July 27, 2014

Auto Share From Instagram To Your Blogger Blog

Blogger blogs don't get a lot of love from the widget, or plug-in community.  It's probably rightfully so, considering WordPress is really what most would consider the "world class" open-source blogging platform...and well...Blogger works mostly within Google's gated walls.  That noted, I still run a Blogger blog, and I know many of you do as well.

I recently decided to try using Instagram a little bit more.  Many of you who do use Instagram (far more than I do) passively integrate your Instagram photos into your blog by embedding a widget in your blog's sidebar, creating a "slideshow" or "filmstrip," but there's no true way within the Instagram social sharing interface to get your pictures to publish as a Blogger blog post.  You can share/post them to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, etc...just not Blogger.

I happened to find a workaround yesterday that I thought I'd share that is run through a service called IFTTT.com.  It will share your Instagram pictures directly to your Blogger blog, creating an individual blog post through a simple "recipe."  A recipe is simply a command that outlines how when you post something on one app, it will take certain attributes from it, and post them on another app.  In this case, it pulls the Instagram photo, caption, and URL and automatically creates a Blogger blog post of it.

You can actually use IFTTT recipes for many other apps as well - for example, you could set one up to save every PayPal payment you make to a single Google Docs spreadsheet...or have your Weather app send your Gmail account an email every time it's supposed to rain.

I've set up Instagram/Blogger recipes that take your Instagram pic and create a Blogger photo post by either using the hashtag #blog in the caption of the photo, or it will embed the Instagram post into your blog by using the hashtag #embed.

You can set up the recipes to automatically blog post all of your Instagram posts without the use of hashtags, but I thought using the hashtags was a little bit more convenient as it would allow you to be more selective in what you choose to post from Instagram to your Blogger blog.

The cool thing is once you get it to run, if you have a service (such as Networked Blogs) that automatically shares your regular blog posts on Twitter or Facebook, you no longer have to share them on those social networks via Instagram (if you don't want to).  Just post your Instagram pic with one of the hashtags...it will create a Blogger post...and from there gets sent downstream to the other social networks...with all of the traffic pointing back to your blog.

I tested both yesterday and they seemed to both work okay.  I tend to prefer #photo to #embed, only because when it shows up on other social networks later, namely Facebook, their systems can pick up the actual photo to use as a thumbnail image.  That doesn't seem to work with an #embed.

Example of a #Photo Post

Example of an #Embed Post

Confused yet?

If you happen to be interested, you'll simply need to sign up for an IFTTT account either on your desktop, or download the app.  (I'd recommend the app).  From there you can use one of my pre-made recipes below, or try to create your own.  It's not that difficult once you get the hang of it;  far, far easier than I probably make it sound above.  (One note, you may want to change the blog tag on your versions of the recipes.  Mine are set up to tag all of the Blogger posts as "Instagram," which may or may not work for you).

IFTTT Recipe: Instagram To Blogger Post using hashtag Blog connects instagram to blogger

IFTTT Recipe: Instagram To Blogger Post using hashtag embed connects instagram to blogger

Again, I probably won't use this all the time (if at all), I just thought it might be useful for those of you that are power-Instagram users and also run Blogger blogs.  I'm pretty sure you could use IFTTT to auto-publish to Wordpress too, but I'd imagine there's already a plug-in for that.

July 25, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - BesT! In Show Award

There's a lot of stuff at a trade show like ICAST / IFTD.  So much stuff, you can't even scratch the surface of all of the gear that's on display, let alone go out and try to see it all.  My tactic for the show was to find a showstopper, something that'd make you go hmmm...  Something you just wouldn't expect at all.  One booth did genuinely surprise, and has earned my BesT! in Show for 2014.

When I say the name Hodgman, what do you think of?

Flattering rubber hip boots?

Slimming neoprenes?

Image lifted from HERE

Hopefully not THIS?
Note, probably NSFW...or any circumstance...EVER!
Damn you Google image search!

Well, good ol' crusty Hodgman went and totally blew up all of the geriatric stereotypes with massive amounts of sonic welding, honeycomb patterns, and Gothic fonts in a top to bottom re-branding effort.  I present to you the Hodgman Aesis Sonic Stocking Foot Waders!

