The ICAST 2023 Best of Show award winners have been announced! See which new products took home the top honors, from saltwater reels to freshwater soft lures and more. Order several "Best in Show" winning products right from TackleDirect, your leader in fishing tackle and gear!
ICAST 2023: Best of Show Award Winners
ICAST is the world's largest sportfishing trade show, where the latest and greatest fishing gear is unveiled.
The "Best of Show" award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a new product at ICAST, and it's a testament to the innovation and creativity of the fishing industry. The "Best of Show" winner will be announced on July 13, 2023 at 2:00pm EST.
The ICAST 2023 Best of Show category award winners were announced on July 12, 2023, and the winners represent a wide range of fishing products, from saltwater reels to freshwater soft lures. The winners were selected by a panel of industry experts, and they were chosen based on their innovative design, performance, and value.
Looking for more products than just the winners? Check out our New Product Highlights blog for information on some of the top brands and products to debut at ICAST 2023.
Best of Show Winner:
American Tackle Company Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle
Best of Category Award Winners:
Best Saltwater Reel:
The Daiwa Seapower 1200 Power Assist Electric Reel is a top-of-the-line fishing reel designed to conquer the toughest deep-water challenges in our oceans. With its impressive hoisting power, this reel can effortlessly lift even the largest and most formidable marine creatures to the surface. Equipped with a robust mega torque motor boasting up to 108lbs of winding power, the Seapower 1200 maintains smooth start-ups thanks to its brushed motor design. Its brushed motor not only ensures exceptional strength, efficiency, and durability but also operates quietly, enhancing the overall fishing experience. The reel features a large dot LCD screen that is easily visible even when wearing polarized sunglasses, and the user-friendly controls and menu options make navigation a breeze.
Best Saltwater Rod:
The G Loomis NRX+ Inshore Spinning & Casting Rods are the pinnacle of advanced tools designed specifically for inshore anglers who demand the very best. Drawing from over four decades of G Loomis technology, innovation, and design, these rods cater to elite anglers and enthusiasts who seek exceptional casting distance, rapid recovery, reduced weight, and unparalleled sensitivity. Handcrafted in Woodland, Washington, these rods are precision-engineered to make anglers more lethal on the inshore scene, whether they require unrivaled sensitivity to detect the slightest nibble or the ability to reach fish at a distance with a tactical edge.
Best Saltwater Soft Lure:
The Z-Man Mulletron LT (Line-Through) Swimbait is a highly realistic bait that mimics the swimming action of a mullet, making it a great choice for attracting saltwater gamefish. Its wedge-shaped tail and versatile retrieve speeds provide lifelike movement in the water, while the reinforced line-through harness allows the bait to slide up the line during hooksets. Made from Z-Man's durable 10X Tough Elaztech material, this swimbait can withstand repeated strikes and features painted eyes for added realism, along with a custom heavy-duty black nickel hook for strong hooksets.
Best Saltwater Hard Lure:
MirrOlure The Duke Dog
MirrOlure introduces the new Duke Dog as a versatile addition to their topwater lure collection, perfect for targeting fish in both flats and open water. With its clear eyes, contemporary color options, and trout dots, the Duke Dog combines visual appeal with effective design. This lure is available in 3 1/2 in size and weighs 3/4 oz, providing anglers with the perfect balance and presentation.
Best Freshwater Reel:
The Shimano Stradic FM Spinning Reels carry on the renowned legacy of the Stradic name, setting the standard for excellence in the fishing industry for over two decades. Shimano's commitment to innovation shines through in the Stradic FM, incorporating cutting-edge technology and design to push the boundaries of performance on the water. Whether you're a freshwater or inshore saltwater angler, you'll find a suitable model in the Stradic FM lineup, ready to become your trusted workhorse reel in your fishing arsenal.
