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Event Article: 2008 ICAST Coverage

ICAST 2008, Get Ready for the Show!

Date: 7/14/08
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour





Introduction: With ICAST less than 36 away rumors are flying and consumers eagerly await the next generation of new products. Is it going to be a golden year for reels, or perhaps another season of breakout rod offerings, or will swimbaits continue to dominate the lure front? We can only guess as countdown begins to ICAST 2008.


Time to go back to Las Vegas (picture from ICAST 2007)

The team is preparing to head out to Las Vegas to cover what has become the industry’s most exciting show when it comes to new tackle introductions across both fresh and saltwater fronts. ICAST 2008 will take place in Las Vegas and next year will transition to Orlando, Florida. The event is not open to the public, and rather an industry oriented event populated by manufacturers, retail buyers, and press.

This year ICAST will once again be at the Las Vegas Convention center, next year teh show moves to Orlando, Florida (picture from ICAST 2006)

This season TackleTour is making a change in the way we cover the show. Rather than rounding up all products in a single category (for example reels, or lures) the team will be reporting in separate articles whenever something interesting is found on the show floor. This new “flash” format is designed so that we can cover the most exciting offerings first, rather than wait to complete each category. Coverage begins late Wendsday evening after the show. In the past three weeks leading up to the show we have been able to obtain some information from manufacturers, but with a few hours to go before all is finally revealed it is prediction time.

We expect reels to get better on both ends of the spectrum, and light weight and improved ergonomics will be a common theme (picture from ICAST 2006)

Let’s start with reels, there is no doubt that there is going to be a complete baitcaster brawl with the latest slew of offerings from the top tier brands. Daiwa has long been known for ultralight reels, but the category is about to get a whole lot more crowded as just about all the manufacturers are taking steps to make lighter more ergonomic reels. Refinement is no longer considered a luxury, every baitcaster over a hundred dollars is going to need to feel reasonably smooth to even have a chance to compete. The same can be said about spinning reels. With gas prices well north of four dollars a gallon anglers are saving their money for truck and boat gas, and that means that tackle has to perform like new over longer periods. Reel manufacturers are going to target anglers on two fronts, best value and premium. Expect lower end reels, even those at the sub 69 dollar level to sport features previously found on reels over 100 dollars. These reels will deliver a greater return on investment than anglers have received in the price point in previous seasons. On the opposite end of the spectrum there a growing number of anglers willing to pay more for quality, and a blossoming enthusiast category defies the economy as some anglers demand the best. We expect to see more limited edition models, and enthusiast grade materials making it into just about every brand.

What will the top tier manufacturers do to differentiate their offerings? (picture from ICAST 2006)

When it comes to rods the battle will likely continue to rage on in the custom bass rod category, but differentiation will continue to be a challenge as split grips are becoming the norm and the swimbait craze has already resulted in a crowded market for big sticks. So where do we go from here? We expect many manufacturers to start turning back to refine their offerings for traditional techniques like cranking and bottom fished contact baits. The enthusiast styling and design from Japan will likely influence many rod manufacturers to update their rods with new component hardware as they seek to better pair their rods with this season’s flashier best in class and limited edition reels. We will continue to see weight being a factor in rod design, and many brands will further reduce reel seats to a minimum putting anglers in greater contact with the blank. We also expect to see some advances in saltwater rods as well this season, and look to the manufacturers to introduce new inshore rods, and increase the number of rods for eco-friendly kayak applications.

Daiwa took a chance when they brought true "enthusiast" class design, features, and price to the U.S. with the Steez series... now we expect more rod manufacturers to follow suit (picture from ICAST 2006)

When it comes to lures do we expect to see swimbaits continue to play a major role in the category? Absolutely. Swimbaits will continue to garner plenty of attention from anglers in the coming season but the trend isn’t to go bigger, but rather to go smaller. As swimbait manufacturers refine their offerings many are introducing smaller variations of their proven baits for finesse applications. But big baits will not be the only ones on stage this year, as we expect a slew of new plastics ranging from creature baits to new shaky head worms. With a emphasis on eco-responsibility there should be new bio-degradable offerings and new non-lead terminal tackle ready to rig these new baits.

Will big baits continue to be the rage? Absolutely, but expect a new slew of smaller more refined swimbaits extending the range of applications for these lures (picture from ICAST 2006)

The list goes on and on, and with bets on the table of what will be debuted the team is packed and ready to head to Vegas. At this very moment the manufacturers are putting the finishing touches on their booths, organizing their new offerings, and putting the last minute touches on their collateral. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest, one “flash” article at a time. Vegas here we come!

So what do you expect and predict to see this ICAST? Chime in on the TT Forum.











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