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Waders

Now I know what you're going to say...Troutrageous Mike, why are you so witty and ruggedly handsome I thought the Simms Freestone Z Wader won the actual Best Wader in Show award?

Well, you're right, it did.  But did you honestly expect Simms not to have a top flight wader on display that would eagerly be supported by industry insiders?  (Note: Awards sell products).  Simms makes great products and have for quite some time.

However did you expect Hodgman to attempt to fully reinvent itself and build a wader with enough good looks and technical features that any well-schooled fly shop salesman could easily sell it to an eager-to-spend patron quicker than you can say "elk hair caddis?"  Probably not.

So what should make these waders appealing to retailers (& customers)?
Let me rattle off the features...
  • Sonic 2.0 stitch free seam technology - no stitches, less potential for leaks
  • 5 layer V-Tech legs and seat with no inside leg seam for durability
  • 3 layer V-Tech upper for top notch breathability
  • Top loading external pocket with water resistant zipper
  • Micro-fleece lined hand warmers with water resistant zippers
  • Convertible from chest waders to pant waders without removing suspenders
  • Flip out internal storage pocket with removable waterproof touchscreen pouch
  • Stretch wading belt with low profile buckle
  • Anatomically correct left and right neoprene booties with comfort fit gravel guards
  • Compatible with Core INS Thinsulate liner for year round use in coldest of weather
  • Also available in DIGI-CAMO!!!!!!

See, lots of features and benefits to sell come Spring 2015.  All at an MSRP of only $299.99.
Yep, that wasn't a misprint.  (The Core INS liner will sell for $69.99).

Here's a quick video.

But noooo....Hodgman didn't stop there.  They also added a full zip front version of the Aesis Sonic wader for slightly more, $399.99, as well as a non-sonic stitched "takedown" version of the Aesis (with most of the same DNA) called the H5 (MSRP $199.99).  Oh, and did I mention there's also an opening price point H3 at $99.99 too?  Talk about reinvention.

(Note, the cool wading jackets on the mannequins were also on display, albeit under the radar, ETA Fall 2015)

Now look, I haven't fished in these.  I don't know how durable or breathable they actually are.  I don't know how they'll stand up the the rigors of real world weekend warrior fishing.  But when you think about it, nobody has really put in much time with any of these "award winners" from IFTD yet, so these trade show awards are all kind of arbitrary in the first place.

All I know is that I visited the booth expecting to be underwhelmed, I mean it's Hodgman, right?  But I left feeling surprisingly impressed.  By far the largest delta between expectation and realization that I experienced at any booth.

Mission accomplished Hodgman, BesT! in Show.

July 24, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - Everything Else & More!

Okay, this is going to be my last large ICAST / IFTD recap post.  (Thank the Lord above, right?)

I could go on for weeks and weeks with all the stuff that was at the show, but I'm going to cram all of the odds and ends that I didn't already cover into today's post.  Again, I'm sticking to the theme of the generally underpublicized brands...since you'll likely see marketing for all the big guys in a fishing magazine near you in the not too distant future.

With that, here we go...


I have to admit, I'm drawn in by these rods.  Clutch also happened to have a prime booth location right next to the casting pond (good move).  The rod I had my eye on was the saltwater model, the Archipelago.

Clutch fly rods are handmade in the USA and geared toward a specific function.  In other words, they don't try to adapt the taper used on their 7 weight to their 10 weight.  All rods are individual designed, a tool for every job.

The 8 weight Archipelago would be a killer redfish rod.   A 4 piece, fast action cannon, I took it to the casting pond and it casts awesome.  I've been thinking off and on about it for the last week.  Just can't get it out of my head!  Damn, I don't know if I can bring myself to spend $815 on a rod, but when I do, it will probably be for this one.

In addition to the Archipelago,  there is a one piece, extra fast saltwater rod intended for guides/boats called the Theory.


