Since the two trade shows that represent both the conventional and fly fishing sides of the fishing industry parted ways a couple of years ago, ending their longtime joint exhibition, the largest showing of the year's newest fly fishing year no longer occurs each July in the steamy clime of central Florida. Instead, the bulk of the fly fishing industry will gather this October in Salt Lake City to show off its new wares. But that hasn't stopped the rest (read: most) of the fishing industry from continuing its plans to gather each July in Orlando for the ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show, nor has it stopped many of fly fishing's top brands from exhibiting some of their newest and finest offerings there.
Each year, ICAST attendees—a mix of retail buyers and media professionals—vote for what they feel are the best products exhibited at the ICAST show. Because ICAST is a conventional fishing show, the vast majority of those categories apply to conventional fishing products, but a handful are reserved for fly anglers: Best Fly Rod, Best Fly Reel, and Best Fly Fishing Accessory.
This year's Best Fly Rod honors went to G. Loomis, for its recently introduced NRX+ T2S line of saltwater fly rods which eschews what has become the ubiquitous 4-piece design standard in favor of a two-piece format that Loomis says offers one-piece performance in more portable, packable two-piece format. Check out our full writeup from last week for a closer look at the Loomis NRX+ T2S.
Greys, which is a household brand name in Europe but has only recently made a concerted effort to introduce its offerings to U.S. anglers, was awarded Best Fly Reel for its new Tital reel. The sleek-looking Tital joins a small but growing list of fully machined, sealed-disc drag, bar stock aluminum fly reels available for under $300 — something that was largely unheard of just a few years ago.
“Winning an ICAST Award validates the hard work, planning, research and development that goes into creating a great fly reel,” said Jim Murphy, Director of Fly Fishing for Greys. “The Greys brand has been an exciting brand in the hands of European anglers for years and it’s exhilarating to introduce such an innovative brand to the American audience.”
Best Fly Accessory honors went to Plano for its innovative, technology-stuffed EDGE Micro Fly Box which packs a ton of features—including three layers and two different types of fly storage, a rust-preventing water wicking system, magnetic "Drop Zone" storage, and more—into a compact, easy-to-store package.