When the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) was held in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month, members of the media and product buyers cast their votes for new products they considered to be the Best of Show in 24 categories. Those categories include everything from freshwater rods to eyewear and electronics.
Today, I want to look at a couple of award winners that may help you put a few more fish in the boat.
Best of Show-Hard Lure went to the SPRO Corp., a company whose trout imitations have served many anglers well in the search for large striped bass at Willow Beach. SPRO’s new offering is the BBZ-1 Rat, an articulated swimbait designed to resemble a swimming rat.
The Rat is a large bait, measuring 10 inches from its nose to the tip of the tail and weighing in at 2.5 ounces. Accounting for the first 5.25 inches of the lure is an all-plastic body injected with foam to maximize durability and flotation while giving it the sound of a wooden bait, explained Bill Siemantel in a promotional video about the Rat. Siemantel is the lure’s designer, a professional angler and founder of the BBZ — Big Bass Zone. His goal was to create a bait with a shape and size “everyone can use with all types of rods and equipment.”
One of the problems often associated with large baits having multiple hooks is the tendency for those hooks to become entangled during the casting process. That isn’t going to happen with the Rat. Siemantel’s design place the bait’s two 1/0 hooks just far enough apart that they can’t even touch each other. He also designed the bait’s articulated tail so it too maintains a safe distance from the two hooks.
The Rat is available in five colors — white, nighttime black, gray, brown and morning dawn. While the first four colors are those one might expect to see in a rat, morning dawn is more of a purple hue and not something you would expect to find a rat wearing.
Despite that, Siemantel says it is his favorite color and that the bass seem to agree with him. Expect to pay about $30 for the Rat.
Obviously, you can’t throw bait if you don’t have fishing line, and the folks at Pure Fishing Inc. want to help you with that. Their newest monofilament line, which the company has labeled IRONsilk, took Best of Show-Line honors at ICAST. If the hype behind the name proves to be true, this line just might be what anglers need to fish tough environments such as those found in the Lower Colorado River and impoundments such as Lakes Mead, Mohave and Havasu.
According to the documentation provided by Berkley, “This line was built to be fished in the most abrasive environments like around zebra mussels, oyster beds, docks and rip rap.”
While you won’t find oysters in Lake Mead, you will find an endless supply of line-cutting quagga mussels and rocks. And because IRONsilk is 33 percent more abrasion-resistant than other lines of similar diameter, Berkley says you can use a smaller diameter line.
While abrasion resistance accounts for the IRON part of its name, the silk portion in IRONsilk is attributed to the line’s smooth composition created by its polymer matrix. The folks at Berkley claim this attribute will give anglers longer casts by allowing the line to move through rod guides 20 percent to 25 percent faster than other lines.
Since I am not a real fan of braided lines, perhaps this is an option for our local waters. I guess the only way to really know for sure is to give it a test. IRONsilk is available in sizes ranging from 6- to 20-pound test.
For a complete list of Best of Show winners, visit the ICAST 2014 website at icastfishing.org.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.