One of the more interesting things at trade shows like this is the row of very nondescript, generic white booths (probably rented from the convention center) crammed full of every knick-knack and thingamabobber you can imagine.  Rods, reels, nets, waders, heck...even crab traps.  This is usually dubbed "International Row," and it's typically full of factory representatives from overseas (China) that are looking to private label, or house brand, their products for you.  Kind of like Alibaba, but in person.

Here's an example of an uber anonymous fiberglass fly rod.  For what it is, not too horrible a build if you ask me.  Maybe you'll see this in some retailer's rod rack next year with a more familiar name stamped on it.  Just don't pay more than $100 for it or you're getting ripped off.  OK?...okay.  #glassisnotdead?


Everybody knows the cooler brand named after the Abominable Snowman.  Heck, the buzz of the show was their new softsided cooler, but I wanted to find something else.  Something a touch, well, you know...at least a little more affordable.  The answer was Grizzly.

Now don't get me wrong, Grizzly coolers are premium products.  They are made in the USA (Iowa), boast a lifetime warranty, are in fact certified bear resistant, come in a rainbow of colors, and have those trendy thick RotoTough walls with polyurethane foam centers to keep ice cold way longer than it should ever need to...anywhere from 4 days to 19 days depending on the capacity.

Optional "Arctic Ice" divider inserts are also available for the 75 model.

Super sturdy, you can hop on a Grizzly cooler to use as a casting platform without issues, and there are plenty of ways to customize a Grizzly, from custom colored or logo lids, multiple inserts to divide the space within, you name it.

The best part, in comparing retails, Grizzlys run about 15% less than comparable coolers from the other guys.

This particular model (the 400) is huge, as large as an ice chest you'd keep in your house.
It holds 500 12 ounce cans.  That's a party.
MSRP on this beast is only $799.


If there is any brand in fly fishing that I'd vouch for the quality of their products over and over and over and over again, it would be line of bags and packs that Vedavoo puts out there.  It's not that they are the fanciest, but they are so smartly constructed (out of bombproof fabric might I add) and functional, they really can't be beat.

Two new items that caught my eye were both sling packs.  I love sling packs by the way.

First is a "Honey I Shrunk the Sling Pack" for the kiddies.  Pretty much a fully functional replica of the wildly popular Tightlines Sling, the Little Bugger sling is simply downsized to fit kid-sized shoulders.  Daddy Lilly needs one of these!  MSRP $69.

The second sling pack is the opposite, it's a larger version of the standard sling pack.  Scott Hunter was calling it the TL BEAST and that's a very appropriate name.

As you can tell from the picture below, it has quite a bit larger main compartment, actually large enough to hold one of those hard plastic Cliff Beast Jr. fly boxes.  It also has a water bottle holder on the bottom, and like the other Vedavoo slings, will not shift on your body when you don't want it to.  It's rather impressive and I'd expect nothing less from Vedavoo.  MSRP is $149.


I've been a fan of Estrada Art on social media for about a year, but this was my first opportunity to see the graphics in person.  If you think they're bright and vibrant online, the "pop" like crazy in person.  While not all of the products (like the flat brim hats) are my style, the art is absolutely stunning.  I think at minimum a performance tee is in this angler's future.


Possibly the opposite of the loud, in your face designs from Estrada Art, was the clean, classic looks of Avid Sportswear.  A sportfishing lifestyle brand along the lines of Pelagic, I just really, really liked the way this stuff looked, especially the headwear.


It's said the weakest part of your fishing line is at the knot.  It's actually true that when most lines are tested for strength, the knot fails before the line does.  Lynx Fishing is attempting to solve that problem through a proprietary compression technology that actually seals your line inside the hook (or detach tube if you're using a hardbait).

Got that?  Yeah, I know a bit confusing.

Basically they make eyeless hooks (or these little metal rods with bait clips on the end) that are hollow.  You insert your line into the hook, and using their Precision Tool which creates 2 tons of force, seal the hook closed around the line.  No knots, no point of weakness in the line.  Something I suppose is pretty important, especially if you're big game fishing.  The tool will retail at $99 as part of a starter kit, with the various other components available a la carte.


