A big benefit of being in the fishing business is attending the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. Held in Orlando each summer, ICAST gives a preview of all the new fishing equipment, tackle, marine and outdoor products that fishermen everywhere are going to see very soon and want, perhaps, even sooner.
Of all the new, interesting and innovative products – there are many, my favorite is always the new fishing lures. Every year there are literally hundreds of new lures or variations to current lures. Some lures are futuristic, some are perfectly shaped and colored, some are changed in other ways – many of them have anglers dreaming of catching a fish with every cast. The new lures and variations are that convincing.
Not too many anglers can resist trying out these new lures. Every year I stock up on more than I should, but they all look so good and some turn out to be valuable additions to my tackle box. If you don’t try them, you will never know if they would work for you or not. Beside, trying them is part of the fun!
Last year, I stocked up with 18 of the new LIVETARGET swim baits. Most of them were in the larger sizes and had very different actions than what I would have thought. The old adage is, “Big fish like Big meals,” and that means…throw Big Baits. Sometimes that is true and sometimes it isn’t, but the LIVETARGET swim baits proved that adage true for me. When fishing them in farm ponds, it seemed that they attracted the larger bass time after time. A crank and drop retrieve was magic on most days.
This year at the ICAST show, LIVETARGET once again caught my “Angler Eye” with their innovative Injected Core Technology (ICT). I have not had a chance to test these just yet, but they just look like they are so good, I already have that magical feeling…that they will catch fish, especially the Slow Roll Shiner and Ghost Tail Minnow. While you never know until you get one to the water, I will be finding out very soon. Even the names of these lures are catchy!
Berkley Cane Walker has a weighted tail and is easy to cast.
New moderately priced line from Berkley includes walking baits, waking baits, poppers, ploppers and prop baits
Ten lure types in 16 size variants and 23 colors
Designed by Bassmaster Elite Angler Justin Lucas and Forrest Wood Cup Champ Scott Suggs
By Mike Pehanich
The new Berkley topwater line introduced at ICAST 2018 straddles the surface lure spectrum, from ploppers and poppers to walkers and wakers!
Pure Fishing has been the subject of sales and contraction rumors since Newell Brands completed purchase of its then-parent Jarden Corp. in spring of 2016. Much of the speculation focused on whether Newell would sell Pure Fishing intact or allow buyers to cherry pick from a stable of venerable tackle brands that includes Berkley, PowerBait, Abu Garcia, Gulp, Pflueger, Shakespeare, Penn, Stren, Fenwick and more.
A big flow of new products appeared highly unlikely, but such was not the case at ICAST 2018 last week, at least not for PF’s flagship Berkley brand. Pure Fishing paraded 1,100 new products for the coming season under the Berkley banner in Orlando.
Berkley is better known for fishing lines and its soft bait supply, a reputation that tends to shroud the success of products like the Flicker Shad and Flicker Minnow.
For the new topwater line, Berkley looked for fresh pro staff inspiration, recruiting Bassmaster Elite pro Justin Lucas for input on eight designs and Forrest Wood Cup champ and MLF/FLW pro Scott Suggs for the other two bait styles. The line includes 10 lure types in 16 size and design variants and 23 colors. All baits are equipped with sticky Fusion 19 hooks.
Bullet Pop 60, 70, 80 – Popper/chugger-style baits have been springboard lures for countless anglers. They compel focus on presentation and invite experimentation, often bringing the first touch of true artistry to a budding angler’s game. Justin Lucas may have had this thought in mind when he designed this trio of popping lures to facilitate popping, spitting and walking retrieves. With three Bullet Pop sizes ranging from 60 to 80 mm in length and 14 colors, there’s a Bullet Pop to match any hatch. Feathered treble hooks tail all three sizes.
Bullet Pop 70: 2-3/4 inches (70mm); 2/5 ounce (11 g)
Bullet Pop 80: 3-1/4 inches (80 mm); ½ ounce (15g)
Choppo 90, 120 – You can’t help but anticipate action from the Choppo from the first “plop” of its tail prop! Berkley’s entry into the “plopper” category generates a powerful fish-attracting chop as it churns the water, attracting bass, stripers, pike, musky and other husky predators. Try the smaller Choppo 90 for smallmouth bass and smaller game fish, as well as the usual suspects. Available in 10 colors.
Choppo 90: 3-2/7 inches (90 mm); ½ ounce (15 g)
Choppo 120: 4-5/7 inches (120 mm); 1 ounce (28 g)
J-Walker 100 – Justin Lucas made subtle changes to the original cigar-shaped walking bait design to welcome newcomers to the bait walking art. The J-Walker is weighted and fitted with rattles. Available in 14 colors.
HighJacker 100 – The “fishiest” of the walking baits in the series, the HighJacker’s hydrodynamic tail-weighted fish-shaped body casts long and produces tantalizing tail-down walking action, even when worked at a rapid cadence. Lucas counts it a key tool with schooling bass busting baitfish at the surface. Available in 10 colors.
Cane Walker 125 – Big fish like big mouthfuls, and large bass, stripers, hybrid stripers and toothy pike and musky are all likely to awaken to the commotion of the tail-weighted Cane Walker. With three sizes of weights confined to separate body cavity compartments, this “pencil” style walking bait delivers a distinctive rattle. Comes with feathered tail treble and in 12 colors.
Spin Rocket 110 – Prop bait aficionados may find a new love crush in the Spin Rocket. With its slim profile and flat back, the Spin Rocket draws strikes from a wider range of fish than conventional prop baits. Three Fusion 19 treble hooks promise a high hook-up ratio. Plastic propellers fore and aft generate the surface commotion.
Spin Rocket 110: 4-1/4 inches (100mm); ½ ounce (13 g)
Spin Bomb 60 – Count on this compact prop bait to count coup when predators are feasting on small forage. A conventional twitch-and-pause retrieve should get ‘er done. Comes with skirted tail treble. Watch the spray fly from this little bait.
Wake Bull 60, 70 –Crankbait-style wake baits were once well-kept secrets. No more! The Wake Bull’s spacious body cavity emits a deep one-knocker rattle that draws fish from a distance. A Scott Suggs creation.
Surge Shad 130, Jointed 130 – Berkley took special pride in presenting its Surge Shad duo. Scott Suggs, who no doubt spent a lot of hours tweaking ancestors of this long minnow-style waker, directed both high-riding wake bait designs. The bait’s patent-pending weight system helped deliver the “exaggerated wobbling action” he was after. The single-bodied Surge Shad, only entry in Berkley’s topwater line-up without rattles, is a stealth tool, ideal for calm conditions and spooky fish. The jointed model produces a more aggressive action and sports rattle attraction as well, making it a better choice in murky water and windy conditions. Both the Surge Shad and the Surge Shad Jointed models come in eight custom-paint finishes, all with FlashDisc attractors on the belly.