In July AFC descended upon the Orange County Convention Center for ICAST, the largest fishing tackle manufacturer’s trade show in the world. Over 580 exhibitors filled over a million square feet of the convention center floor. We saw tons of new products, some old and familiar, some new and innovative and some, well, that just left me scratching my head. Here is a rundown of what we thought were some of the best products from ICAST 2017.
Biodegradable Fishing Line Spools
How many spools of fishing line do you have lying around your house? If you are like me, dozens. For me, empty spools go into the recycle bin, but many spools end up in landfills, or even worse, along the shores of our waterways. At ICAST, KastKing introduced BioSpools, line spools made from a plastic like material made from wheat straw, which is a seldom used, readily available byproduct of wheat processing. BioSpools are 100% biodegradable. In soil or a compost pile a BioSpool will degrade in eight to twelve months. As current inventories are sold out, KastKing will start packaging all their lines on BioSpools. Let’s hope KastKing is starting a new trend and other companies will convert their spools and other packaging to biodegradable materials.
A Smarter Straw
According to the National Park Service, Americans use over 500 million drinking straws per day. If you lay all those discarded plastic straws end to end they would circle the earth almost three times – every single day! AFC President Rodney Smith challenged me to curb my plastic straw habit. I have to admit that is tough for me because I like to drink my ice tea with a straw. Thankfully I stumble upon the Ohero booth at ICAST. They will soon be releasing the Viva Straw, a reusable drinking straw made from 304 stainless steel. Each package of Viva Straws will include two stainless steel straws, one straight and one bent, and a cleaning brush. Although I am happy I am now contributing less plastic straws to our landfills, I have to admit there is a bit of a “cool” factor drinking from a stainless steel straw (in more ways than one).
Finally, Something New in Tackle Storage
After years of visiting ICAST I’ve learned there isn’t much that is truly new and innovative. Most are just tweaks to the same old designs. Take tackle boxes for example. They can add drain holes, rust inhibitors, gasketed lids and adjustable trays, but they are all fundamentally the same, plastic boxes with little compartments to store your lures. I didn’t think there was much room for improvement for the humble tackle box until I met the folks at Gruv Fishing. Gruv tackle boxes don’t have bins. They use silicone grippers to securely hold each lure. You no longer have to worry about your tackle bouncing around inside the box and hooks getting tangled. Gruv’s tough polycarbonate boxes sport stainless steel hinges, and there are no latches to fumble around with and break; strong neodymium magnets keep the Gruv boxes closed.
I realize locks have nothing to do with fishing or conservation, but Bolt has a really cool concept that solves the problem of keeping track of all the keys for all the locks I own. When you first use a Bolt lock, you insert your car or truck key into the lock and turn it. The tumblers settle into the cuts of your key and then fix in place. From that point on the lock is keyed to your car key. Bolt makes a wide variety of locks from padlocks to receiver locks, coupler locks, cable locks and more.
A Better Bucket
There are approximately 400 million five-gallon buckets manufactured every year. They are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), an inexpensive plastic that is used to make a lot of disposable items like milk jugs and sandwich bags. HDPE buckets get brittle and weak with age, especially if left out in the sun, and who knows how many of them end up in our landfills. Two companies came to ICAST with super tough, long lasting high performance five-gallon buckets. One company, Yeti, you’ll probably read about in other publications; so I’ll cover the guys you’ve probably never heard of, Huck Performance Buckets. The handle and bucket of a Huck bucket are made from high strength, UV stabilized DuPont Zytel®. Huck buckets have been tested to hold over 600 lbs without breaking. The bottom of the bucket sports four gripper feet made by Vibram® that not only prevent the bucket from sliding around, but also provide convenient gripper handles when you want to pour out the bucket.