Our editor stormed the halls of Orlando’s ICast trade show and then Salt Lake City’s annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show looking for a few worthy new products. A few products stood out and warranted a little more buzz than others. The short list includes fishing crafts, paddles, accessories, and tools from brands we love, and a couple that we're being introduced to for the first time.
YAKATTACK VERSA ROD HOLDER AND VERSA PRO
YakAttack introduces a brand-new lock ‘n’ load mounting system, the Versa and Versa Pro ($30 and $45). The idea is, 'one rod holder to fit everything.' The Versa and Versa Pro are fully versatile with two points of axis to rotate. They lock in fly rods, spinner, and baitcasters in one piece. The Versa series sets into the Gear Track with the brand new lock ‘n’ load mounting system, the new foundation for upcoming mounting accessories.
BONAFIDE SS107 and SS127
Were were noting but curious about this new company launched in Greenville, S.C. with YakAttack founder Luther Cifers taking the reigns as CEO. Bonafide showcased a brand launch at ICast 2017 with the ICast SS127 and SS107 fishing kayaks. The fresh designs are 100 percent created in the USA and are built on a hybrid-cat hull design. The ultra-stable craft is an efficient and fast-paddling kayak loaded with effective accessories and offerings, in lengths of 12-foot-7 (x 33.5 inches, at 75 lbs. with 475-lb. capacity at $1,599) and 10-foot-7 (x 34.5 inches, 67 lbs. with 425-lb. capacity at $1,299).
Yeti takes a bold step into the non-drink-cooling gear game with the Panga, a submersible, zip-closure duffel. The Texas giant’s first major release that does not boast insulating properties, the Panga certainly stands behind the Yeti motto, built for the wild. The Panga is offered in a 50/75/100-liter sizing and priced accordingly at $299/349/399. This bag is simple: It's the most built-out and durable bag with submersible zipper that we've put our hands on.
YAKIMA EASYRIDER HIGH TRAILER
Haul it all with Yakima’s latest utility trailer. The Easyrider High is perfect for hauling fishing ‘yaks, paddleboards, bikes and cargo. The dual-level storage trailer can carry up to 500 pounds on Yakima's widest and heaviest duty bars. Shock absorbers provide a plush ride for your gear. The smart handle lets you haul loads as a handcart, benefitting from a lightweight, yet robust aluminum build ($2,799).
BENDING BRANCHES ANGLER PRO
The Angler Pro has been a staple of the Bending Branches family for six years; now it’s finally received an update. The BB paddle crafters shaved 2 ounces off the fiberglass paddle weighing in at a svelte 28 ounces with a larger blade face. The new Angler Pro carries touring paddle characteristics, with one specific change — a sharper dihedral on the power face to reduce flutter ($299, in 3 colorways).
The BOTE Rover was the highlighted recipient of the Best of Show at ICast. Is it a SUP? Nope. Is it a microskiff? Nope. Is it a kayak? Nope. It's a 14-foot-long by 40-inch wide fishing craft weighing in at 105 pounds of pure fishing and fun. The Rover has a max capacity of 500 pounds and placement for a 6HP Mercury 4-stroke outboard, getting you up to 16mph. The Rover is built out for a variety of BOTE-offered accessories to get you from storage, transportation, and ease of use on the water ($3,499).
COSTA SUNRISE SILVER MIRROR
The newest lens release for Costa is the Sunrise Silver Mirror, built for low light conditions. Its lens allows 30 percent of available and holds to a 99 percent polarizing efficiency. This is the highest light transmission of any polarized lens on the market today. Applications for this lens include dawn/dusk patrol and any sight fishing, especially where chasing fish like permit, bones or tarpon with white-sand bottoms. The lens is currently available in polycarbonate (and in the Blackfin, Corbina, Fantail, Fisch, Motu, Tuna Alley, Southpoint, and Isabella styles).
Gerber has expanded an already wide spread of offerings by launching 12 new tools, specifically built for anglers. The new line management multi-tool from Gerber, the LineDriver is built to keep your line in the water by managing line tasks efficiently. The compact, dual-ended tool has everything needed to simplify line management. One end of the tool rotates to quickly tie knots and clear eyelets, the other end features a crimper, hook threader, and scissor snips. For location control, the tool offers a pocket clip and tether point to keep it secured and in place.
BLUE SKY BOATWORKS
Finally, there was plenty of buzz about the collaboratively designed, pedal-powered, multi-hulled crossover craft from Blue Sky Boatworks, manufactured by Jackson Kayak and showcased at the Outdoor Retailer on-water demo. Our live coverage was the most-watched video from the two trade shows (check out the full collection of product videos from the shows on the KF Facebook page).