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Additional Recent Articles

A Gem Hidden Within Abu Garcia's Veritas Lineup - the VTSS70-4
As fancy, high performing, and desirable higher end rods can get, there will always be an interest! in sticks right around that magical $99 price point. To many anglers on a budget, and at one point in time even for me, this WAS high end. Abu Garcia has been making a name for themselves with good performing value priced sticks...
The Down Low Knuckle LD by Megabass
We shared with you our long overdue thoughts on Megabass of America's eccentric little squarebill, the Knuckle FX, but did you know the Knuckle has a less well know little brother? This brother only comes in one size and instead of the adjustable lexan lip, comes with a standard, fixed lip made of circuit board material. Introducing Megabass of America's Knuckle LD.
Time to Spool Them Up and String Them Out... Which Reel Is Best (part two)?
When we left our four contestants at the conclusion of part one, they were a disassembled collection of gears, drag washers, sideplates, frames, and handles. Shortly after completing the previous installment, our three additional St. Croix Legend Elite EC70MFs arrived, so we reassembled the contestants with earnest and began the strategy of our continued tests. Time to spool them up and string them out.
4 Techs, 3 Countries of Origin, 2 Price Points, One Goal... Which Reel Is Best? - 2018 Low Profile Baitcaster Shootout (part one)
Low profile baitcasting reels are the weapon of choice amongst serious bass anglers. With close to a dozen manufacturers, there are so many reels to choose from that it's often difficult to make heads or tails out of one product as compared to the next.

Creature Fever Feature : Damiki's Air Craw
Back in the Fall of 2014, we spent some time on the water with Damiki's FLW pro Brian Thrift where we fished a variety of baits with one in particular, catching our attention for the way it stands up on the bottom as a crawfish imitator. Here, finally, is our take on Damiki's Air Craw soft plastic bait.

An Entire Combo for the Weight of One Reel Begins with Phenix's FTX-71MH
The FTX-71MH is a seven foot, one inch (7'-1") casting rod wrapped on a blank made of a blend of thirty and forty ton graphite bonded together with Phenix's own, proprietary nanolite resin. It is outfitted with Essex T-Ring guides with carbide inserts and features a reel seat that looks like a split version of Fuji's ACS reel seat.

Molix Making Some Noise With Their New Sculpo XD Rattlin' Crankbait
Exotic cars, mouthwatering meals, great, historic architecture are among the many things that come to mind when thinking of the wonderful country of Italy. Thanks to a continually aggressive and innovative manufacturer out of this same country, Molix is now adding fishing tackle to this list.
ARK Rods Pierces the Sub $100 Stigma with their Lancer Bass Rods
At ICAST 2018, the company introduced a new entry level series of rods built from an IM8 blank with a retail price set at just under ninety dollars ($90)! Can a sub $100 rod really perform? Today, we take a look at the search for one candidate within this series, the Lancer LAC73MHFC to find out.
What the Finesse : Missile Bait's Drop Craw
Missile Bait's Drop Craw is a diminutive little bait measuring three inches (3") in length but really feels as if it's more like 2". It has a somewhat nondescript main body capped with two, tiny appendages that are actually claws. You have to look closely to see, but there is an actual split of the plastic at the end of each appendage.

Breaking Free of Middle Child Syndrome, Abu Garcia's Revo4 STX
I've fished all the reels from the X through the Premier, but the one reel I was most excited to sample, once I discovered its improvement, is the subject of today's review. Introducing Abu Garcia's 4th Generation Revo STX.

