July 23, 2015

ICAST / IFTD 2015 - Rods, Reels, & Randomness

So...you tired of these yet...?
Don't worry, ICAST / IFTD week is almost over.

In today's installment, I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures of pretty much anything and everything I haven't posted yet. Things that caught my eye for one reason or another. Some of it will be fly (fishing), some of it will not. Welcome to Rods, Reels, & Randomness!


Kicking it off, that crazy Derek DeYoung went and painted a perfectly good tarpon to look like a brown trout. So not only has his art adorned fly boxes, reels, apparel, mugs, and rod tubes, but now it's on the fish themselves!!! Make a mental note, you'll see a lot of Derek's work in this post...


Diamondback rods are back. They had a few new models at the show, but I gotta be honest, nothing was quite as wild as these Clout models with the "LINK GRIP" cork handles which are supposed to improve sensitivity and reduce fatigue. What do you think about these??? MSRP $425


Every year, the Hardy booth stops me in my tracks. While they were really pushing the new Zephrus FWS rod ($649-$799) and Ultralite CA DD ($275-$419), a reel which Hardy claims is their finest large arbor model ever produced, (coming in Titanium...

...or black)...

...I just wanted to stop and look at the more timeless designs. There are few things sexier in the fly fishing word than a classic Hardy reel. I really just need to bite the bullet and pick one or three up one of these years...


Flymen Fishing Co. always seem to have something new and unique to offer. This year was no different. Starting with the Fish-Skull Captain Dubiel’s Pop-N-Fly, which is a foam popper you tie a few feet before your fly and chug along the surface to entice big reds!  MSRP $6.95...

The Fish Skull Black Sculpin Helmet...which is pretty self-explanatory if you're familiar with Fish Skulls...MSRP $6.80...

And last but not least, Fish Skull Chocklett's Body Tubing, used to create big heads, tapered bodies, and flare out materials on big game flies to give them the look of bulk, but maintain a light weight for ease of casting. MSRP $5.95...BOOM!


The Redington SKAGIT boot. Simply because I like to say Skagit.


Cheeky came to the party with 11 new reels...including a new opening price point reel, the Tyro. It essentially takes the same Rev Carbon drag system found in their mid-pricepoint Boost series, and drops it into a really tight, less expensive chassis coming in 3 sizes 2-4 all the way up to 7-8. MSRP $129-$149

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, they also dropped this beast of a spey reel on the industry called the...wait for it...Spey Series...which comes in a Mojo 425 & Thrash 475 flavor.

And to top it off, then they just got crazy and decided to get into the spinning reel business.  What the what? Yeah, 6 super smooth reels; 3 for freshwater fishermen called the FLOTR and 3 big salty sized reels called CYDRO. FLOTR is kinda a funny name...well, because my mind is always slanted toward potty humor, but the reels are phenomenal feeling in hand. CYDRO 3500 MSRP $129


Wetfly has a few accessories of note, like this water resistant, roll top Lotus Swing Pack ($129.99), and the Voyager "hydration vessel" ($34.99)...please don't call it a Thermos...it's like the YETI of Thermoses.

And a big freakin' reel too. The NitrogenXD Type III reel starts at a manageable 5-7 weight size, but then grows all the way up to a massive 11-14 weight size. Fully anodized and scratch resistant, this reel's also got a maintenance free, fully sealed drag...which is essential to go chasing oceanic giants. MSRP $499.99 - $609.99


Redington straight up went opposites when it comes to reel design.  First up, the BEHEMOTH giggles at any and all tenkara fishermen. Check out this freakin chunk of die-cast reel that claims the "strongest drag in it's class." In models from 5 weight up to 12 weight, this is one intimidating reel. I'll be honest, I'm scared of it. MSRP $109.95-129.95

And from the all capital BEHEMOTH, we shrink things down to the all lower case zero. zero is super light weight, you pick it up and at less than 3 ounces, it feels like nothing. The guts are nothing fancy, with a spring loaded, click drag, but you're not buying this to fight tarpon. This looks to be a nice ultralight reel at a very reasonable price. MSRP $89.95


As you might expect, Abel had a rainbow full of colorful reels. This Andrea Larko Edition Super 6N looked way better in person than in this crappy picture. They also have reels with Derek DeYoung or Eric Hornung graphics. Pretty baller. MSRP $1045

One of my longtime readers (George) wanted an update on the world of high end coolers. Holy moly there were a lot of them...


