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Featured Article: Show Coverage

The West's Largest Sportsmen's Expo Comes to San Mateo (Part 2 -Best of show)

Date: 1/31/02
Location San Mateo, CA
Admission 10 Dollars
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: Hundreds of manufacturers displayed their latest offerings at the ISE show, and picking the top ten "Best of Show" manufacturers was a daunting task, but in the end, the following ten manufacturers really stood out with unique and exciting products.

The Top 10 "Best of Show": The following are the top ten manufacturers at the ISE that really stood out by displaying something unique and/or truly exciting. (The following are in no particular order, and encompass rod, reel, lure, and electronics manufacturers)


St. Croix displayed a complete rack of rods and actually had another booth totally devoted to fly fishing rods. Here St. Croix's pro staff displays their travel rod

St. Croix:
With the introduction of the Legend Elite 2 years ago, St. Croix still considers this spinning and casting rod their top prize.  These rods are built with their revolutionary Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) technology that truly eliminates the weak points caused by compound tapering.  It also features SCv graphite for ultimate strength without sacrificing performance, the Fuji SiC Concept Guide System, and much more.  For 2002 they released 4 more rods in this series to completely satisfy their customers’ needs: EC68MXF 6’8”, EC70HF 7’, the EC76MHF 7’6” telescoping, and the ES68MXF 6’8” rod.

When traveling, St. Croix wouldn’t want to leave you empty handed without one of their high performance rods, thus they manufacture a series of travel rods. Their Premier Traveler spinning rods has all the high qualities you can expect from St. Croix’s rod building process. All their traveling rods come with a nice case for your traveling needs.

Gary Schaefer and Phil Oliva inspect one of the exciting new G.Loomis Greenwater series rods

G.Loomis: Loomis had a fantastic year 2001 and steps it up one notch by creating 59 new rods for 2002! These include the exciting new "Greenwater" series which are designed for saltwater flat anglers, but also excellent for all light duty saltwater applications...all in a striking "seafoam green" package!

Regional sales manager, Gary Schaefer, and Design Engineer, Phil Oliva, also showed us an exciting new travel rod line...the Escape Series. These new three piece travel rods feature a black cherry finish and the finest Fuji components...so when your on the road you can still get the premium performance you would expect from any G.Loomis product. In addition G.Loomis is expanding its line of tackle storage solutions all branded with the ever popular "Fear no Fish" logo.

Lamiglas's National Sales Manager, John Posey displays the high quality Certified Pro rods

Lamiglas: National Sales Manager, John Posey showed us a full range of high quality rods.
These included the Certified Pro graphite rods which feature increased strength and durability while reducing weight and diameter. The blanks are finished in translucent brown with matching wraps, high quality Fuji guides and reel seats. These high performance rods can be had at prices ranging from 170 to 220 dollars.

In addition we were excited to see the Ti2000 rods which are made out of titanium! With titanium tapered construction these rods are lightweight, powerful and so sensitive that these rods actually amplify sensations by transmitting them through the hollow shaft. Definitely an exciting premium product for anglers who want the experience of fishing with innovative new materials.


Proving just how "Ugly Tough" the Ugly Stick is by lifting a 12lb weight!
(yup, the rod survived)

Shakespeare: The top selling rod manufacturer of all time once again proved that their Ugly Stick is built..."Ugly Tough!" In an on the site test we used a light action rod (only $29.99) to lift a 12lb weighted box off the ground...and yes, the rod survived! 

Bob Haire and Jack Bishop show off the high quality Pflueger Trion reels

District Sales Manager, Jack Bishop and Bob Haire also showed us the new Trion reels from Pflueger. The Trion low profile baitcaster has an amazing freespool that spins seemingly forever, and the entire reel only costs 99 dollars!

Okuma's National Sales Manager, John Bretza proudly displays Okuma's 2 Speed Titus Gold

Okuma: Making big waves in the industry Okuma displayed a complete range of offerings including their sweet Titus Gold 2 speed reels which looked great paired on Okuma's own line of rods, which featured the latest high quality Fuji components.

National Sales Manager, John Bretza, and local rep, Mike Walker, showed us the entire range of Okuma's latest products including the Convector series casting reels which went from great to spectacular this year with a new oversized one way roller bearing, eliminating back play completely! In addition, Okuma expands its line of spinning reels with the redesigned Fina, which features the same heavy duty drop forged handle arm as the Metaloid!

Shimano's Trinidad continues to be a top selling product  

Shimano: Shimano had the largest presence at the show with a fantastic display showcasing everything from the top selling Curado and Trinidad reels, to Shimano's new line of high performance Clarus rods. The Clarus rods all feature graphite blanks, cork grips, and Fuji aluminum oxide guides. These rods are also surprisingly affordable ranging from only 59.99 to 69.99!

Quantum brings out the big guns with the highly anticipated Energy PT

Quantum: Last year the Accurist ACS was Quantum’s top seller.  Before 2002 there were rumors that Quantum was working on a new line of reels...and now Quantum’s secret is out.  Four new reels!  Their new Performance Tuned (PT) series reels has been fine tuned by their weekend warrior engineers.  The tweaked out design on Quantum’s reels has improved its performance while keeping the costs down.  Stay tuned for the upcoming review on the new Energy PT (E600PT) baitcasting reel!

Mepps/Mister Twister demonstrates the swimming action of the new Bigysmal

Mepps/Mister Twister: Todd Plath Marketing, Product, and Promotions Manager at Mepps and Mister Twister introduced us to many exciting new products this year.  One of the new items released is the Bantam Syclops spoon which is lightweight and makes a good choice for Kokanee and trout fishing.  The Bantam Syclops comes in 6 twenty-first century Mepps Color Technology colors. 

Another unique and eye catching product introduced this year under their Exude series is the Corn Niblet.  This could be a hit for people who use real corn as bait, and it can also be used as a trailer.  Tests have shown that the scent lasts much longer than real corn due to the compounds used: 25% plastic and 75% water-soluble secret formula, AND the niblets are engineered and optimized for cold water use. 

Bigysmal Meatloaf Shad… as the name suggests, this lure is only 2 inches long and 1/8 ounce small, but it’s a BIG producer because of the many incredible design features.

The BPL weighs only 6lbs and features a carry bag that doubles as a pump!


Outcast: Outcast sporting gear introduces the BPL (Backpacker Lite) which is the ultimate lightweight packable float tube weighing only 6lbs. Featuring a air seat, 2 large storage pockets, and a innovative stuff bag which doubles as a pump... all at a price of 325.00 dollars! This tube really got us excited, as we imagined how useful these could be in backcountry for tackling wild trout!

The 6500 can locate fish, control downriggers, run temp and speed sensors, and even pilot your boat!

Bottom Line/Cannon: Ready for the ultimate electronics? Bottom Line introduces the Tournament Champion 6500 which features a GPS, and a 240x400 pixel display. This amazing finder can control multiple Cannon downriggers and speed and temp sensors so fisherman can target fish with pinpoint accuracy. Once those fish are found the 6500 can mark and autopilot your boat out the exact position anytime.

Conclusion: All ten of these outstanding manufacturers put on a great show fueled with innovative designs that are sure to be winning products. These "Best of Show" manufacturers put in a huge amount of design time and it really shows in the quality of construction of all these products. We were glad to have the opportunity to meet all the great people from these manufacturers, and really see the latest tackle offerings of 2002 firsthand. Judging from the brief glimpse we got at the ISE show, it is definitely going to be an exciting year for tackle enthusiasts, packed with innovative products that will help all of us further enjoy the sport we love.

Thanks for a great show guys!









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