After a brief absence in 2020, the Orlando Convention Center was once again filled with new, exciting and innovative rods, reels, baits and gadgets at the world’s largest fishing show. I had the chance to walk the aisles of ICAST 2021 and see some of the new fishing gear that will hit the market this fall and next year. Here are my top picks for the best new ICAST rods and reels.
Best fishing reels of 2021
Shimano Curado MGL 150
Shimano’s newest addition to their bait casting line is the Curado MGL 150. This reel adds to the tournament tested Curado series and will become the lightest Curado to date at 6.5 ounces. It features external brake tuning to allow anglers to achieve peak performance and a metal frame for added durability. The MGL spool lets you cast further with less effort and the lightweight, low-profile reel helps reduce fatigue throughout the day. The Curado MGL 150 costs $ 199.99.
Penn Slammer IV
The Penn Slammer IV is going to be popular with coastal anglers. This is the newest model in the Slammer series, and the most exciting aspect of this reel is the variety of sizes. The Penn Slammer IV comes in eight different sizes including a 2500 through 10500. Starting on this spool will be a bit faster than the Slammer III with a high speed model in some sizes. The price of the Slammer IV ranges from $ 259 to $ 349.
Fly reel TFO NTR
A clean and reliable fly reel at an affordable price is what anglers get with the new TFO NTR. The NTR is available in four sizes: a 3/4 weight to a 9/10 weight and two colors: light gold and black gold. This high quality aluminum reel features a smooth cork disc drag system with an O-ring to prevent moisture from entering. This is a great choice for anglers looking for good value for money. The NTR sells for between $ 140 and $ 170.
13 Fishing Orgin F1
This 13 Fishing Seven Bearing Reel is one of the best affordable reels at ICAST. It’s perfect for anglers who don’t want to break the bank while still providing solid construction and performance on the water. It features a 20+ pound drag system and external brake adjustment so you can dial in your throw without removing the side plate. This versatile reel can cover a variety of fishing techniques and is a great option for new anglers or anyone looking to add an affordable reel to their arsenal. The Origin F1 costs $ 69.99.
Daiwa Steez CT SV 70
This is one of Daiwa’s new flagship reels, and the price alone will tell you. This is a compact and discreet bait casting reel with 12 ball bearings for an extremely smooth system. It is constructed from magnesium and weighs only 5.3 ounces. The air brake system helps reduce play, and the reel is available in 6.3: 1 and 8.1: 1 gear ratios. The soft and comfortable handle will make casting and retrieving bait pleasant all day long. In addition, all new Steez reels have a 5 year executive service warranty with proof of purchase. Send it for maintenance and service as many times as you want. The Steez CT SV costs $ 729.
Hardy 150 anniversary fly reel
It was one of my favorite products of all ICAST. A celebration of the 150-year-old Hardy’s brand, this new anniversary reel, inspired by the 1970 edition, exudes a sense of nostalgia. It features a nickel silver twin screw line guide, raised spindle housing and collectible leather reel case. The commemorative engraving is also a fine touch, and this reel is quite the beautiful one. Combined with a classic click, this reel will bring back memories of forgotten rivers and lost fish. An aesthetic reel that immediately attracted me. MSRP: $ 500.
Best fishing rods of 2021
Abou Garcia Zenon Rod
Abu Garcia set out to create a lightweight rod, and the result was the new Zenon series. The Zenon won the best new freshwater rod in the new products showcase and will be extremely effective for fine fishing with ultra sensitivity. It has a comfortable grip and feels like a feather in your hand. The Zenon has titanium alloy guides with ultra-light silicone nitride inserts that complement this lightweight and balanced rod. Anglers who spend time casting finesse style bait will want to look for the Zenon. It is available in 6ft, 10in, and 7ft models with a price tag of $ 399.
Banshee Bull Bay Tackle Company Rod
The winner for the Best Saltwater Rod at the ICAST New Product Showcase was the Bull Bay Banshee. This rod was designed with extra fast tip action for casting soft plastics, live baits and lightweight artificial ones. This versatile rod has a comfortable grip and pairs best with a size 2500 to 4000 reel. You can cast small swimbaits in tidal marshes or finesse fish for bass. MSRP: $ 165.
Shimano Talavera Type SlowJ
The Shimano Talavera Type SlowJ is another rod that saltwater anglers should be excited about. Designed to fish a slower presentation, this rod feels great in your hand. Anglers who pitch and target groundfish will find success with Talavera Type SlowJ. It has good balance and excellent jig control for maximum feel. The rods are light to medium heavy and retail for $ 119.
Fly rod G. Loomis NRX + T2S
Designed for die-hard saltwater fly fishermen, the two-part NRX + T2S from G. Loomis is built to perform in the toughest conditions. The two-piece design breaks down near the rod handle for ease of transport while still maintaining the strength needed to fight off aggressive saltwater fish. I had the chance to cast this rod at ICAST, and was very impressed with the feel and the control. The NRX + T2S is equipped with recoil coil guides and SiC titanium stripper guides. Designed for saltwater fly fishermen, this rod sells for $ 895.