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.


  1. Mike thanks for covering the IFTD show so well. You've given me some products to explore. And you're right about Vedavoo...#1!

  2. Very cool rundown. Too much to cram in on lunch.

  3. Great review. I've seen the Allen stuff in person. It's often confused with Allen Fly Fishing products which is unfortunate. I feel the Allen stuff is the walmart version of fishing gear. The quality is very poor in my opinion which is why the price point is so low. You are so right about the Vedavoo packs. Time and time again I keep looking at them. The only reason I never bought one is I picked up the Patagonia Steath pack and fell in love with it. I love the idea of a the Vedavoo child pack for my kids. I can stuff the pockets with little things like you would a stocking. I've been looking into beach rods for awhile. Something specifically for fishing the surf. They are a rare find. I hope clutch can has something at the NC fly fishing show next year.

  4. Even though I know you kept me in mind with the "Budget Minded Fly Angler" scope, it still boggles my mind that some folks want so much for their quality. I agree that it is excellent quality and will outlast cheaper tackle and gear or rod or whatever, but, they are still talking with a limited audience in this day and age. Thank you, Michael, for covering the show and doing an outstanding job.