As it has done every year in the recent past, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades is coming to Las Vegas, from Wednesday to July 15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Known commonly as ICAST, it’s billed as “the world’s largest sportfishing trade show.” As such, it’s where manufacturers and retailers meet to determine which fishing-related products will end up on the shelves or website of your favorite fishing tackle store.
The dynamic that occurs between manufacturers’ representatives and retailers on the show floor is somewhat similar to what occurs between sportsmen and the sales clerk at the tackle shop. One person is selling goods, and the other is buying. The difference is, when we go into the sporting goods store to buy something, we’re looking for something we want to take home with us. In contrast, when retailers go to ICAST, they aren’t looking for something they want to take home. Rather, they’re looking for something they hope you will want to take home when you come into their store or visit their website.
There is no doubt in my mind that some manufacturers spend more time and money researching what you will buy and how to package it than they do on researching whether their product will actually help you catch more fish. That said, I always manage to find a few new products that could very well help each of us improve our fishing success. Generally I don’t get to see any of the new stuff up close until ICAST opens, but this year, the folks at Rapala sent me a sample package of a new drop shot hook that some bass enthusiasts might want to test drive.
Called the VMC Spinshot, this hook is designed to eliminate line twist in drop shot applications, but an angler could also use it to stack multiple hooks at various depths. (Always check local regulations before using multiple-baited hooks.)
At first glance, the Spinshot appears to be a miniature hay hook, similar to those I used to buck hay with as a teenager. Upon further examination, however, what appears to be the handle on a hay hook is actually a built-in swivel sized to match the circle hook.
There is no barrel on the swivel; it has a simple wire shank threaded through the hook’s eye. On either end of that shank is an eye typical of most swivels. These eyes will permit an angler to tie a line on either end of the swivel, rather than using a traditional Palomar knot tied directly to the hook. By tying to the swivel rather than directly to the eye of the hook, the hook can spin freely around the swivel shank.
Rapala claims this free-spinning presentation will also increase hookups by maintaining the hook in the proper position. When it hits the market, the Spinshot will be available in sizes 1/0, 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8.
I look forward to seeing the other offerings at the New Product Showcase, and as always, will let you know what I find.
■ KIRCH BUCKET MOUTH — Largemouth bass are hitting baits at the Kirch Wildlife Management Area. Reader Steve Bostic hooked a 23-inch fish that weighed 8.96 pounds and was 19 inches long. He had been fishing for rainbow trout off the dam at Haymeadow Reservoir, but switched to bass after limiting out on trout. He caught the fish on a night crawler presented on 6-pound test.
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.