Fishing expos are roaring back to life post-pandemic with ICAST 2021, held in Orlando, Florida from July 20–23. Kayak Angler editor Ric Burnley is on-site, walking the trade show floor for a preview of the latest and greatest in kayaks, tackle, accessories, electronics and more. Here are his picks for the best new gear and tackle from ICAST 2021.
Best New Gear and Tackle from ICAST 2021
Stealth QR2 X and QR1 X Rod Holders
Stealth’s new QR2 X and QR1 X rod holders with shorter, dual pivot extension were on display at ICAST 2021. We’ve been testing the QR2 X and found the locking cam easy to operate. Not only does it secure the rod, but the mechanism gives me more choices for positioning the rod securely. I can grab the rod anywhere on the handle and remove the rod from the holder.
Also, check out their new Pivot Head Adapter for angling the rod holder in any direction. Position the Pivot Head on any gear track and angle the rod holder 360 degrees. Stealth rod holders are made of the toughest reinforced nylon composite for years of abuse.
PENN Carnage III Rods
Pure Fishing impressed us with their new focus on saltwater fishing across their expansive line. Carrying over the “Right Bait, Right Time, Right Place” concept from the freshwater line, the new tackle, lures and accessories are focused on matching the conditions to the equipment. We look forward to bending some of the new PENN Carnage III rods with upgraded construction and advanced components to stand up the biggest inshore and offshore fish.
PENN upgraded the Carnage III with new SL3C construction wrapping fibers in different directions to obtain the greatest strength with the lightest rod. Then, they add top-of-the-line Fuji K guides and reel seat with tough and grippy shrink-wrap handles.
Yeti Camino Tote, Rambler Bottle and Crossroads Bags
In addition to designing the best coolers on Earth, Yeti continues to expand their functional and cool-looking bags, accessories and insulated bottles. We were stoked to see upgrades to the Camino tote now with two internal pockets to separate gear and keep water bottles upright. Also, the popular 64-ounce Rambler insulated bottle comes with the Chug Cap to drink directly from the bottle.
This year, Yeti is doubling down on their line of travel luggage with new designs and sizes. Adding duffel bags, roll-bags and backpacks, I can carry my Yeti to the airport. Built with the same eye for detail and commitment to quality, the new Crossroads bags. I like the interior dividers to keep my socks and underwear separate. Rugged material is designed to go from the taxi to the Panga without missing a beat. And, Yeti’s new eye-popping colors really stand out.
Plano Edge Fly Tackle Box
Once again, Plano won Best Fly Fishing Accessory at ICAST 2021. The new Plano Edge Fly is sealed, waterproof and it floats. Inside, the top layer has a fly pad on both sides to dry and stage flies. Below, a magnetic tray keeps flies organized. With Plano’s anticorrosion treatment, the fly box prevents rust on hooks.
I like the clear lid to easily see what’s inside and help keep me organized. Latched closures and a seal around the lid keep out water and dirt. The Edge Fly is small enough to fit in a fly fishing vest pocket or hang from a carabiner.
YakGear Track Spool
At ICAST 2021 we discovered a new YakGear gadget we have to have. The new Track Spool attaches to a gear track to hold a paddle or push pole. With a large hole and a hook, the Track Spool doubles as a tie-down or cleat.
I like gadgets with multiple personalities. I can get more out of less space. I can use the Track Spool as a paddle or stakeout pole holder. The Track Spool holds the paddle outside the kayak so it doesn’t take up room in the cockpit.
I also use the Track Spool as a cleat to tie off my anchor rope. In the stern well, I can install a Track Spool on tracks to bungee my gear into the kayak.
PENN’s Carnage III rods stand out among the new gear and tackle from ICAST 2021. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley