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 and more. Here are his picks for the best new electronics from ICAST 2021.
Best New Electronics from ICAST 2021
Mariner Direct Motors & Electronics
Mariner Direct has anglers covered with a complete line of batteries, hubs, battery meters, lights and more to completely rig any kayak with every type of electronics. New this year, a 28-pound-thrust motor that only weight seven pounds and a mounting base to fit in a Hobie MirageDrive kayak.
At ICAST 2021, I got a tour of a kayak rigged out with Mariner Direct’s best electronics packages. One of my favorites is the Sonar Shield that blocks sunlight and glare from my fish finder display. Mariner Direct has a full line of LED lights and navigation lights. Their 50-amp-hour lithium ion battery will power the full array of electronics with the routing hub and all the accessory wires to tie it together.
Power-Pole Micro anchors are popping up on kayaks from the salty flats to the backwater swamps as anglers realize the powered stakeout pole saves time and keeps them on the bite. At ICAST 2021, Power-Pole updated the Micro’s control panel to be easier to use and read. The Micro can be operated with a remote control. Or, use the upgraded C-Monster app to run the Micro with an iPhone or Android.
With IP67 waterproof and UV resistant housing and a power lithium-ion battery, the new Micro is ready for any fishing. Not only does the Power-Pole Micro quickly anchor the kayak in water up to five feet deep, but partially deployed the stakeout pole acts like a drift sock to slow the boat and keep the bow pointed down wind.
Garmin Striker Vivid Series Fishfinders
Garmin brought out the colors for ICAST 2021 with the new Striker Vivid series. Featuring 11 new color options for SideVu, and ClearVu fish finder display. Instead of monochrome colors, the Vivid series combines colors to improve definition and target separation. The Striker Vivid uses the powerful and sensitive ClearVu and SideVu sonar with traditional and CHIRP signals to see what’s directly below the kayak. Designed for heavy action, the display is waterproof and tough.
While I was at the Garmin booth, I checked out the new Striker Cast, a castable transducer that connects to a smartphone app using Bluetooth. The Striker Cast is enabled with scrolling sonar and GPS with Quickmaps for custom charts. With the new Cast, you get the high-definition traditional sonar display with flasher mode popular for ice fishing. The Bluetooth app displays fish finder, depth and water temperature.
Ugo Slim Dry Bag
One of our favorite products at ICAST 2021 is the Ugo dry bag for phones and electronics. This year Ugo is releasing the new Slim model that is thinner and softer to fit a smartphone and external battery. The Slim protects my phone while still allowing me to take photos, connect to Bluetooth and operate the phone through the bag.
Not only is the Ugo waterproof but it floats even when fully loaded. A waterproof zipper and welded seams keep water out. I like a dry bag for my phone because I can test the seal by filling the bag with air and squeezing while looking for leaks.
Mariner Direct exhibited their selection of kayak-ready motors, lights, batteries and more at ICAST 2021. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley