Monday, July 13, 2015

Southbound Today - Sniffing Out the Coolest New Stuff

Mistaken Identity color patterns, new from Bandit

Friends think I'm a little wacky (or maybe more than a little) when I head north during the winter to fish through little holes in the ice. Pointing the car toward Florida in the middle of July somehow seems even worse, but that's exactly what I'm doing today. I'll spend the better part of today driving toward Orlando for ICAST, which is the industry trade show where tackle manufacturers from across the industry reveal all their new stuff for the following product year to retailers and wholesalers and to the media.

If you've paid attention to fishing website or follow fishing companies or pros on social media, you've undoubtedly gotten peeks at some of the new stuff, like Bandit's expansion of the hugely popular "Mistake" color pattern, which, despite many stories that bounce among bass fishermen, was never a mistake. The original Mistake color scheme was actually was the idea of a retailer and a special order. It drew immediate interest and was quickly expanded and has long been on the most popular colors of Bandit crankbaits, so Bandit has decided to build on concept with three new color schemes of the same sort.

Watch on this page and especially on my Facebook fishing page and other social media outlets for updates. I'll share live photos and reports as I see stuff that strikes me as extra cool.

Most of this week will be spent within the walls of a giant convention center, walking the show floor to look at stuff and talk with folks. Beyond seeing new products, it's my best single opportunity to reconnect with folks from so many companies to stay on top of things they've been doing and to talk about stories I might be working on now or in the future. Tomorrow, I'll actually be outside, though -- even fishing for a few hours.

ICAST has added an outdoors element as a kick-off. It begins with an informal bass tournament, which I'll be fishing with Dan Dannenmueller and Michael Range from Garmin. Dan is a tournament crappie angler, and I won't deny that my main interest is seeing what is new from Garmin and getting material from Dan for future crappie stories. That said, I have a couple of bass rods packed, and you can trust that I'm not going to ride around Lake Toho all morning and not make a few casts!

After the tournament, I'll get to check out some of the new stuff in more of a real setting at a new event called "ICAST on the Water." The actual ICAST show doesn't open until Wednesday, but Tuesday includes a couple of preview events. ICAST on the Water, held on the banks of Lake Toho (same site as the tournament blast off and weigh-in) will provide an opportunity for buyers and media to actually see baits swim, cast rods and reels and otherwise check out new stuff in a much more real fashion. It's a new event, so I don't know exactly what the structure will look like. Then, on Tuesday night, the New Product Showcase on the main show floor will be open for a few hours for a media and buyer preview.

Come Wednesday, it's onto the main show, and that will be going on for the next three days. Stay tuned!


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