Best Freshwater Rod:
The St. Croix Mojo Bass Trigon Spinning & Casting Rods are purposefully designed with specific actions and tapers, making them ideal for a wide range of fishing techniques. Whether you're a weekend angler or a tournament pro, these rods deliver outstanding performance on the water. Constructed with a lightweight and powerful SCIII carbon blank, these rods offer excellent sensitivity for detecting light bites while still providing the strength needed to handle fish in heavy cover. With features like stainless steel guide frames, agglomerated cork grips, and an EVA butt cap, these rods are built to withstand the demands of fishing and offer a comfortable and reliable grip. Backed by St. Croix's 5-year warranty and crafted with care in Park Falls, Wisconsin and Fresnillo, Mexico, the Mojo Bass Trigon rods empower anglers to elevate their fishing game and consistently land more fish.
Best Freshwater Soft Lure:
The Berkley Pure Fishing PowerBait Nessie is a revolutionary soft glide bait that offers versatility and accessibility for both entry-level and experienced anglers. With its unique design, the Nessie allows anglers to skip, slide, and cast it into areas where traditional glide baits couldn't reach. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the Nessie opens up new possibilities for glide bait fishing techniques, making it an essential tool in any angler's arsenal.
Best Freshwater Hard Lure:
The Z-Man ChatterBait Elite EVO takes bladed jigs to a whole new level with its superior design and angler-friendly features. This next-level bladed jig is constructed with upgrades that maximize its bass-catching potential, incorporating innovative ideas on blade design, hook configuration, and jighead shape. With its smooth yet action-packed performance, the ChatterBait Elite EVO reflects years of experience and evolution in creating a top-notch fishing experience for anglers of all levels.
Best Rod & Reel Combo:
Abu Garcia ZATA Baitcast Combo
The Abu Garcia Zata Baitcast Combo offers a lighter and feature-packed option for anglers seeking high performance. With a 10+1 bearing system, lightweight graphite frame and sideplates, and 24-Ton graphite construction, these combos provide sensitivity and a lightweight feel suitable for various fishing styles. The Carbon Matrix drag system ensures smooth and consistent drag pressure, while the Infini brake system allows for precise adjustability to handle any fishing situation. The Zata Baitcast Combo also features a custom Winn Dri-Tac rear grip, a compact bent handle, and a Texas rigged hook keeper for added convenience.
Best Fishing Line:
The Shimano Mastiff FC Fluorocarbon Line is a premium fishing line designed and manufactured in Japan, ensuring strict quality control and consistent line thickness for optimal performance. With a surface measurement down to 1 micron, this line surpasses standard quality control, resulting in smooth casting and improved distance even with light lures. Incorporating Shimano's Nanoarmor technology, the line features undetectable concave and convex textures that prevent knot slippage and breakage, making it ideal for fighting large fish and using energy-intensive lures like jerkbaits. With its superior binding force, the Mastiff FC Fluorocarbon Line is a reliable choice that will outperform the competition and give anglers an edge in any fishing situation.
Best Terminal Tackle:
VMC Swingin’ Ned Rig Jig
The VMC Swingin’ Ned Rig Jig is a game-changer for anglers using the Ned Rig technique. Its unique articulating design allows the soft plastic bait to move independently from the jig head, creating a natural crawling action as it glides across the bottom. With the ability to float up, thanks to the point of articulation, the jig provides a versatile and effective presentation for catching even the most wary fish. Available in various sizes, the Swingin’ Ned Rig Jig allows for better bottom contact and deeper finesse presentations while maintaining the bait's ability to stand straight up.
Best Tackle Management:
Boat Outfitters | Teak Isle Pontoon Boat Tackle Center
Boat Outfitters is proud to introduce the latest addition to their tackle storage collection, the Boat Outfitters | Teak Isle Pontoon Boat Tackle Center. This innovative unit combines convenient rod storage and tackle organization, featuring four storage drawers with dividers and ample space for seven 3700 series Plano trays. Crafted from durable King StarBoard and equipped with stainless-steel hardware, it is built to withstand the challenging marine conditions. The tackle center also offers a practical countertop with an engraved fish ruler, a hinged catch-all area, and bungee cord retainers for secure storage of up to four rod and reel combos.
