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Event Article: 2005 ICAST Rod Coverage

ICAST Coverage Day 2 - Its getting hot in the Rod Market

Date: 7/23/05
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: As we stepped outside of our hotel to make our way to the convention center for day two we immediately were confronted with what felt like a  solid wall of heat, it was if someone turned on a giant hair dryer and aimed it right at our faces. It was in fact a near record temperature day in Las Vegas with the thermometer tipping out near 100 degrees, but we had no idea that the temperature wasn't the hottest thing in Vegas that day, it would be the competition in the highly contested rod market. 


Robby Gant holds up the ICAST Best of Show...the brand new Trevala Jigging rod

Shimano: Shimano has arguably made more moves in the rod category in the last three seasons than just about anyone. The company went from having what most anglers regarded as just mainstream and value rods to having some of the best rods in the industry when it comes to quality, value, and warranty. Thanks to exceptional product design and product management Shimano is now giving both fresh and saltwater anglers a premium quality rod that pairs perfectly with high end products like the Calcutta TE DC and the new Torsa. This ICAST the company put the whole puzzle together, introducing the Torsa and Trevala jigging rod. The company didn't just engineer a brand new rod they created a system that allows anglers to fish a broader range of new techniques. It was this type of forward thinking that rewarded Shimano with the ICAST Best of Show Award in the rod category for the Trevela.


Quality ergonomics, TC-4 construction, and exceptional price all make the Trevala a winner

Trevala "ICAST Best of Show": Would you have put your money down in Vegas that Shimano would walk away with the Best of Show in the rod category? There was one person that never had a doubt, and that was Shimano Rod
Product Manager Robby Gant. Shimano pushed saltwater jigging with Butterfly jigs with the introduction of both the Trevala jigging rod and their own line of butterfly jigs at the show. The technique was developed by Japanese anglers just a few years ago and has revolutionized deep water jigging. Anglers were fishing depths over 500 feet with superlines coupled with fluorocarbon shock leaders and original jig designs. Shimano saw an opportunity and created a new jig design. This new jig no longer has a hook at the bottom and instead has a circle hub on top of a flat jig with two stinger hooks extending outwards and down. These swinging hooks (more information about these in our ICAST lure coverage)


"By using our proven TC4 construction process, we're able to offer an extremely slim blank design, and yet still achieve powerful blank strength," stated Robby Gant. "The sensitivity from the wrapped graphite helps anglers feel every movement of the butterfly jig and every movement of the fish, while the inner and outer wrapped T glass provides the needed durability from the direct fight with the fish." The Trevala rods feature extremely ergonomically shaped EVA grips that prevent the rod from rocking side to side when vertically jigging. These rods are dedicated to butterfly jigging action, and the rods design makes it extremely easy to hold the rod and get the precise motion necessary to bring these jigs to life. Eight rods are available in the series and the casting models are designed to balance out perfectly with the Trinidad or Torsa, and the spinning versions feel perfect coupled with a premium Stella. In Shimano rod tradition the Trevala rods are an exceptional value at 99.99 to 149.99.


The Compre is modernized in a big way, and is now much more like the Crucial in terms of refinement and design

Compre: The Shimano Crucial rods still top out the Shimano lineup but the gap between the Crucial and the Compre has just narrowed. For 2006 Shimano has redesigned the entire Compre lineup with new powers and actions specifically aimed at walleye, bass, and trout anglers. All rods feature an attractive bluish-grey finish and make use of IM-8 graphite blank construction. All the crankbait models feature TC-4 to create a more ideal action. The exposed cork blank foregrip we first saw on the Crucial rods has been carried down on a number of Compre spinning rods and all models feature a genuine Fuji reel seat and Hardloy guides. The series gains even more depth with two sub-series lineups. These include the Compre Muskie rods and Compre trolling rods, each showcases a unique look and action. The new Compre rods will retail for 89.99 to 119.99. As with all higher end Shimano rods the Compre carries a lifetime Warrantee complete with over the counter replacement.

Jeff Schluter, Vice President of Marketing at St. Croix rods, shows JIP the company's new Legend Tournament Bass Swim Bait rod


St. Croix: St. Croix also had many new additions to their lineup to show off this year at ICAST. Their line of rods went from a few new additions to a completely new series of rods. This coming year St. Croix will have its new, value-priced Triumph spinning and casting rod series. These rods are designed for every possible fishing application that requires superior strength, sensitivity, and hook-setting performance of a fast-action rod. These rods will feature St. Croix’s SC-II graphite matched with fine Fuji components. There will be 13 spinning and 5 casting rods with an extremely aggressive price range of only $50 to $70.


The Legend Series just got a whole lot bigger, here is the new long handled application specific Swim Bait rod which provides plenty of support for tossing hefty swimbaits

Legend Tournament Bass: Last season we were given an exciting new series of Legend Tournament Bass rods and the company has now added seven more technique specific rods to this very popular series. Bass anglers now have a choice between two crankbait rods, the Small Cranker and the Big Cranker. These rods will be ideal for working small-sized and shallow running crankbaits while the larger model will be perfect for large deep diving crankbaits. There are also two new big sticks, the Swim Bait which is made to handle small to medium swimbaits and the Mega Swim Bait to fish huge lures with extreme power and confidence. In spinning models there are the Shakin’, Split Shot, and Tube rods that are designed to fish certain plastics at their optimal level.

The Premier series is improved and remains affordable, making it one of the best values in the category

Premier Series: This entire series gets a complete redesign for 2006. Jeff Schluter, St. Croix’s Vice President of Marketing, states “Our main focus with the redesign of the Premier series spinning and casting rod was ultra high performance at an affordable price.” The new blank now sports a new gloss black pearl finish that looks amazing when light reflects off of it, and on some models an additional guide is added for more sensitivity, power, and line control. By applying their expert knowledge in rod building, these new redesigned Premier rods are even lighter than before. With plenty of improvement to these rods, the low price point still makes these rods a great value.

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