Some hunting and fishing companies may be playing it safe this year, simply offering proven products in new sizes or colors. But others are incorporating new technology, finding ways to make sometimes-difficult tasks easier, or pairing up two previously unrelated ideas to create something unique.
We scoured the sport fishing industry looking for some of the hottest items coming to tackle retailers.
Here's your first look at some best stuff arriving later this year.
RODS AND REELS
This reel series is designed for die-hard weekend bass tourney anglers feeling the need for speed. The 150 series weighs just 6.8 ounces and comes in a 7.3:1 gear ratio, meaning you're cranking 34 inches of line with every handle turn. The 100 is a paltry 6.2 ounces. The reels have aluminum side covers, seven bearings, and a "Micro ACS" nine-position cast control that allows fine tweaks to the centrifugal braking for better control. A patented, layered ceramic drag is designed to keep consistent, desired pressure on fish.
Priced at a lofty $699, the Stella FE spinning reel draws accolades with its X-Ship drive train designed to make the handle easier to turn with or without load. Shimano says this feature will allow anglers to detect even the faintest bites. If saltwater fishing is your game, check out the Trinidad A, a lighter, smaller casting reel than its popular predecessor.
Price: Stella FE: $699. Trinidad A: $450-$499. www.shimano.com
This is a nice reel for deep dropping with its 7.3:1 fast retrieve. Lever drag is preferred by many anglers over the sometimes tougher-to-adjust star drag. It handles 20- to 50-pound line.
Price: $239-$299, depending on model
Designed to be lightweight and durable, this new spinning reel has a corrosion- and crack-resistant "NanoShield" plating, said to make the spool and stem very rigid. Eleven stainless steel bearings make for smooth operating. The PRM20 weighs 7.9 ounces and has a gear ratio of 5.1:1, spooling 27 inches of line per turn of the handle, while the PRM30 weighs 8.1 ounces with 5.8:1 gear ratio, which spools 33 inches of line per handle turn.
These new WaveSpin ZTRs (short for "zero-tangle reel") are value-priced offerings. The patented "waved" spool is designed to eliminate line tangles and bird nests. Both reels have four stainless-steel ball bearings and a lightweight (8 and 10 ounces) graphite body, multidisc drag, and line weight capacity up to 50-pound braid or 12-pound monofilament.
Surf fishermen, check these out. Rod lengths range from 8 to 12 feet. They're in two pieces for easier transport, made of solid graphite with stainless steel, titanium-coated guides, and feature a lightweight Fuji seat and cork tape grips. There are five spinning and three casting models.
This freshwater rod was voted the best new product at the 2010 Sport fishing Industry Awards. Loomis rods are known for quality and being pricey: This new rod is both. Loomis says the NRX represents its biggest construction advancement in 17 years. It's 15 percent lighter and stronger than the popular GLX rod.
This combo pairs an Ardent C400 reel with Lamiglas' 7-foot, fast-action rod. The reel features five bearings, a high-speed 6.3:1 gear ratio, corrosion-resistant aluminum, Comfort Grip frame and a capacity of 120 yards of 12-pound monofilament line. The Fishouflage Bass camouflage pattern matches Ardent's reel.
This innovative spinning reel design from Castalia Outdoors uses the patented Sharkfin reel spool — its sharklike fins are designed to minimize up to 80 percent of the friction on the line during the cast, allowing anglers to cast farther. During the retrieve, the "fins" catch and retain excess line, or "loops," that can create tangles and freely releases them on the next cast. The reel has a 5.2:1 gear ratio and 400-yard line capacity. The combo has a two-piece, 7-foot rod.
Koppers Fishing and Tackle Corp. makes a lure that looks so real, you expect it to leap from a lily pad. It should be deadly atop thick cover. The soft lure has dual rubber leg skirts and comes in two sizes and four color patterns.