Best Fishing Accessory:
ENGEL USB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion XL Live Bait Aerator Pump
Experience the next level of live bait preservation with the Engel USB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion XL Live Bait Aerator Pump. Building upon the success of its predecessor, this innovative aerator features three powerful 2000mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries, delivering double the air pressure at 3.0 STL/minute for optimal oxygenation. With a new 2.5" hockey puck style aerator stone and an impressive battery life of up to 72 hours, this pump ensures your bait remains fresh and lively while maintaining its position as the quietest pump available in the market.
Best Soft and Hard Coolers:
Flop Industries Flop Box 10
Introducing the Flop Industries Flop Box 10, the ultimate bait cooler designed to tackle any challenge on the water. With a lithium-ion battery-powered aerator providing over 120 hours of run time, a chill plate insulated lid, and a powerful pump airflow of 3.2 liters per minute, this cooler ensures your bait stays fresh in even the harshest conditions. Built with an indestructible rotomolded shell and over 1.25-inch thick foam insulation, the Flop Box delivers unparalleled durability. Plus, with the added convenience of a USB Type C charging port and exceptional direct-to-consumer customer service, quality, and reliability, it's a bait cooler that truly stands out.
Best Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools:
Experience the ultimate fishing companion with the BUBBA Pro Series Smart Fish Scale (SFS). Designed for both casual weekend anglers and seasoned competitors, this scale boasts a nonslip grip, an impressive weight limit of 60lbs, and unparalleled accuracy. With three versatile modes, including smart culling, auto data for bag weight calculation, and livewell management for up to 8 fish, as well as social connectivity through the mobile app and real-time virtual tournaments, the SFS revolutionizes the way you weigh, track, and compete with your catches.
Best Custom Tackle and Components:
American Tackle Company Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle
Experience the award-winning American Tackle Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle, recipient of the prestigious ICAST 2023 Best of Show accolade. Designed with modern anglers in mind, its ergonomic trigger handle provides unmatched comfort and effortless control. Crafted from a lightweight yet robust 1 oz. matte 3K carbon handle, this handle offers exceptional durability. With a matte 3K carbon foregrip sleeve featuring an aluminum trim for added flair, as well as a molded rubber end cap and aluminum check for enhanced protection, the Tsuka 2 showcases an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, making it perfect for high-performance fishing pursuits.
Best Fly Fishing Reel:
Cheeky Spray Fly Reel
Elevate your fly fishing experience with the new Cheeky Spray Fly Reels, the epitome of premium quality from Cheeky Fishing. Meticulously engineered and rigorously tested, these reels deliver exceptional performance and efficiency on every cast. With an enhanced Gasket Drag System (GDS), lightweight design, upgraded features, and an array of vibrant colors, the Spray Reels are ready to tackle any fly-fishing adventure. Crafted from aerospace-grade aluminum, they boast a robust frame and spool design, ensuring both durability and strength in every angling pursuit.
Best Fly Fishing Rod:
Hardy Marksman Z
Prepare to be amazed by the Hardy Marksman Z Fly Rod, the talk of the saltwater fishing community. Developed in collaboration with top guides, anglers, and legends in the field, this rod series surpasses its predecessor, the esteemed Zane Pro. With remarkable strength and durability, the Marksman Z delivers an unparalleled combination of sensitivity, quick recovery, and precise accuracy, all thanks to the cutting-edge Sintrix FLT technology. Choose between the 4-piece and 1-piece options to find the perfect fit for your angling needs.
Best Fly Fishing Technical Apparel and Accessories:
Renzetti Master M6014 Edition
Introducing the Renzetti Master M6014 Edition Fly Tying Vise, the ultimate tool for avid fly tiers. This True Rotary vise offers an impressive hook range from #28 to 10/0, allowing you to create flies of various sizes. With a pedestal base featuring magnetized pockets, deluxe stem support, hinged stem accessory, and an extended crank arm, this vise provides exceptional functionality and convenience. Crafted with precision in the USA, the Renzetti Master M6014 Edition is a must-have for fly tying enthusiasts.
