Top Panfish Tackle

Top Panfish Tackle

INFS-170024-TOP-07The old expression "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity" certainly pertains to fishing, as carefully selected equipment makes you ready to meet any opportunity to catch more fish.

Early in the season, preparation involves arranging favorite panfish tackle and acquiring some new items that come along that offer to boost catches and fishing fun. Some cost little, while others can take a bite out of a week's salary. Here's a selection of products that can change your fishing outlook for the better this season.

Rods

Abu Garcia's new Venerate series is engineered to provide the fastest actions with the lightest tips. They have premium cork handles and titanium alloy guides with zirconium inserts for a light and nicely balanced rod. Within the selection of 12 spinning rods, several match panfish applications—abugarcia.com

Berkley has revitalized the popular Series One rods, using 30-ton graphite for strength and sensitivity. They're built with stainless-steel guide frames with deep pressed zirconium oxide inserts, which are strong and smooth to ensure long-distance casting. Thirteen spinning models, including many fine actions for various panfish presentations—berkley-fishing.com

INFS-170024-TOP-06Reels

The classic Mitchell brand has a new offering ideal for panfish applications, the Magpro R. A new Bail Halo Rotor spools line evenly to reduce twisting and resulting bird nests. It also features a new sealed drag system that excludes grit and algae and has a 10-bearing system for smoothness. Available in 1000 and 2000 sizes—
fishmitchell.com

Shimano has redesigned their popular Stradic CI4+ spinning reels, incorporating an asymmetrical shaped Magnumlite rotor to make them even lighter, as well adding a cold-forged Hagene gear for durability. And the G-Free Body has shifted the reel's center of gravity closer to the rod, eliminating a heavy rotation feel when retrieving. Translation: a dream to fish. Sizes 1000HG and 2500HG will be of most interest, with a 6:1 gear ratio—shimano.com

Lures

Using a proprietary nanotechnology, Nikko Kasei of Japan has created some extraordinary new softbaits that are extremely supple yet durable, biodegradable, flavor-enhanced, and have lifelike details. Shapes include small shrimp, mayflies, maggots, pin worms, and caddisfly larvae—nikko-fishing.com

Bobby Garland adds the 1.5" Crappie Shooter, designed for firing far beneath boat docks to catch crappies and 'gills suspended in the shade. Its flat body lends itself to great skipping and its shad shape gives it a realistic action on the fall. Ten colors are available in 15-packs—­bobbygarlandcrappie.com

Johnson offers the Crappie Buster Shad Scales Kit, a 41-piece set that includes the five most popular Crappie Buster plastics and a tube of Shad Scales gel attractant. It's loaded with micro flecks that wash off lures and look like the scales of injured baitfish—johnsonfishing.com

Storm released the 360GT Searchbait, a fine-looking swimbait with a weighted head that gives it a lifelike look and rattling sound, while a 60-degree hook eye keeps it running right and in position for a hookup. Eleven colors sport 3D holographic eyes. For crappies and perch, try the 1/8-ounce, 3.5-inch model—storm360GT.com

Berkley has developed a new formula for their popular line of Gulp! baits that's said to be 35 percent more effective than the original. They're also more durable and come in new packaging with a Leak Seal Zipper for easier access and to prevent spills—berkley-fishing.com

Venerable Acme Tackle continues to offer new items, this time a rattling version of the Kastmaster called the Rattle Master available in a variety of sizes and patterns—acmetackle.com

INFS-170024-TOP-10Northland Tackle adds to their Impulse line of flavored baits with the Skeleton Minnow and Water Flea, realistic renditions of small prey with flexible bodies and tails that quiver at the slightest movement—northlandtackle.com

Veteran lure designer Lloyd Osgood's latest creation is the Jig & Spoon, a shad-shape jig of non-lead material that has a small Indiana blade on the hook for flutter and flash. Ideal for deep suspended crappies and white bass—jigsandspoonfishing.com