Kysek claims to be "The Ultimate Ice Chest." It's grizzly-proof, keeps ice for 10 days, and has integrated low profile wheels. A lot of neat bells and whistles, and I didn't even get to the electronics part yet...yes, I said electronics...

They also had this big screen at their booth, which I'm going to be honest, confused the snot out of a dullard like me. It was some sort of app called Code Blue that hooks up to a Bluetooth sensor inside the Kysek cooler and tells you statistics like internal temperature. Heck it will even send an alarm to your phone if you go over a certain temperature...cooler geeks rejoice!  Kysek coolers (without electronics) MSRP from $249 - $649.


Tempress also figured out a way to let you pimp out your cooler by developing cushions and wraps featuring America's foremost fishing artists such as DeYoung (yet again), Whitlock, Larko, and Estrada. Examples of Eric Estrada & Andrea Larko adorned coolers are below. MSRP $149.99 (cooler not included).


Pelican had some really big clunky ProGear Elite coolers with off-road wheels on them that let's face it, are probably functional as all get out, but nowhere near as sexy as a YETI...or a Grizzly...or a Kysek...


If wheels aren't your thing, the ORCA Pod backpack cooler might be the way for you to go...a soft-sided cooler, it holds 15 pounds of ice and 24-12 ounce cans, and will keep it all cold for days. That's a party on your back! Okay, it weighs almost 60 pounds full, but isn't all the the fun in lightening the load anyway? MSRP $329.99

Don't forget ORCA's line of premium hard sided coolers too...which happen to be proudly made in the USA.

OK, what's left?  A few other random things...almost done, I'll be quick...


Like this Bonefish floor mat from Realfish...

 Floating selfie sticks from SP Gadgets...

The Squiddies Flip Reel...bringing the Cuban yo-yo into the 21st century...

A pretty slick net, the EGO S2 Slider Guide Landing Net, that has a handle that adjusts from 29" to 60"...

The Costa Rooster won "Best Sunglasses in Show" at the ICAST New Product Showcase...

Currents water shoes from Simms did the same in the footwear category...

Last but not least...the No Tangler Fishing Rod from Steinhauser Tangle-Free Rods. It's telescopic, handles any spincast or baitcast reel, and the line actually feeds through the rod itself, not through the guides. It's pretty much fool proof fishing...which is something I think I need at this point, because I'm pretty wiped out from writing all of these recaps! MSRP $16.99 (kids licensed combo) all the way up to $39.99 (adult spincast combo)

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

And with that, the ICAST / IFTD recaps are over for 2015!  At least until tomorrow, when I name my "BestT! in Show" award in the final installment...so if you've liked them so far, please make sure to come back and check that out.


This is the fifth of six new product overviews from last week's ICAST / IFTD event. If you'd like to see the other entries, please click HERE.


  1. Remember when his wife liked the Funcfish shirt? To think with seeing such amazing art every day she could enjoy our logo... Perhaps I should ditch fishing and take up art...

    1. Ha! I do remember that... Maybe. Do you still fish? How's it been?

  2. Hey, Michael, even though everything that you showed here is super classy, most all of it is out of my price range.

    In addition, I just wanted to say thank you for each of your posts from the show. People think putting these posts together is a breeze. Their wrong, and I for one, appreciate your efforts!

    1. Thanks Mel, appreciate the kind words. Sorry I couldn't find much for the "budget" angler, although I suppose it's a relative term. For better or worse, booths don't always put their budget gear front & center...

  3. Take up art? ..................... I'd recommend against it. For 99% of the artists out there, it's like trying to make money writing a fishing blog. Only a select few ever see a profit and those that do are treated like celebrities and the rest of the artists are mostly ignored. As in everything, it's not what you know, but who you know, or whose *$&# you kiss and what principles you'll give up to make a buck. Then, what do I know about making a buck. A: Not a *$&# thing.

    1. Profit is definitely a tricky thing, with any enterprise. If it was easy, we'd all be doing it...

  4. How to make a million bucks as an artist? Start with two million...

    1. ^^^ Now that there...is funny...and likely true.

  5. Wow, Mike. Great write-up. I've been off the blog-o-sphere for a while and looks like I have some serious catch up to do. Also, I got the bad news this AM that Owl stopped following me on twitter (tears in my eyes). I don't know what I did to insult him....