Best Fly Fishing Waders and Wading Boots:
Simms G4Z Stockingfoot Wader
Simms has taken wader technology to the next level with the G4Z Stockingfoot Waders, offering anglers unparalleled waterproof breathability, durability, and comfort. These waders are proudly made in Bozeman, MT and feature a rugged 4-layer lower and 3-layer upper GORE-TEX Pro Shell fabric for ultimate protection. With new features such as compression-molded stockingfeet, higher pile fleece handwarmer pockets, an internal submersible zippered pocket, improved fit, and enhanced suspenders, the G4Z waders provide a superior experience for anglers in any fishing condition.
Best Fly Fishing Pack, Bag & Luggage:
Simms Flyweight Vest Pack
The new Simms Flyweight Vest Pack is designed to enhance your performance on the water with its lightweight and durable construction. Made from water-resistant 150-denier robic Nylon, this pack features a 15L main compartment for easy access to your gear. With multiple front and back pockets, including quick-access drop pockets, zippered pockets, and stretch mesh pockets, the Flyweight Vest Pack offers ample storage options. Additionally, it includes a deployable carrier that provides extra volume for shoes, outerwear, or additional layers, making it a versatile and functional choice for anglers.
Best Fly Fishing Line, Leader, Tippet and Line Accessories:
BUZBE Colony 8T (Thin) Modular Tackle Box
Revolutionizing tackle storage, the BUZBE Colony 8T (THIN) Modular Tackle Box sets a new benchmark for functionality. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, this box offers a customized layout that is specifically designed for organizing and storing small parts, making it an ideal choice for anglers who specialize in fly fishing. Experience unparalleled convenience and efficiency with this innovative tackle box.
Best Ice Fishing:
Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI with ECHOMAP
Experience the pinnacle of ice fishing technology with the LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI featuring the ECHOMAP UHD2 93sv touchscreen combo. With enhanced screen resolution, built-in Wi-Fi for wireless data sharing, and preloaded Garmin Navionics+ inland mapping, this bundle takes ice fishing to new heights. The revolutionary LiveScope sonar technology provides unmatched clarity, reduced noise, and improved target separation in both the LiveScope Forward and LiveScope Down modes, allowing you to see up to 200 feet in any direction.
Best Kids' Tackle:
ProFISHiency Next Gen Krazy Combo
Introducing the ProFISHiency Next Gen Krazy Combo, specially designed to inspire and empower the next generation of anglers. With a one-piece 5'6" Medium Heavy IM7 blank, this rod provides easy control and ample backbone for a variety of fishing techniques. The compact baitcast reel is perfectly sized for young anglers, offering enhanced control and castability. Featuring a 5.6:1 gear ratio, 10 ball bearings, magnetic brakes, and cork grips/knobs, this combo equips young fishermen with the tools they need to explore the world of fishing with confidence.
Best Motorized Boating Accessories:
Power-Pole Move ZR
Experience the unmatched performance of the Power-Pole Move ZR, the ideal scissor lift-style trolling motor designed for traditional bow-mount bass boats. With superior durability and multi-layered corrosion resistance, it thrives in both saltwater and freshwater environments. Built with compound fail-safes and an unbreakable aerospace-grade titanium shaft, the Move ZR ensures reliable operation and keeps you moving forward, no matter the conditions you encounter on the water.
Best Non-Motorized Boating Accessories:
BOTE Hangout Water Hammock
Check out the BOTE Hangout Water Hammock - the ultimate accessory for water fun and relaxation. Featuring a contoured mesh bed, this hammock provides both comfort and safety for you and your loved ones to enjoy the water. With its spacious dimensions of 7'8" W × 7'8" D × 8" H and a weight capacity of 600 lbs, the Hangout Water Hammock offers plenty of room for everyone to lounge and play. Get ready to elevate your water adventures with the BOTE Hangout Water Hammock, powered by AeroBOTETech.