SOLID! - The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster
It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate, and in many respects while baitcasters continue to push the refinement envelope the basic formula for these low profile reels remains vastly unchanged. The new Bantam is something new, something quite unlike anything else in the Shimano lineup, and bridges the gap between low profile baitcasters and aluminum round reels.
Reins Taps Into a Fish's Instinctual Memory With Their New C-Pod Creature Bait
One manufacturer has introduced a new bait product that is offered on the theory we can tap into a bass's memory banks and offer an up-sized version of something they would have fed on in their infancy. The Reins C-Pod Creature is a monster sized version of a plankton-like creature the copepod. Is it effective? We tried some out for ourselves to find out.
Megabass of America is on Target Once Again : The '17 Destroyer Javelin
We first shared with you our general impressions of Megabass of America's 2017 Destroyer Lineup in June of that year. Since that time we've been busy testing, fishing, and evaluating other sticks from that series. Today, we take a closer look at the one stick that stood out to me during our first day on the water...
Spro's Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin Frog
That so called secret is long spoiled but now, the next iteration of the topwater frog craze is taking that same bait and throwing a popping mouth on it. Spro's Dean Rojas has been aware of this trend for several years and now we're finally taking a look at his bait of choice in these situations. Here now is our look at Spro's Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin Frog.
Putting a Twist on Spiral Wrapped Rods and Making them Affordable Ė The Riverside M2
Uribe Rods has not only fully embraced the spiral configuration but is actively trying to drive adoption by making their Riverside Series rods premium performers at a surprisingly aggressive price. Is it time for the masses to once again consider ďtwistedĒ guide wraps?
G.Loomis's 820S DSR GLX : A Top Notch Performer, but...
Once upon a time, in a fishing life, long long ago, my primary fishing pole of choice was a G.Loomis GL3 MagLite rod, so I was pretty anxious to get my hands on this GLX model.
Higher End Affordability, Pflueger's Patriarch XT Spinning Reel
Of all the freshwater reel manufacturers out there, one that often gets overlooked is Pflueger and it's difficult to ascertain why. Afterall, if there is one reel manufacturer that consistently delivers solid performance at a reasonable price, it is Pflueger.
Optimum's Shad That Goes Boom Boom Pow!
Sometimes when you're fishing, all you want is a bite, any kind of bite, just to get some action. Other times, you're in search of quality. In those instances, the hunt is on for that one big bite and out here in California that means it's swimbait time. Optimum Bait Company, with the help of their BASS Elite Series Pro, Fred Roumbanis recently developed a soft plastic, paddletail swimbait that's getting a lot of attention out west.

Fanatik Baits Serves up a Feeding Frenzy with their Larva Plastics
Fishing is a global sport and there continues to be a trend of European companies making their products more readily available in the Americas. One such company is Fanatik, a lure brand that has roots in Europe and is known primarily for their soft plastics and terminal tackle offerings designed for targeting freshwater species including bass, pike, and walleye.
Taking Another Spin with Phenix's K2
Phenix's K2 TX-713S is a seven foot, one inch (7'-1") spinning rod made from Toray's T46 carbon material. It features a split rear grip made of EVA foam, a Fuji DNPS reel seat, Fuji titanium framed, Torzite guides, and decorative wood accent pieces throughout the grip. It is a minimal, but refined build worthy of a flagship product.

Aldebaran is Next to Receive Shimano's MGL Upgrade

The Aldebaran MGL shares the same size and shape as the previously reviewed 2015 Aldebaran 50/51, but there are differences in the reel's finish as well as spool capacity. The MEL version features a kind of metallic steel blue paint scheme that looks either grey or midnight silver depending on how bright the lighting conditions are.

DUO International Introduces New Additions to Popular Lures and Reveals Wild Prototypes

The recent partnership with Aaron Martens is already beginning to yield results as the combination of President and Lead Designer, Mr. Adachi, and Aaron has upped the company's design pipeline and introduced the brand to many more anglers here in the US. This ICAST DUO didn't hold back, and launched both new patterns and sizes in existing popular lines as well as gave anglers a peek into the future

Simms Broadens their Technical Garment Portfolio for All Anglers
When it comes to apparel for all types of anglers Simms has solidified itself as a leader. Gone are the days when anglers only associated the company as a fly fishing brand. This season the company continued to expand their offerings with new gear that helps anglers stay comfortable and protected in both cold and warm environments, so that they can keep those lines wet longer.  
Accurate's First Star Drag Reel - The Tern

Accurate pretty much built their entire brand on lever drag reels that are capable to tangling with the toughest fish in the world. These reels are designed to be strong, durable, and yet lighter and more compact than competing reels in the same class. This year the company expanded their lineup with a star drag reel called the Tern.

Artistry at Work - Nishine's Chippawa Crankbaits
Nishine Lure Works, a company that is based in Ontario Canada but has a long history going all the way back to Lake Biwa in Japan, is ready to make a big push in the U.S. with an enhanced product line including the refined Chippawa Crankbait Series.
Buff Chills Out with Coolnet UV+ Garments
Probably the most simple and now most widely utilized garment by anglers is the Buff, a tubular garment that can be worn so many different ways to protect anglers from the harsh sun on those long days out on the water. This ICAST the company that pretty much created the category for these garments introduced a new series called Coolnet UV+ that is designed to offer even more technical advantages for anglers.
13 Fishing Enters the Hardbait Market - Meet the Scamp
13 Fishing continues breaking into new categories by introducing a series of new hardbaits designed for bass anglers. The team has been working on these baits for quite some time and this ICAST they debuted baits for use throughout the water column including a crankbait, lipless crank, and topwater walk-the-dog style bait.
Aftco's Award Winning Debuts at ICAST 2018
Aftco has been outfitting anglers for sixty years, but before 2018, their concentration had primarily been with saltwater anglers. Based out of Santa Ana, California, outfitting saltwater anglers was a natural focus for the company. Aftco now takes all the knowledge and experience from the past sixty years and has decided to apply that to the freshwater angler.
Witness the 13 Fishing Envy Black - Shiny and Chrome
The 13 fishing Envy Black is back and we were present to bear witness to the launch of these oh so "shiny and chrome" new rods. Leveraging much of what fans liked about the original series these new rods take the fun factor up to level 10 with new features and a distinct look that sets them apart from other rods on the market.


