ICAST/IFTD, where the brands we all love and trust gather in one place to unveil their latest and greatest gifts to the fly fishing world. The 2016 edition was a good display of innovation, advances in technology and some just plain cool new clothing lines. Being the salt-centric shop that we are, here is a list we’ve compiled of the gear that saltwater and warmwater fly anglers should be on the lookout for:
Tibor Frost Finish
The reel that has more world records than any other has made moves to make owning a Tibor more affordable than ever. By eliminating some of the polishing process, Tibor is able to shave the retail price by up to $70. The Frost finishes still utilize Certified Mil-A-8625 Type II Anodizing for the same durability you’d expect from Tibor – but with a flatter, less-reflective surface. Frost finish will be available in two colors: Silver Frost and Black Frost.
Tibor also introduced the new Signature 11-12S. With the S standing for Slim, this new tarpon-oriented sealed drag reel is lighter and narrower for easier line pick up. To complete Tibor’s strong showing this year, the new Aqua polished finish is a real head turner.
There was a lot of hype around the new Sage X, and rightfully so. There’s no doubt that the X lives up to and will exceed your expectations. In a class of its own – the fast-action X throws long with ease, short with precision, and has fish fighting power to boot. The X’s taper is all about synergy. It allows you to create power in the lower sections and transfer it to the tip almost effortlessly. Greater blank recovery reduces vibration and lateral movement resulting in crisper tip stops. We’ve had the pleasure of fishing the X and all of this technical jargon basically translates to tighter loops and more accurate presentations with minimum effort. When fighting fish, you’ll notice that there is a ton of power in the butt section that will break the fish’s will before it knows it. As lightweight a rod as we’ve ever held, the X needs to be matched with an equally lightweight reel to optimize your outfit. We can think of a ton of applications for the X, especially for the 7, 8, and 9 weights which are light enough and have all the feel needed to lay down flies to weary bonefish in super skinny water. Yet they’re also powerful enough to punch larger flies into the wind for bonefish, snook, permit, baby tarpon, redfish, seatrout, bass and peacocks.
Simms Bounty Hunter Vault
For the traveling angler, Simms’s new Bounty Hunter Vault is the ultimate fly gear transportation solution. It holds up to 8 4-piece 10′ rods and 8-10 reels. Configurable padded reel dividers keep your machinery safe. Leaders and fly lines stay organized in multiple interior zippered mesh pockets. Rigid and durable, the high density closed cell foam casing keeps its form under pressure and the ballistic fabric covering is virtually impenetrable. Our favorite feature of the Bounty Hunter Vault is its adjustable back straps.
The most notable mention of the Simms Apparel line for us was the Intruder BiComp long-sleeve shirt. All the bit as lightweight, technical a flats fishing shirt as you’d want. The Intruder BiComp features UPF30 sun protection, built in sunglass chamois, and the same sunshirt-like cuffs as the GT TriComp. Also look for more tropical, saltwater orientated colors of shirts and hats we all love such as the Morada Shirt, EbbTide Shirt and Tarpon Trucker hats.
Enrico Puglisi is always at the forefront of saltwater fly innovations and this year was no different. His new gurglers are sure to be a go-to for snook and baby-tarpon as well as for bass.
Winner of the Best Saltwater Fly Reel award, the Abel Sealed Drag Saltwater series is something special. Abel was able to produce a fully sealed drag system that is both powerful enough to stop anything that wants to take all your backing home, and slim enough to keep the reel narrow with a large arbor for faster line pick-up. Unlike the current SD series, the SDS can be converted from right to left hand retrieve. Lightweight with cutting-edge porting, the Abel SDS looks like the reel Batman himself would use.
RIO has revamped the taper of its tropical redfish line so it still loads easily at close range but it also can be laid down softer for better presentations. RIO’s new Winter Redfish line will be perfect for North Florida to Louisiana big Gulf reds. Everything about the new Fishpond bags is nice. The roll-top dry tackle bag is compact enough to be the ultimate waterproof tackle bag for your skiff and the rod tube straps on the duffel are a great touch. The new Flood Tide Co line is a simply fishy, feel-good line of shirts and hats.
All in all, the saltwater and warmwater fly angler has a lot to be excited for in the upcoming months.