The Robo Cup is one of those things that really isn't limited to fishing...because the applications are limitless.  It's essentially pair of cup holders made out of heavy duty plastic attached to the two ends of a ridiculously strong butterfly clamp.  The clamp has rubberized jaws, so you can pretty much attach Robo Cup anywhere without tools or worrying about marring the surface.

The outstanding thing about Robo Cup is that you really don't have to use it as just a cup holder, you can throw anything inside, keys, wallet, cell phone...and the bottoms of the holders screw completely out so you can place long products...like ahem, fishing rods...inside.  Yep it's a rod holder too.  This thing is a boater or kayaker's best friend.  I left the show with a sample and I plan to use it quite a bit.  This, like sinkholes and shark attacks just screams Florida.  MSRP is $19.99.


These are Fish Allure scented bait tapes...which are basically patented polymer
film stickers that you place on your hard lures to attract fish.
They are embedded with a collection of amino acids and steroids
that achieve optimum scent attraction for fish.
They are water activated, work for approximately 60 minutes, and are easily removable.
I actually have a pack so we'll see...
Speaking of stickers, ever have a crankbait that has a great action in the water,
but you just don't think the fish are feelin' the color?  Well then the SkinBait is for you!
This pack gives you 12 resusable skins (enough for 6 lures) and is only going to cost you $5.99
(Which is a heck of a lot less expensive than buying a different colored lure!)
Don't have enough electronics?  Here's another, the Smart Fishfinder 2.0 from Deeper.
It's the world's first wireless smart fishfinder made for professionals,
compatible with tablets and smartphones.  MSRP is $199
I was especially impressed by the layout of this Bear Creek micro chest pack from Allen.
With plenty of storage, and a zip down workstation with tippet tender,
this small chest pack is a steal for the minimalist angler at only $29.99
I present to you a bag of party balloons!
Nope, this is a night time balloon fishing kit from Balloon Fisher King.
It's got biodegradable balloons, glow sticks, and balloon clips.
Other than that, I have no idea how it works, but I guess I can find out for only $14.99
Worst case, if you get skunked, you can always twist up a balloon fish....
BOOM!  Mojo Menhaden Oil up in this joint!
Just wait until some Hollywood doctor pronounces this stuff as a healthier extra virgin olive oil.
Perfect with kale and quinoa...whatever that crap is.
Seriously, you can create your own menhaden slick; MSRP $29.99
White Peacock 100% Fluorocarbon, brought to you by BALSAX.
Take my money.

As you've probably noticed, I've embedded links to each of the manufacturer websites, so if you're looking for more information on any of these products, please click through and pay them a visit!

Please make sure to come back tomorrow where I'll name my "Best In Show"...a product which might surprise you.  It did me.

July 22, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - Tenkara Tuesday

So you know I couldn't go to ICAST / IFTD and not look for some tenkara stuff, right?  And today's Tuesday...so, well, welcome to Tenkara Tuesday, ICAST edition.

Tenkara USA and the Tenkara Rod Co. were both at the show.  Actually, their booths were almost directly across from each other.  There weren't any other tenkara-specific companies present, but TFO had a booth, as did Patagonia.  While I didn't see the "Simple Fly Fishing" gear in the Patagonia booth, I did spy the 3 tenkara rods over at TFO...but more on that in a bit.


First stop was the Tenkara USA booth.  Daniel, TJ, & John were manning the booth, and Faith was there womaning(?) it as well.  It was good to see them again, I had met most of them at previous customer-facing fishing shows, as well as at the last two Tenkara Summits.  They were all in good cheer, as they had a new, much larger booth, and the prior night the movie Blood Knot had taken the award for best film at The Drake Magazine Fly Fishing Video Awards, a video in which tenkara plays a prominent role.

Honestly, if you're familiar with the new Tenkara USA rods introduced last year, the Rhodo & Sato, there probably wasn't anything "new" to see at the booth.  That said, it was good to chat them up for a bit and see that business is still brisk.


As I mentioned, right across the way, the guys from the Tenkara Rod Co. were also greeting many interested (potential) retail customers.  They had their full line on display, but most notably the 13' Owyhee and the 8' Cascade, both new for 2014.

