July 16th through the 18th the American Sportfishing Association held its annual ICAST sportfishing trade show. The show was sold out for the seventh straight year. ICAST was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This show is where the “Who's-Who” of the global sportfishing industry gather to show their fishing products. All the big companies were there, Pure Fishing, Johnson Outdoors, Shimano, Rapala, Pinnacle Fishing, and Daiwa just to name a few. There were so many sunglass brands that your mind would swell just trying to remember them all. As for fishing lures, there were just too many to count. There was booth after booth of rod and reel companies from all over the world. With all these booths filled to the brim with fishing products of all kinds, one would think that one of the fishing market's fastest growing segments would be present - kayak fishing. Well it was not. I only saw few companies that had products one could recognize as designed for kayakers. There were Malibu Kayaks, Hobie, Island Hopper Kayak Motor Mounts and Shakespeare. Yes, I did say Shakespeare. Shakespeare and Emotion Kayaks have teamed to produce a line of three fishing kayaks to be sold under the Shakespeare brand name, the Angler 100, Angler 120 and Angler 140. You may start to see these being sold in stores that carry the Shakespeare brand of fishing gear.

When I visited the Malibu Kayak's booth, I was blown away by a XFactor kayak that was really tricked out with a X-Wing, Depth Finder, GPS, Scotty Stabilizer System, 2 Scotty Rod Holders, a Compass and a Poling Tower. As I walked around this fishing kayak, I wondered just how heavy it must be and how hard it must be to paddle. This may be a great kayak for west coast kayakers who fish the kelp beds off San Diego but it a bit much for flats anglers from Florida.

Scotty Plastics had a great booth that showcased their kayak fishing products. During one of my visits to their booth, I spoke with one of their new product designers and asked if they would consider developing a camera mount that can be inserted in their standard rod holder base. I was surprised to learn that my idea about a camera mount was already being tossed around by Scotty designers. Being able to mount my digital camera on my triple mount system would enable me to get better photos of my catches when fishing solo. I hope they develop one soon.

I also spoke with Tom Strauss, Emotion Kayaks' President. He and I discussed the partnership his company had with Pure Fishing to bring the Shakespeare Kayak brand to market. Knowing the quality of Emotion Kayaks, I know that this may be a home run for Shakespeare.

As I spent most of the three-Day ICAST in the DriGrip Sunscreen booth, I did have the opportunity to visit with the folks from Island Hopper Outboards. Their booth was directly across from our booth beside Pinnacle Fishing. This small St. Petersburg, Florida company, has developed a trolling motor mount that utilized the two typical rod holders on fishing kayaks. It comes in two versions, a universal and a pelican mount. They also sell a mini-min-kota trolling motor with an additional rudder to keep the kayak running straight when under power. This may be a solution for kayak fisherman who want to venture long distances that paddling will not offer. Their web site is www.islandhopperoutboards.com.

ICAST 2008 was a great trade show except for the fact that the kayak industry was under represented. I asked Tom Strauss what show did all the kayak companies turn out for, he said the Summer Outdoor Retailers show. I hope that when ICAST comes to the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida in 2009, more kayak manufacturers and accessory companies decide to come. It will only improve kayak fishing for everyone. To get more kayak fishing products at ICAST, the worldwide kayak fishing community, needs to do a better job of communicating our kayak fishing needs to resellers of kayak fishing equipment like e stores Kayak Fishing Gear and Kayak Fishing Stuff and big box stores like Bass Pro, Dicks, Gander Mountain, and Cabalas who in turn will motivate manufacturing companies both big and small to develop new kayak fishing products for all of us.

In closing. DriGrip Fishing Formula had a great ICAST and met a lot of great folks. Please visit our web site at www.drigrip.com and our blog at www.drigrip.ning.com to read more about the only true dry sunscreen that does not harm or repel fish. Contact me at [email protected] to receive a free sample.