Great New Gear You Gotta Get | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
You lookin' at me? Check out great new gear for next year. Ric Burnley

Walking through the New Product Showcase at ICAST sportfishing tradeshow, the quality and quantity of new goodies available to kayak anglers had my gear head spinning. From indestructible haulers to impervious waders to cool clothes, flashy electronics and smart tools, I left a trail of gear drool all over the convention center floor. Here’s the good stuff you gotta get for kayak fishing.

Costa del Mar

How do they do it? Costa del Mar has been designing and producing the most innovative shades for years and they continue to lead the way in sunglass technology. In addition to eight new models of cool new frames, they’ve brought out one of my favorite lenses: Sunrise Silver Mirror. I got so excited when I heard the news, I rushed into my local shade-shop to check them out. When I couldn’t find the sunglasses locally, I had to wait for ICAST to see through these new lenses. These yellow-tinted, mirrored shades let in 30 percent more light and still stop 97 percent of glare. The lenses are scratch-resistant 580 polycarbonate that is light and tough. I look forward to using the Sunrise Silver Mirror on cloudy, hazy days or dawn and dusk. These also make great lenses for driving and land-based activities where a darker lens can stress my eyes. Costa also announced a partnership with Osearch, the shark tracking scientists who are famous for tagging great whites so folks can follow the fish’s travels online. Costa del Mar will release three shark-themed new frames with proceeds going to further shark research.

ICAST Costa del Mar


I’ve been wearing Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot waders for the past year so I wasn’t surprised they won Best Fly Fishing Accessory at ICAST New Product Showcase. The three season waders are constructed of 25-percent more breathable GORE-TEX® 5-layer Pro Shell fabric that manages internal temperature and moisture while making the waders tough enough to survive a lifetime in the kayak. A reach-through warming pocket with stormflaps and micro-fleece lining are welcome on cold days and an intuitive zippered chest pocket with integrated utility tabs house an arsenal of on water essentials. Patented front and back leg seam construction delivers an articulated fit that fights wear zones, bolsters wader longevity, and maximizes mobility. At the On the Water Demo, it was hard to think about waders while suffering in the Orlando heat and humidity. Simms had their new Solarflex Armor summer clothes on display with a line of shirts and pants that keep anglers cool and protected from the sun. Their Coolport fabric cools the wearer when wet with mesh panels to keep air flowing. I like the shirt with an integrated hood and neck gator that tucks out of the way. And the sleeves are longer with thumb holes to protect arms and hands from the sun. There’s even a sunglass chamois in the shirt hem to quickly wipe away spray and sweat from my shades.



Sea-Lect Designs

Sea-Lect Designs was represented in the New Product Showcase with its Triple Threat Rod Holder. The elevated rod holder can host a spinning, casting or fly reel. It allows for quarter turn quick adjustment so you don’t have to wrestle with knobs to adjust the rod holder. The tube offers 140-degree range of motion including vertical. It connects to a flush, surface or track mounted base. The glass-filled nylon holder is held together with stainless steel hardware to survive the rigors of hard fishing. Paddle anglers will like the leash attachments and retention collar that keep the rod in place through the rough stuff.

ICAST Sea Lect

Backwater Paddle

Backwater Paddle’s unique hand paddle is designed to push, pull and wedge a kayak into the tightest places. It’s also great for one-armed paddling while fighting a fish. Now, they’ve taken that philosophy to a full, two-bladed paddle. Just like the hand paddle, the new stick features the same hooked and toothed blade made of indestructible injection-molded ABS plastic, the same stuff used to make tough plastic accessories for kayak fishing. They connected the blades with a carbon fiber shaft that keeps the package light enough to use all day. There are two shaft sizes and each has 10cm adjustment from 230 to 240cm and 250cm to 260 for boats with a high-low seat.

ICAST Backwater


Columbia is always leading the way in keeping anglers cool. Since they invented the classic fishing shirt to the first cooling Omni Freeze Zero fabrics and now their new Omni Shade Sun Deflector shirts take heat management out of the box. The shirt uses sweat to cool the skin. Then they take cool to the next level with thousands of tiny, shiny dots that cover the shirt to reflect sun and heat away from the body. The dots are made of titanium dioxide, a compound found in sunscreen that protects against UV rays. The technology is an exciting idea to further protect anglers from the sun to make summer fishing cooler.

ICAST Columbia


When I first saw Yeti coolers at the tackle shop, I thought, “Who would pay that much for a cooler?” After years on the market, and huge success on the water, evidentially a lot of people will pay a premium for a cooler that keeps ice for a week and lasts a lifetime. I have several Yeti products in my garage. After expanding into soft-sided coolers, cups and thermoses, Yeti has moved into making bags and other boating accessories. At the ICAST New Product Showcase, Yeti’s Panga Duffel and Loadout Bucket each won awards. Following their reputation for indestructible and smart gear, the Panga Duffel is constructed of hook-proof, rip and tear proof, and waterproof material with waterproof zipper to keep gear safe and dry. I like the reinforced straps and tie downs that won’t fail under the worst conditions. Yeti challenges anglers to put the bags to the test. One of the most talked-about winners of the New Product Showcase was the Loadout Bucket. After taking top honors as best boating accessory, anglers on social media were up-in-arms about the 40-dollar price tag for a five-gallon bucket. As usual, you get what you pay for. This is more than a bucket from the box store. The plastic, reinforced handle will not pull off or snap. Tie downs make it possible to secure the bucket to an ATV or boat deck. A second set of handles in the bucket lip makes it comfortable to carry heavy loads. Speaking of heavy loads, turn the bucket upside down and it makes a reliable seat. This bucket won’t break, Yeti tested the bucket by driving over it with heavy machinery. And, the high-density polyethylene plastic is food safe to haul meat for lunch and ice for drinks.

ICAST Yeti 2


I was excited to see Yakima at ICAST in hopes that their first year at the sportfishing tradeshow is a sign that they’re bringing their indestructible and intelligent gear-hauling expertise to my favorite sport. In fact, they’ve already introduced a new truck bed extender at the New Product Showcase. The extender is built of square, aluminum tubing to be light and tough. Best of all, it can be set at three positions: open tailgate, closed tailgate and even extended to support a load on a roof rack. As expected, this is the last bed extender you’ll ever have to buy.

ICAST Yakima


After hearing so much about Fishpond gear, I was anxious to put my hands on the high-quality fishing bags and accessories. I was immediately drawn to their waterproof slings, duffels and backpacks. The roll top bag would make a great overnighter on the river or carry on for air travel. The bags feature waterproof and airtight closures. Accessories that keep tools and leader in reach are attached with reinforced connections. The panels are welded together and the fabric is coated to shed water. Fishpond is good for the conscious, too. They’re fabric is made from recycled fishing gear and other industrial waste. All the stuff is tested on Rocky Mountain trout streams and extreme waters around the world.

ICAST Fishpond


From the giant sign hanging over the entrance to the ICAST exhibition hall to BOTE’s Rover winning Best of Show, signs were all over the world’s largest sportfishing trade show that paddle power is stronger than ever. Another trend that points to our sport’s growing influence is collaborations among manufactures. Hobie and Gerber have teamed up to design a line of tools that are fishing and paddling compatible. The partnership has resulted in scissors, clippers, knives and pliers that reinvent the wheel. The tools are designed with an ergonomic feel and space-age look. All materials are military grade to survive sand, dirt and salt water. The new tools will be available at Hobie distributors with clips and attachments that coincide with their kayaks.

ICAST Gerber Tools



How smart is your watch? Garmin’s new Quatix 5 Sapphire marine smartwatch is smart enough to offer digital display of data from all compatible Garmin devices. That means you can control chartplotter, mark waypoints and monitor speed, depth, temperature and wind from the watch. Even smarter, the Quatix 5 is a full-service fitness watch with heartrate monitor. For kayak anglers, the watch is rated waterproof to 10 atmospheres, that’s 300 feet. Is your watch that smart? While I was at the show, I checked out Garmin’s InReach satellite locators. The handheld units can transmit messages, track location and send an SOS to summon help anywhere in the world. I consider InReach piece-of-mind that fits in my PFD pocket.

ICAST Garmin

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