I got to handle both rods, give them a wiggle, as well as a few casts in the aisle.  My impressions...the Owyhee is a quite nice rod and is a compliment to their other two 12' rods, the Teton & Sawtooth.  On the other hand, the diminutive Cascade, that rod's a gem.  Light in hand but pretty crisp, it's got to be an absolute blast to fish with on small streams.  I can't even imagine the insanity on a fish of substance!


I did swing by the TFO booth...however I had to go all the way over to the other side of the convention hall to find it.  Rather than split their booth in two as some vendors chose to do, TFO set up shop with all of their products over in the ICAST part of the house.  So baitcaster rods were next to spinning rods were next to fly rods, etc...  The 3 tenkara rods were displayed sort of uniquely, and I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture, as they were standing upright on a small rack placed on a round table in the middle of the booth.  It looked sort of like a tenkara menorah.  :)


With all of the exposure in the press, I thought I might see a large "Simple Fly Fishing" display in the Patagonia booth, but I didn't.  Heck, I didn't see the rods or book.  They might have been there, but their booth was clearly focused on clothing and waders.  I did however go into both the Shimano & Daiwa booths and ask some people if they had any of their tenkara rods at the show.  After I got the stink eye, I promptly left.  Eh, doesn't hurt to ask.  Shimano is getting into the waterproof action camera biz though.  I don't know if GoPro is scared, but that was kinda neat to see.


Winn Grips made a pretty big splash at the show.  Their booth was large and heavily trafficked.  As you may (or may not know), Winn is a pretty prominent golf grip manufacturer that has recently branched out into fishing rod grips on both an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket purchase basis.  The popular Redington Vapen Red rods launched last year featured Winn grips and largely received high praise.

Winn Grips are pretty cool because they not only feel really nice in hand, but maintain a very tacky (but not sticky) grip when wet.  So moisture from fishing, or just plain hand sweat, does not negate your feel when holding the rod.

While they were there to sell their colorful grips for spinning, baitcasting, saltwater, and fly rods into market, they did have a small display (much like the TFO menorah) of some grips intended for International applications.  Along side grips for Shrimp rods and Tai poles, were two for Tenkara rods.

These were really, really nice and added virtually no weight to the rod handles at all.  No more than cork for sure.  While I don't believe they will be made available for aftermarket sale in the US, I do hope a manufacturer at least tries to integrate them into future rod releases.


Small chest packs are very popular with tenkara anglers.  Not carrying a lot of gear also means you don't need a giant pack to tote it around.  One of the nicer of those packs that I got to play with was from Umpqua.

The Rock Creek small chest pack is in fact small, at only 5" x 9" x 3.5" but features a (relatively) large main compartment, big enough for two full sized fly boxes and an internal organizational pocket for small things like car keys, floatant, whatever.  An outer tool "sheath" holds hemostats and has a velcro patch for flies.  There is also an external tippet storage cord for up to 8 spools of tippet.

While all that is good, the two best features in my opinion are actually the zippers and neck strap.  Ever have a bag where the zippers just sucked?  The zippers used on this bag are ultra smooth and don't get hung up.  The "neck strap" is actually a fully-supported 4 point shoulder harness that is ultra light weight and comfortable.  The pack feels like you are wearing nothing.

Personally, I'm more of a sling pack kind of guy, but at an MSRP of $59.99 this pack would be hard to ignore if I were to go the chest pack route.  I think it's every part the equal, if not superior to the very popular Fishpond San Juan pack.


No, this company wasn't at the show, but the launch of their new online store sort of coincided with ICAST, so I'm going to include this too.

Basically, Three Rivers Tenkara is the creation of Anthony Naples, a name familiar to those in tenkara circles.  By opening an online store based in the United States, he attempting to remove the barriers such as currency conversions and VAT taxes that come with trying to purchase Tenkara Times branded rods directly from Europe.  In addition to Tenkara Times rods, Three Rivers Tenkara also offers other essentials such as lines, line holders, and fly boxes.  I own and reviewed a Tenkara Times rod, they are very nice rods.