A Souped up Custom Blade - The Omega Genesis Ti Spinnerbait
I'm sure you already have a favorite spinnerbait, your go to blade, and how can company's really differentiate when it comes to these class of baits? This ICAST Omega, a company that continues to gain a strong following among bass fishing enthusiasts, did exactly that with the introduction of the Genesis Ti spinnerbait.

Live Target's Crawfish Hollow Body - The Most Talked About Bait of the Show
Live Target has a well earned reputation for innovating and creating some of the most realistic looking baits that the industry has ever seen. It doesn't matter what style of bait, the company always seems to find a way to put their own spin on the design, making it more lifelike. This year was no different...
St. Croix Adds to Their Legend
Manufacturers offering a series or two or three of bass fishing rods are almost a dime a dozen here at ICAST. Those truly in the business of making tools to help us catch fish know there are far greater quarry than those green fish with extra large mouths. St. Croix, one of the premier rod manufacturers on the planet knows this and this year the manufacturer is flexing their rod making expertise by addressing the enthusiast market in an often neglected and overlooked segment of the angling public - the panfisherman.
Daiwa Introduces New Tatula Bass Rods and Expands Elite Series Models
This ICAST Daiwa not only introduced new Tatula reels but a complete line of new Tatula Bass Specific rods to pair those reels with, as well as a number of new Tatula Elite Series signature rods.
Baits That Make You Think, Hmmmm... Biovex
One of the more intriguing baits we came across while perusing the New Product Showcase at ICAST 2018 was a crawdad bait with hooks located in the bait's claws. The company's name didn't look familiar to us, so we thought it was brand new. Turns out they're just new to North America. Biovex has been making baits in Japan for quite some time and are now, thanks to their own USA division, are set to debut their product to an entirely new audience.
Lew's Updates Existing Favorites and Introduces New Super Duty Baitcasters
One of the companies that we are sure to meet with every ICAST is Lew's. The fast growing brand has one of the most robust baitcaster offerings and this season they not only introduced new reels but re-launched popular lines with updated features and ergonomics.
Something is a Buzz with Big Bite Baits
Not normally a manufacturer bent on making a big splash during ICAST, choosing instead to ease out new product launches one by one, Big Bite Baits changed course this year with a few new baits and a little refinement in the way their products are presented.
The Randall Tharp Signature Series from Ark Rods
Ark Fishing Rods has risen to the top of consciousness amongst value minded anglers seeking good, solid performing product at a price point that won't break their tackle budget. The company continues that trend this year with their new signature Randall Tharp Series of rods.
Locally Sourced and Produced Zee Bait Co.
In a little town, about an hour outside of Philadelphia, PA, is where Hunter Grogan, founder, bait maker, head of sales, marketing, shipping, inventory, quality control, maintenance, janitorial services, power, lights, water, runs an operation know as Zee Bait Co.. Zee Bait Co.'s primary offering is soft plastic baits and scents, but they also offer a line of branded apparel and custom rods! We caught up with Grogan and his crew at ICAST to see what they have cooking.
Abu Garcia Encourages Us to Be Like Ike
Most professional bass anglers with rods and reels bearing their name are featured on products in the value driven product lines, so when we heard about the new Revo Ike Series casting and spinning reels by Abu Garcia, we naturally assumed they'd be based off the RevoX or S reels making them more accessible to the young anglers who idolize Ike. Imagine our surprise when we discovered these reels were instead priced over $200!
Rolling Down the River2Sea Catalog of Baits
River2Sea's catalog of product can be overwhelming so we're usually a bit leery of the task of reporting on what's new with them. They claimed they didn't really have much going on, but when we arrived, their pro staff made sure we had plenty to talk about. Here's what's new, refined, and happening with River2Sea.
Quantum Re-Focuses their Value Propositions
Quantum's S3 engineering effort to refine their Tour PT and Smoke reels last year was a great success. This year, it was time to concentrate on one of their best selling reels, and solidify their position in the value segment of low profile baitcasting reels.
Jackall expands their Surface Bait Offering with the Chopcut and Riserbait
We are always eager to check out what Jackall has to offer and this year the company is focused on expanding their hardbait lineup, and especially those that are designed to target fish on the surface.










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