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ICAST 2021 Coverage


TackleTour's Best of ICAST 2021 Award Winners


Date: 8/4/21
Location: Virtual Event
Admission: Industry Only
Manufacturer: All
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: While the ICAST show is always a great event to check out the latest tackle and get an idea of what the coming season will bring this show felt additionally special with all of us being apart last year. It was especially nice to be able to meet with manufacturers face to face and see firsthand their new products and learn more about their plans for the coming season. While there were a lot of great new products there were a few across the various categories that particularly stood out and the following are the ones that our editors elected as TackleTour's Best of ICAST Award Winners.



Best of ICAST - Casting Reel : Shimano Curado MGL 150: Whenever Shimano launches a new Curado the industry takes notice. This year Shimano bridged the gap between the popular 200K and 70K sized reels with the 150 MGL. The reel felt very solid, and just the right size, when inspecting it in hand at the show. It will come with a MagnumLite (MGL) spool, MicroModule Gearing, X-Ship, and a Cross-Carbon drag, all fitted within a new compact aluminum body. The emphasis on this new reel's design was an excellent weight to performance ratio and even though it is loaded with all the popular Shimano features it weighs in at only 6.5oz., which makes it .4oz. lighter than the Curado 70K MGL reel. The new reel has a stealthier look without the signature Curado green and gold highlights, and the black center frame gives the reel a sportier overall feel. Perhaps best of all is the price of the new reel, and at $199 dollars it is $29 dollars less than the 70K MGL. The more compact form factor should make the Curado 150 MGL a popular reel among both Shimano fans and anglers in general who are looking for a compact baitcaster at the highly contested $200 dollar price point.



Best of ICAST - Spinning Reel : Lew's HyperMag: While there were a number of very good spinning reels at the show the Lew's HyperMag stood out with surprising features and performance, all at an excellent price. Though Lew's is best known for their extensive line of baitcasters the company has been working hard on refreshing and refining their spinning reel lineup. The HyperMag is the company's new flagship spinning reel and features a magnesium frame, magnesium sideplate, ported magnesium rotor, 11 stainless steel bearing system, forged main gear, sealed carbon fiber multi-disc drag system, and a machined aluminum handle that is finished with a Winn Dri-Tacc knob. The HyperMag 200 size weighs in at 7.3oz and felt very smooth at the show, and exhibited a new level of spinning reel refinement for the brand. This is a lot of reel for only $159.99 and will be a hot commodity when it starts shipping this winter. 



Best of ICAST - Saltwater Reel : Daiwa Saltist: Daiwa is one of the few companies that does saltwater reels just as well as they do freshwater ones. Over the last few seasons Daiwa has expanded their proven monocoque (MQ) design and construction which gives their high-end reels not only a signature compact look and feel, but better durability and power. These are attributes that play well in a saltwater reel and this year marks the first time that this design is executed on the Saltist line. With this new monocoque execution, the Saltist's body serves as a stiffer and more distortion-proof frame. In this design, the reelís screw on side plate has been replaced with a twist in version that allows elimination of the screws and their sockets, allowing the size of the reel body to be reduced even while gear size is increased by 20 to 40 percent. This design also enables the series to equip the company's larger gears and a tighter seal comes more power and torque production plus a reduction in corrosion, which all adds up to a better reel for tackling big fish in harsh saltwater environments. The Saltist will retail for $299 for the smaller sizes and $389 for the largest sizes and interestingly since the previous generation is still popular, and with shortages hitting the industry, the company has decided to continue to support the old platform for a period so that it will co-exist with the new MQ reel.



Best of ICAST - Value Reel : Shimano Nexave FI: While Shimano is best known for their higher-end reels the company has really increased the number of mainstream and value offerings over the last few seasons. The SLX casting reel has been a smash hit for the company and has since spawned more feature-rich versions including the most affordable DC reel to date. This season Shimano has launched the Nexave, a spinning reel with a similar black and blue theme for anglers of all ages. This updated Nexave features the company's "G-Free" Body design which shifts the reel's center of gravity closer to the rod to help reduce fatigue and improve overall casting comfort. The spool lip also received the company's proven propulsion line management system which is a fancy way of saying the spool lip is angled to aid with line flow to reduce backlashes and wind knots while improving casting distances. The Nexave comes in sizes from 1000 to 5000 with 3+1 bearings and the 1000 size reel weighs a very reasonable 7.8oz. while the 2500 size weighs only 1oz. more. The best thing about the Nexave is that all sizes are priced at only $49.99, making this an exceptional value for anglers just getting into the game. The Nexave has just started shipping and is available now at Tackle Warehouse.


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