Latest Technology Driving The Sportfishing Industry

Every year the biggest fishing industry companies, head to Florida, USA for the annual ICAST trade show. It’s considered the best time to showcase you latest innovations, technology, and products in fishing tackle. You can find everything from fishing gear and accessories to even boats and motors.

There really isn’t anything fishing related that you can’t find at the convention. Today, sportfishing is so popular that it’s even carried over into other industries, such as kids’ toys and mobile games.

Depending on what your target species is, you will need to have the right gear and technology. For example, if you enjoy deep water fishing, then you will need a powerful boat with strong rods, fishing lines and reels. Innovation in the industry has come from years of experience. Seasoned fishermen and spearfishermen have helped companies design innovative products based on their experience.

The next ICAST convention takes place July 16 – 19, 2024. But let’s look at some top products that featured at last year’s show.


Boats, Motors and Kayaks


Fishing boats are an integral part of fishing. You need a boat to transport you to a fishing location while hauling your gear too.

Boats come in all shapes and sizes, with some featuring 2 motors or 4 motors. So, you need to match your boat to the species of fish, you’re targeting. If you enjoy bass fishing in rivers and lakes, then you can settle for a skiff or kayak. At the trade show, top companies such as Valhalla Boatworks, Boston Whaler, Yamaha and more, showcased their latest products.

One standout product was the GoBoat 2.0. It’s a circular inflatable platform with a motor attached with a chair and handlebars for steering. This boat is basically a circular SUP with a motor. So, you don’t need to paddle to get around. However, it’s only suitable for calm lakes. Choppy water is not ideal for the GoBoat.

One other noticeable product at ICAST was the Oru Kayak. It’s a foldable Kayak in true Origami style. Advanced designs feature an accessibility rail for fishing rod mounts and camera mounts. Basic models are more for just kayaking. What’s great about these kayaks is that they fold up into an 18lb carry bag. So, they’re both light weight and easy to store.


Fishing Rods and Spearguns

Now that we’ve discussed our method of transportation, we now need our hunting gear. The two main ways to fish are with a rod or speargun. Fishing rods are very diverse, and each rod is designed with a weight force limit.

The bigger the fish you wish to catch, the stronger the rod you’ll need to use. Shimano is one of the industry leaders for fishing rods and reels. They always have many great new rods and reels on show. One standout reel was the KastKing iReel.

If you’re a spearfisherman, then you will need a reliable speargun. These too come in great variety. Two key components of a speargun are the release force of the spear and the spear head. Two of the top guns for 2023 were from Cressi and AB Biller.


Lines and Lures


One of the most important fishing accessories are the lines and bait/lures that you use. Have you ever had a big fish on the line, only for the line to snap and your fish escapes? So, it’s very important to carry the right fishing lines. Any reel of fishing line will always display the max weight tested and what fibers or steel wire the lines are composed of. Moreover, you can also find braided lines for extra strength.

Going back to our childhood, we always remember fishermen using live worms as fishing bait. While this is still in practice today for small fish species, fishing lures are more affordable and reusable. Furthermore, they come in great variety and with cool technology. Some lures are designed to mimic bait fish which larger fish predate on. For example, Nomad Design have lures that resemble sardines and anchovies. These are trolled behind a fishing boat and are perfect for luring trophy fish such as: swordfish, tuna and wahoo.


Fishing Accessories


Lastly, you can fish without your trusted fishing accessories.

Firstly, when risking the elements, you will need the right apparel. This includes, fishing shirts and pants, sunglasses, hats and sunscreen to name a few. Costa is one of the leaders in eyewear protection. Besides sunglasses, they also sell fishing shirts and caps/hats.

Secondly, once you catch some fish, you will need to store them somewhere. Fisherman will always pack lots of ice for their trip to keep their catches fresh. However, if your boat does not have a storage compartment for the fish, then you will need a trusted cooler. Yeti coolers can hold ice for several days and are a trusted name in the cooler industry. However, they are a bit pricey. Flop Industries’ Flop Box 10 won the award for the best bait cooler. It’s powered by a Lithium battery which can run for up to 120 hours.

Other accessories include action cameras which can mount on to anywhere. They have led to the popularity of the sport, as more people are uploading videos of their fishing experiences.

So, what will the next innovations be? We’ll just have to wait for the next ICAST show to find out.