And with that, my tenkara recap of ICAST / IFTD is complete.

As you've probably noticed, I've embedded links to each of the manufacturer websites, so if you're looking for more information on any of these products, please click through and pay them a visit!

July 20, 2014

ICAST / IFTD 2014 - Reels In Review

Before I begin, I didn't spend too much time seeking out fishing reels at the show.  I personally have settled into a pretty spartan reel existence...in the fact that I prefer either click & pawl reels...or no reels at all (in the case of tenkara).

That said, since I do try to fish for larger fish every now and then, so I do understand the need for a solidly built reel with a good drag system.  My current fly reel of choice is the Cheeky Mojo 425, but there were plenty of others on display...so when it came to seeking out fly reels I generally strayed away from the big boys like Orvis, Sage, Abel, etc...and visited some smaller players you may (or may not) already be familiar with, such as...


To me, this was the reel of the show.  Maybe it's the fact that it's British designed and made, maybe it's the fact that it appears totally bombproof, or maybe it's the fact that Shaun, who walked me through the reel from top to bottom, really seems to know his stuff.

The Fly Reel Company RB1 reel is a "big fish" reel.  The model below that has just very recently hit the market is a 12.6 ounce, 10/12 weight reel intended for salmon fishing...but is also completely saltwater proof so tarpon beware!

There are many selling points to this reel, such as solid block aerospace 6082 aluminum, stainless steel components, zero backlash anti-reverse, an exposed palming rim, etc... but the drag is the star.  The combination of composite and titanium discs inside the fully sealed drag produce up to 18 pounds of force and were heat tested in to exceed friction temperatures of almost 400 degrees Fahrenheit!  Basically, your drag should not fail.  Ever.

Now all this tech doesn't run cheap.  Currently available in the UK for £599, that's a little over $1000 here in the USA, but in this case, you do get quite a bit for the money.  

A slightly smaller RB1 in a 7/8 weight will also be hitting the market that has redfish and snook written all over it.  It will weight 8.3 ounces and carry a slightly lower retail than its big brother.

Both reels will come standard with the green colorway below, but as pictured in the reel above, custom colors like blue, red, etc... will be available.  Believe me when I say the pictures do not do this reel justice.


Also new to the fly fishing scene is Douglas Outdoors, a start up out of New York, that is being run by some long time industry veterans that helped build many of the fly fishing companies you are familiar with today.  

There were two very different reels on display, the Argus and the Nexus.  I'll start with the Argus.

The Argus is a click & pawl reel that borrows heavily from a Hardy or Orvis CFO from a cosmetics standpoint.  Solidly made in the USA out of machined 6061 aircraft aluminum, I'm not going to say it is the equal of those reels (I didn't fish it, so what do I really know), but when you turn it, you do hear the correct "clicking" sound.  If you're into click & pawl reels, you know what I mean.  The Argus will have an MSRP of $395 to $450 depending on size. 

Whereas the Argus is the "traditional" looking reel that's made in the USA, the Nexus is the "modern" looking imported model.  Similarly machined from bar stock 6061 aircraft aluminum, this reel's major selling points are the wide ported, lightweight frame and spool, and sealed disc drag at a price point of only $250 (2/3 wt) on up to $350 (7/8 wt).  While nothing really stood out as new or innovative, with many of today's sealed drag reels up in the $500+ range, this reel should be popular.


The TF-70 fly reel from 3-TAND won the Best Fly Fishing Reel in the ICAST new product showcase...and for very good reason, bang for the buck.  3-TAND reels all have sealed drags at incredibly friendly price points.  It you thought the Douglas Nexus was priced right, how about trying $179.95 (1-3 wt) to $209.95 (6-8 wt) on for size!

The TF Series features the aforementioned patent pending NanoCF Drag system that is both smooth and strong.  The reel itself is made from 6061-T6 cold forged, tempered aluminum so it is also extremely lightweight (3.0 to 4.6 ounces, depending on size).

Like the Fly Reel Company RB1, this too is a very handsome reel in person.  The pictures don't really display the nice, bright, satin silver finish on these reels.