This hard-plastic swimming jig is unique, with two fins extending along its body that cause the jig to swim side-to-side in a zigzag motion. It's available in two sizes and 14 colors.
In a nifty double-bladed spinner design, one side of each blade is solid silver or gold, while the other sports the same painted shad pattern on the business end with the hook. The lure vibrates with authority and should entice interest from predator fish. Comes in four sizes.
Price: $15.75 to $17.75
TTI Blakemore's new Road Runner is bigger and features a new willow blade, painted and plumed in a variety of shad patterns with prism eyes.
Flounder fishermen, these are for you. In the "day-glo" squid pattern, these jigs with 3-D realistic eyes have fins that help them flutter as they bounce along the sea bottom. They come in sizes ranging from half an ounce to 1.5 ounces.
Price: $5.99 for a pack of three
HOOKS AND LINE
Many anglers resist using barbless hooks for fear of losing fish. Maruto's new hook has a unique "lock/unlock" design feature — tiny grooves just below the extremely sharp points that help lock fish on with consistent pressure on the retrieve. Reverse pressure on the hook's point makes for an easier release. This hook is also easier to extract from non-rubberized netting. It's offered in seven sizes.
Price: $5.99 for a pack of three
This innovation lets an angler place and maneuver a soft tungsten gum weight on a hook to adjust its falling and swimming action. These are strong, sharp hooks with a black nickel finish.
Price: To be determined
The Advanced Superline is a braided line constructed of eight fibers (seven Dyneema plus one GORE Performance Fiber) and 32 weaves per inch. The addition of GORE fibers is credited with improving abrasion resistance, increasing casting distance and accuracy, and reducing line vibration. Available in Lo-Vis Green or Neon Lime colors in sizes ranging from 6- to 80-pound test.
Price: $19.99 for a 150-yard spool
Both are innovative tackle transport systems. The roller system features four PVC rod holders (rigging stations) and is a lot like rolling luggage with its retractable handle. Pier fisherman will find it handy. The backpack has adjustable, padded shoulder straps, molded back padding, two rigging stations and space for five tackle trays. Both have top storage compartments.
Price: $149 for the Roller System; $110 for the Tackle Backpack
The Frabill FXE Stormsuit has a waterproof, windproof, yet breathable, totally seam-sealed shell treated with DuPont Teflon. Jacket amenities include a fully adjustable, oversized vented hood with reinforced sun visor, internal wire for custom shaping, large chin flaps and adjustable collar. Bib features include wide bunker-gear straps with durable cam buckles, a reinforced tool pocket with several oversized pockets, an exclusive patent-pending waterproof crotch design, and articulated knees with padding.
Price: $399 for the set
Anyone challenged by tying basic fishing knots now has help. Simply attach your hook eye or lure to a small pin at the top of this device, feed line into the portal, click the handle a few times and, almost magically, a perfect five-turn uni-knot is ready to go. Caution: The lure line or hook eye needs an inner loop diameter of at least 2.1 millimeters to fit the tool's pin.
An Australian fisherman designed a simple way to tie a basic fishing knot to hooks sized 4/0 and smaller as well as hold pesky swivels still while tying line to them. The device covers the hook, exposes the shank and eye and eases the twisting of the line and insertion of the tag end to complete the knot. It also protects the hook during vehicle transport.
Price: About $5
This net rapidly extends with a simple pull or push of the comfortable, sure grip. It comes in three handle lengths, three hoop sizes and four mesh types. The net floats, and handles detach for easier storage.
South Bend's new brand targets the youth market that grows out of plastic Barbie and Scooby-Doo rod and reel combos. The $39 Messenger Bag can carry a couple of tackle trays and the new Attack Pak Tackle Kit — packaged with two different assortments of lures and tackle ($9.99 or $14.99) — as well as a laptop computer, iPod, books and more. The three-piece combo spinning ensemble ($34) comes with a carrying sling. Both are designed for kids to carry easily while riding a bike.