: Lookout saltwater anglers, Avet Reels has something that deservers some attention. We all know that saltwater tackle, especially reels need to be high performance, extremely durable, and everything must work right when battling big game. Avet Reels bring all this to you at an affordable price, and with some added features that are especially useful. Avet reels are quite impressive in that they are the only reel that uses a lever drag and at the same time boast an ultra-smooth drag with the ability to free spool at a full drag setting. Another feature that caught our attention was the terrific planetary gear system. Which allows a smaller gear case that lightens the overall weight of the reel to match the lighter weight rods of today.


Kenny Kawakami, President of Kencor demonstrated the new line of rods, the ZiBRA, and it's truly amazing.  The rod tip is so durable and it takes all the pressure off of your hands when fighting big fish


Kencor: Fishing rods have come a long way and each manufacturer is always looking for improvements in material and design. Some have resorted to using exotic materials while some incorporate hi-tech tools to develop a working blank. Kencor might not be the most well know throughout the world, but they are right up there with the big guys in terms of durability, high performance, and design. While visiting the Kencor booth, Kenny Kawakami, President, demonstrated his new and amazing blank called the ZiBRA. The Graphite TWIST ZiBRA material is like no other big game rod on the market today. While the traditional graphite blanks take all the pressure through the entire rod when the fish runs, also pulling your arms off when the monster hits, the ZiBRA uses a different concept. This graphite takes all the stress from you and let's the rod do all the work at the tip. Kencor is known for soft and very durable tips so breaking the tip will be the least of your concerns when fishing the mammoth saltwater species. Kencor also offers a full line of freshwater rods that are high in quality with a soft tip as well. 

Conclusion: Held in the Long Beach Convention center in Southern California, the Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat show is massive. The three show floors are packed with hundreds of manufacturers all displaying their latest and greatest fishing tackle is a really impressive sight, and an angler can really lose himself in the cornucopia of exciting offerings that line the aisles.  Many of the manufacturers have very nice and unique designs, but the above mentioned manufacturers were the ones that caught our attention as we browsed through the showcase of products from personal watercrafts, lures, rods, reels, and other tackle.


Congratulations to all our "Best of Show" winners, all of which showcased extremely exciting product offerings...all of which we will cover in more depth shortly.

Thanks for a wonderful show guys!










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