Line

At the 2016 ICAST fishing tackle convention, P-Line took the Best of Show award with Tactical Fluorocarbon, a Japanese line developed to combine the attributes of sensitivity, super-low visibility, high strength, and durability. Being three times denser than nylon, it sinks fast, ideal for jigging presentations. It's available in tests from 6- to 20-pound, in 200-yard spools—p-line.com

Newcomer KastKing released Dynamic Fortis Braided Line, made of MultiTuf, a proprietary blend of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Fiber with a process that increases strength, abrasion-resistance, and smoothness, and greatly reduces fading. It comes in strengths from 10- to 80-pound test, in three spool sizes and four colors—eposeidon.com

Thanks to a new fusing process at the Pure Fishing line lab, Stren Max Cast feels like a monofilament line, but has the strength and low stretch of a superline. These properties make it shoot off the spool, ideal for spinning applications. The low-vis green line comes in 150-yard spools, in tests from 6- to 50-pound—stren.com

Fluorocarbon master Seaguar adds Finesse Fluorocarbon, built with a double-structure process that combines two fluoro resins to create a supple line with thin diameter and exceptional knot and tensile strength. It's abrasion-resistant and easy to tie—seaguar.com

Boats

Old Town's Predator PDL won the award for Best of Show in the boat category at the ICAST Show, and In-Fisherman staff have found it an excellent craft to fish almost anywhere, but particularly on small waters where access is difficult or water shallow. It's the company's first foot-propelled kayak, using a bicycle-like system to drive a propeller and a rudder system to steer. If you'd rather use a trolling motor, check out Old Town's Predator MK, built to accommodate a Minn Kota motor that carries you across the waters, powered by a 12V battery. Both models enable hands-free fishing—predatorkayak.com

Catalog- Global Lifestyle PhotographyBoating Accessories

Minn Kota took the prize in this category at ICAST with the Ultrex Trolling Motor, as well as the title of Overall Best of Show. This motor combines the company's popular i-Pilot features, such as Spot-Lock and Steering-Lock, and aspects of Minn Kota's cable-steer model, favored for precise positioning. It has Lift Assist to help raise and lower the motor and tough Fortrex bracket. Models range from 24V, 80-pound thrust to 36V, 116-pound, with shafts of 45, 52, or 60 inches—minnkota.com

Electronics

Humminbird won the Best of Show title for the sixth consecutive year for the Helix 10, an expansion in size and features from last year's winner, Helix 7. Its bright display is complemented by Humminbird's latest in sonar mapping, including down- and side-imaging, and the ability to create maps with SonarChart Live—humminbird.com

Accessories

At ICAST, several categories can be considered "Accessories." The Weego 44 won the Giftware Best of Show award. It's a compact jump-starter for all gas engines when batteries fail. Housed in a neat kit, is also serves as a powerful flashlight and has a 12-V outlet and USB port to charge phones and other electronics—myweego.com

In the "FishSmart" category, Ego Kryptek's Genesis Landing Net won, featuring the S1 Genesis handle of lightweight hexagonal extruded aluminum that's light and strong.

Options include clear rubber mesh, for safe handling of fish and avoiding hooks caught in mesh. Three hoop sizes are available with handle lengths from 13 to 31 inches—egofishinggear.com

And in the Fishing Accessory category, the Hopper Flip 12, the latest cooler from Yeti, won Best of Show. This soft-sider is tough with DryHide Shell, easy to load, and has superior cooling power—yeti.com

INFS-170024-TOP-13Eyewear

Costa del Mar took the prize once again in the eyewear category with Rafael, made of a tough, bio-based resin material sourced from the castor plant. They're super light and tough, produced with a process that greatly cuts carbon emissions. Rafael has a wide temple wrap-style frame, with sturdy hinges. There's also Costa's three-hole venting system to alleviate lens fogging, and hypoallergenic temple tips and nose pads to keep them comfortably in place. Equipped with Costa's 580 lens technology, in four colors—costasunglasses.com

Wiley X continues to offer more great shades for anglers. Just released for the ICAST show were a trio of models: the "climate-control" WX Boss with patented Facial Cavity seal to block wind, dust, and sunlight. It's available with the Venice Gold mirror lens that provides great sun protection and also reveals the underwater world—wileyx.com

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