ICAST, the largest sportfishing trade show in the world, finished up their four day stint at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida back in July. Over 12,000 buyers, media and other members of the sportfishing community hit the trade show floor to get the first peak at hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of new angling product that will soon find their way to tackle stores around the world. No doubt many fishing magazines, television shows and websites will soon be publishing a “best of ICAST” feature highlighting their pick of he best new rods, reels, lures, lines and more.
We scoured the isles of ICAST to come up with our own version of the “best of ICAST” with an AFC twist. Here are some innovative products from companies that are not only trying to help you catch more fish, but are doing so with an eye towards conservation.
Super Durable, Biodegradable Soft Plastic Lures
Soft plastic lures are great for catching fish but not so great for the environment. Most of these baits are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a petroleum-derived plastic that doesn’t naturally degrade. This means all those plastic worms and swimbaits that end up on the bottom of our lakes can remain there for hundreds of years. Enter Japanese company Nikko Kasei with a revolutionary line of soft baits made from an environmentally friendly, non-PVC based, biodegradable, scented plastic that is FDA approved for food and medical devices. Nikko lures can stretch up to eight times their original length which makes them incredibly resilient, allowing you to catch more fish per lure than most soft baits on the market. If you happen to loose a Nikko bait overboard, don’t worry, they are naturally biodegradable, and if swallowed by a fish, remain soft and are digestible.
A Big Push for More Biodegradable Lures!
MHG, a biopolymer company that manufactures biodegradable plastics from renewable organic resources, is looking to help fishing tackle manufacturers make more environmentally friendly lures. MHG teamed up with Bill Lewis Outdoors to make 150 of the iconic Rat-L-Trap lures from MHG’s NodaxTM PHA which is a biodegradable plastic made from non-GMO canola oil. Lures made from NodaxTM PHA would have an indefinite shelf life in the dry confines of a tackle box, but snag one on a rock at the bottom of the river or toss one in a compost pile and it will completely degrade in as little as three months. MHG brought their biodegradable Rat-L-Traps to ICAST with hopes of luring tackle companies into using their plastics to make lures that are safer for the environment. Scott Tuten, Chief Marketing Officer for MHG said they and a great ICAST and received positive responses from almost all the major players in the lure business. MHG is now developing samples for a number of top lure manufacturers. Let’s hope biodegradable lures are a dominant trend at next year’s ICAST.
A Smart Little Fish Gripper
Smart catch and release fishing requires controlling your catch in a way that minimizes handling damage and removal of the fish’s protective slime. Lip gripping tools have long been an excellent way to controll a fish while removing a hook and to help hold your catch for photographs. Most of these tools are big and bulky and can be cumbersome to carry when wading or fishing on foot. Thankfully, Adventure Products, Inc. is comming out with the EGO Mini Gripper, a smaller, lighter version of the classic lip gripping tool. The Mini Gripper is made from lightweight, annodized aluminum and other materials that can handle the rigors of saltwater use. A particularly nice and convenient feature is a magnetic release clip at the top of the Mini Gripper that you can clip to a belt loop on your fishing shorts.
A Safe Way to Measure Your Fish
AFC has no problem with folks who want to keep a fish or two for dinner provided they are within size, bag and seasonal limits. To help measure fish without excessive handling, Adventure Products, Inc. added measurement graduations to their new EGO S2 Slider Compact Guide Landing Net. The net employs a rubber coated fabric mesh that safely cradles the fish and minimizes slime removal. Graduations start with zero at the bottom of the net and go to 18 inches at both the front and back of the net. All you do is add the numbers you read at the head and tail of the fish to get the total length. The net attaches to the frame with a zipper so it is easy to zip on/ zip off for cleaning and replacement. Now you can safely and effectively measure your catch without having to remove the fish from the water.
Be Cool and Save the Planet
If you stopped by the Mojo booth at ICAST you’d seen most of the crew sporting Mojo Mr Cool Ultimate Technical Fishing Shirts. The shirt boasts all the features you’d expect in a premium button up style fishing shirt; a comfortable, lightweight, vented design made from breathable, moisture wicking, UV blocking fabric. What sets Mr Cool apart from other fishing shirts is it is made from what Mojo calls CoolTechTM Ultimate Poly fabric. The fabric is made from 50% polyester and 50% recycled plastics. We salute Mojo for introducing recycled materials into their clothing line. Lets hope Mojo expands the use of recycled materials into more of their clothes and that other manufacturer’s follow their lead.