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There’s no doubt that fishing rods, reels, and lures get most of the attention at ICAST. But there are many other tools and gadgets that obsessed anglers need to hear about. They might not be as flashy as a new bait, but they are arguably just as important. I went to every nook and cranny of the convention center to find the gems that won’t get as much hype as they should. Here are the best new fishing accessories from ICAST 2023.
- Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL Pedal Kayak+ 132
- Garmin Force Karken Trolling Motor
- Simms G4Z Wader
- Sunline Tapered Fluorocarbon Leader
- Newport NT300 3HP Electric Outboard Motor
- Nishine DS Hook
- Neko Hack Peg
- Shimano Mastiff Fluorocarbon Line
The Best Fishing Accessories from ICAST 2023
Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL Pedal Kayak+ 132
This revolutionary fishing kayak was without a doubt the best new product at ICAST 2023. The Old Town ePDL is a 13-foot-2 battery-powered pedal assist kayak that has five speeds with fully motorized cruise control. Think of it as an electric bike, but for fishing. As soon as I engaged the pedal assist, I was blown away. You really start to notice a difference around speed three, when the pedaling becomes significantly easier. Then I switched it to full cruise control and speed five—and wow, this thing moves.
So, what are the benefits of a pedal assist kayak? For starters, you get the versatility of pedal kayaks and power motorized kayaks all in one package. The pedal assist allows you to go faster and further without draining your entire battery. But if you do want to fish only cruise control, the included lithium ion battery will last 46 hours on speed one, 23 hours on speed three, and three hours on speed five. That battery life will increase if you switch to the pedal assist mode.
The BigWater ePDL will be available to anglers in 2024 and will retail for $6000 with an included 36 V lithium ion battery.
Garmin Force Karken Trolling Motor
Garmin updated their original Force trolling motor to be more user-friendly. I got to see it in action at the on the water demo day in Orlando. While the new shaft lengths, thrust power, and route storage are all impressive, there were a few other features that really caught my eye. With a simple push of a button, anglers can change the direction of the troller by simply pointing to where they want it to go, almost like a Nintendo Wii remote. On top of that, the control pedal is completely wireless and can be used from anywhere on the boat, including the stern. The speed and heading can also be controlled by a Garmin smartwatch.
The spot lock was smooth and steady on calm water, where many freshwater anglers experience issues with the trolling motor constantly wanting to adjust. It performs just as well in ripping current, and one of the testers noted that he had no issues in locking this motor in right along a jetty wall. The boat didn’t move.
Anglers can pre-order the new Garmin Force Kraken for $3,700.
Simms G4Z Wader
Simms has long been the standard in fishing waders and their new G4Z wader has raised the bar again. There are a few new key features, like the compression-molded stocking feet (look at the feet in the photo) that provide a tighter and more secure fit in the boot. There will also be a fully submersible internal pocket, high pile fleece handwarmer pockets, and a comfortable suspender system. This will all be accompanied by a rugged 4-layer lower and 3-layer upper Gore-Tex fabric made here in the USA.
Anglers can pick one up in February for $1000.
Sunline Tapered Fluorocarbon Leader
Attention fly anglers: here is a cheat code for cheap fluorocarbon leaders. When I came across the Sunline Tepa tapered leader and saw it was $10 for two, my first thought was, “I wish fluorocarbon fly leaders were that cheap.” Then I realized I could use this for streamer fishing and certain saltwater pursuits. The leader is 10 pounds and 10 feet long—perfect for fishing big streamers. And if you want to go light on bonefish, this will work as well. Same thing to be said for bass and other stillwater species.
Newport NT300 3HP Electric Outboard Motor
Newport’s new electric outboard motor is perfect for small boats and square-stern canoes. The NT300 is a compact 3 horsepower motor that runs on a 36V lithium battery. It can reach a top speed of 6.5 MPH and run for 30 hours. Think backwater creeks, small lakes, ponds, and any place where big motors can’t get to. Kayak anglers should check out Newport’s electric kayak motor offerings that mount directly to the stern. All Newport motors require a lithium battery which isn’t included.
The new electric Newport outboard will sell for $1,199.
Nishine DS Hook
Every drop shot angler should be using these fishing hooks. The eye is positioned at almost a full 90 degrees, and Nishine recommends using a snell knot, which allows the leader to be tied directly to the hook. This prevents the hook from swinging side to side and always keeps the bait perfectly straight. The hook gap is also the same width as the lip of a smallmouth for consistent hookups.
Neko Hack Peg
Neko Hack’s plastic pegs allow anglers to neko rig their baits without the use of small rubber bands or rings. These small accessories punch through soft plastics—worms, swimbaits, craws—and have an opening for the hook to sit in. I love that they make rigging bigger soft plastics, like the Berkley Gilly, easier than ever. Combine a Neko Hack with a Nishine DS hook, and you have the ultimate finesse setup.
Shimano Mastiff Fluorocarbon Line
Shimano had a big ICAST with the release of many new/updated rods and reels. But they also made a splash in the fishing line arena with their new Mastiff Fluorocarbon line. I had the chance to fish with Mastiff right before ICAST on Lake Yale, and I was impressed by its knot strength, easiness to tie, and casting distance. Mastiff comes in 200-yard spools of four to 20-pound test.
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