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Event Article: 2005 ICAST Special Coverage

ICAST Coverage Special Report - There's more to the story...

Date: 8/14/05
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: Three weeks after ICAST and the team is still pouring through all the information and exciting products and solutions highlighted at the show. This year the team focused on reels, rods, and lures, but there were plenty of other attention-grabbing solutions that we caught a glimpse of at the show. In the final chapter to our ICAST 2005 coverage we take a peek at some new-fangled electronics, optics, watercraft, and a few enthusiast supertuning upgrades.


The Quest 2 is a small portable unit thatís great on the road and water

: Garmin had a whole bunch of next generation electronics to display this year at ICAST. Their new electronics provide crucial information for anglers trying to reach their destination on the road and on the water, live weather condition feeds, and sounders that process faster and are more accurate.


Quest 2: This new little mobile electronic unit is every outdoorsmanís dream, especially anglers, even though its intent wasnít designed to target the marine sector in particular. Why is this unit so hot? On the road the Quest 2 will get you to your destination via the preloaded detailed maps of all the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. This feature will first get you to your fishing destination without getting lost or missing a turn thanks to the auto-routable, turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation with automatic off-route and detour recalculation. It also holds about six million points of interest such as ATMs, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and much more.


Once you reach the water you can then take this waterproof unit off its cradle, attach it to your boat, and head out to your favorite fishing hole. Though this unit comes preloaded with road maps an angler can opt purchase Garminís MapSource cartography like U.S. Topo, U.S. recreational Lakes with Fishing Hot spots, and Garminís BlueChart. Now you have full capabilities of reaching your exact destination on the water with clear visibilities of the lakes, depths, and much more information that comes with these detailed mapping software. The Quest 2 is now widely available and retails for $749.99.


Ted Gartner, Senior Media Relations Specialist of Garmin, shows us the latest electronics. Notice the picture on the right, itís an enlarged view of the GPSMAP 376C thatís below with the GXM 30 Smart Antenna

The Garmin GPSMAP 376C is yet another portable and versatile electronic that provides an enormous amount of data for boaters and anglers. Not only is the 376C like the Quest 2 where it is preloaded with road maps and have the capability to use Garminís fishing and marine software, but with the included GXM 30 Smart Antenna it can also graphically display XM WX Satellite Weather data directly on the unitís TFT screen. This provides boaters and anglers with up-to-date weather information on the water or on the road. The GXM 30 receives all the information, does the processing, and then relays it to the display with such information like NEXRAD radar, storm cells, wind speeds, surface temperatures, forecasts, and more than a dozen other weather attributes. The weather data is the same leading site-specific, analytical weather technology and data that is provided to professional meteorologists across the United States.


In addition to receiving weather information the Garmin 376C will also have the option of receiving XM Satellite Radioís 150+ channels of commercial-free music, sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming. The unit includes an audio output jack that allows users to wire XM audio and turn-by-turn navigational voice prompts directly into their audio system. And to take it even further you can also receive sonar data through Garminís ďblack boxĒ sounder, the GSD 20. Now you have a full system that covers the road and water navigation, live up-to-date weather station, and the ability to see whatís below with the fish finder. Garminís GPSMAP376C will be available to anglers in August 2005 with an estimated retail price of $999.99.


Zebco introduces their very first fish finder, the portable ZF200

Zebco Fishfinder:
While we wandered around the Zebco/Quantum booth paying the majority of our attention to the latest offerings in reels, rods, and combos, we were taken by surprise when we saw a little electronic device sitting on its own display shelf. This electronic device isnít a reel or a rod, but actually Zebcoís first fish finder. This year Zebco decided to offer a portable and affordable fish finder for anglers to use on shore and from their watercrafts. The ZF200 can read from depths of 2 to 99.9 feet and have instant depth updates to the nearest 1/10th foot or meter. The unit has two update speed modes of 4 times per second or once every 10 seconds on battery saver mode. Other features include bottom composition indicator for weeds and rocks, a two-stage audible fish alarm, four user selectable sensitivity settings, ShootThru Sonar Technology for thru hull readings, and much more. The transducer is hardwired with 25 feet of cable thatís trollable, has an ultra-wide 45 degree beam, and is accurate up to 45 MPH when used thru hull. The Zebco ZF200 is powered by 4 AAA batteries for about 30 hour battery life. This small fish finder comes with a 2 year warranty and retails for only $59.

John Hoge impresses attendees by showing them how easy this inflatable is setup


Sea Eagle: Sea Eagle has always impressed us with their inflatable watercrafts tailored for anglers. Each package has been put together with anglers in mind by providing useful features to further increase our joy of being on the water. When we arrived at the Sea Eagle booth Cecil Hoge, President of Sea Eagle, warmly welcomed us and then immediately took us to see his latest invention. What we saw next was jaw-dropping. The new Sea Eagle Fold Cat is the ultimate fishing machine. This inflatable is like a pumped up version of the popular Paddleski. 


Cecil and John Hoge shows us their new fishing machine, the Fold Cat inflatable pontoon boat

Inflated in about 5 minutes by one angler, the Fold Cat 375fc is 12í4Ē x 4í4Ē in size and has a semi-floor composed of non-slip aluminum beams. The standard package comes with 2 swivel seats, 2 quick release mounts, 8 feet oars, 2 oarlocks, foot pump, 2 rod holders, front foot step rod, repair kit, and a nylon carrying bag. The Sea Eagle Fold Cat is now orderable and anglers can choose from three different packages that retails from $1199 to $1398. Look for our upcoming in-depth review on this fishing machine.

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