Nautilus might have had the busiest reel booth at the show, so I didn't really bug any of the sales people while they were at work.  Their new Silver King series of CCF-X2 reels won the IFTD Best of Show for both freshwater & saltwater reels...so I guess all the booth buzz was justified.  My pic of the reel came out really crappy, so I'll send you to the Venturing Angler for a better look.

That said, this particular display case below was getting a lot of attention, perhaps stealing some of the Silver King's spotlight as it had examples of custom finishes on other Nautilus models.  Note the camo on the left, and well...you can't miss the bling up front...


I really didn't learn much at the Daiwa booth other than a lot of their spinning reels will feature Air Rotor technology as shown in the picture below.  I have to say, the reason why I went in the Daiwa booth was just for eye candy, because in my opinion, they make THE BEST looking spinning reel on the market.

Look, you pick up a reel at the show, give it a few cranks, they all feel like butter.  Daiwa reels feel great too...but the cosmetics feature dark blacks & anthracites, deep golds and reds, chromed out silvers, and basically even the tiniest trout reel looks like it'd kick the ass of any other reel by using the Dark Side of the Force.

Daiwa also had all of these crazy big "power assist" and line counting reels with LCD screens and buttons on them that were just interesting to look at.  I hope they at least come stock with Tetris, like the original Nintendo Game Boys used to...

Daiwa also happened to be holding the Bassmaster Classic trophy hostage...


The big news from Penn was the update to their Battle saltwater spinning reel, brilliantly re-named the Battle II.  The main thing to know about this reel is that it has enhanced corrosion resistance due to the use of 5 sealed bearings.  It also has an improved carbon fiber drag system that increases maximum drag by 15-50%.

It's a reel I'm seriously considering when I go to upgrade my spinning tackle for the kayak...yes, the more I live in Florida, the more I find the need to rediscover spinning gear every now and then.  Other folks must have like the Battle II as well, because it won the ICAST Best Saltwater Reel award in the new product showcase.  Once it hits store shelves it will retail from $99.95 to $129.95.


While a saltwater-safe, fully sealed drag was one of the themes you may have noticed in many of the fly reels mentioned above, the other theme prevalent pretty much everywhere was COLOR!  It seems that all fly reel makers are going the way of Abel & Cheeky and are, or will be, offering tons of custom color options, either standard or with a small upcharge.  

One of the more eye-popping booths (believe it or not) was Tibor, who seems to really be embracing the whole mix and match color option proposition.  It looked like a roll of tropical fruit Life Savers got unraveled.

Their Signature Series reel already comes in 6 different colors (Satin Gold, Jet Black, Royal Blue, Crimson, Moss, & Graphite), but they've added an additional 2 custom hub color options for 2015 (Violet 3D & Graphite) to go with the 4 from last year (Jet Black, Aqua, Lime, Crimson).  The hubs are newly redesigned and can be purchased separately to upgrade any current Signature reel.  I wish I took a picture at their booth, but I didn't, so here's an image lifted from their marketing materials...

I did get to handle Galvan fly reels for the first time.  Very solidly made in the USA, I was very impressed by the fit and finish of both the Brookie & Torque reels.  The tiny B 0-1 Brookie reel, for 0-1 weight lines was a really neat reel in particular that is making me begin to re-think what an ultralight small stream reel should look like.

On the spinning side, (just in case you were wondering), I did stop by the Straighcast reel booth (highlighted HERE in the recent past) and spoke to Mark Kendra at some length about his line twist-free, alternating reel concept.  He wanted to let everyone know that the pictures out there are only of the prototype, which he also had at the show.  They are working on the 4th prototype now, and the finished reel will have a closed housing to conceal the gears, and will also be a bit more compact in profile.  The target retail is "under $400."  How much will probably depend on how much can be built overseas.

To close, I'll leave you with a video of kids' Roddy Lite light up spinning reel display, just because it's fun.

As you've probably noticed, I've embedded links to each of the manufacturer websites, so if you're looking for more information on any of these reels, please click through and pay them a visit!