Best Boats and Watercraft:
Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 Kayak
Experience the ultimate versatility on the water with the Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 Kayak. This revolutionary kayak integrates seamless battery-powered pedal propulsion, power-assisted pedal, and motorized cruise control, giving you complete control over your paddling experience. With an intuitive interface and keys located on the drive, you can effortlessly switch between modes. Powered by a lithium battery, this kayak opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to explore the water with ease. Proudly manufactured in Old Town, ME, USA, the Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ Kayak is your ticket to unparalleled fishing adventures.
The Westin EscapeCam is the world's smallest and lightest underwater fishing camera designed to capture incredible underwater footage. Weighing in at just 1.4 oz, this compact camera is easy to cast and delivers stunning HD videos at up to 60 fps. With versatile add-ons to adapt to different lures and techniques, the EscapeCam stays submerged during retrieval without adding extra weight, thanks to the Dive Lip feature. Its Y-fin ensures steady videos even with lures exhibiting aggressive action, and it is built tough to withstand pressures up to 650 ft, making it the perfect companion for any underwater adventure.
Best Lifestyle Apparel for Men:
AFTCO Ocean Bound Hooded Performance Shirt
Crafted from REPREVE Our Ocean recycled ocean-bound polyester fabric, the Ocean Bound Hooded Performance Shirt not only keeps you protected and comfortable during long days on the water but also helps combat plastic pollution. With UPF 40 sun protection, an active hood that can tuck over your hat brim, thumb loops, and quick-dry, moisture-wicking properties, the Ocean Bound shirt ensures you stay cool, dry, and shielded for uninterrupted casting. Join the movement towards a cleaner ocean while enjoying top-notch performance with AFTCO's Ocean Bound Hooded Performance Shirt.
Best Lifestyle Apparel for Women:
HUK Women's Pursuit Coverup Dress
Embrace style and performance with the Huk Pursuit Women's Coverup Dress. Designed to be worn over your bathing suit, this coverup combines fashion and functionality seamlessly. With 50+ UPF sun protection, an adjustable hood, and cinches at the bottom for personalized coverage, it ensures you stay protected and comfortable. The soft anti-microbial fabric not only drapes beautifully but also features mesh sides for enhanced breathability, keeping you cool during your post-water activities.
Best Warm Weather Technical Apparel for Women:
AFTCO Women's Mojeaux 1/4 Zip Performance Suit
The AFTCO Women's Mojeaux 1/4 Zip Performance Shirt is a pro-inspired garment designed by Capt. Moe Newman of Venice, LA. Built for extensive days on the water, this shirt prioritizes sun protection, breathability, stretch, and comfort. Featuring award-winning Air-O Mesh ventilation fabric, UPF 50 sun protection, DWR stain release, quick-dry and moisture-wicking properties, a stealth zipper pocket, and thumb loops for enhanced sun protection, the Mojeaux performance shirt is the ultimate companion for women anglers seeking optimal performance and protection.
Best Warm Weather Technical Apparel for Men:
AFTCO Channel Hooded Performance Shirt
Experience ultimate ventilation and cooling with the AFTCO Channel Hooded Performance Shirt. Constructed with a knit 100% recycled polyester fabric, this shirt offers quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable even in heated conditions. With features like the SpeedVent™ active hood to prevent it from blowing off, UPF 40 sun protection, an integrated zippered chest pocket for convenient storage, and a modern aesthetic, the Channel shirt ensures both functionality and style that stands out from the crowd.
Best Cold Weather Technical Apparel for Women:
AFTCO Women's Barricade Rain Suit
The AFTCO Women's Barricade Rain Suit is a feature-packed and affordable option for women anglers. This rain suit offers 3-layer construction and a 20K/5k waterproof breathable rating, ensuring optimal protection from the elements. With a SpeedVent™ hood, slide waist cinch for a customizable fit, Double Dry cuffs to prevent water seepage, YKK zippers on the chest pocket for secure storage, and thoughtful details like jacquard elastic bibs shoulder straps and a dual side zippered relief hatch, the Barricade Rain Suit combines functionality and convenience for female anglers.
Best Cold Weather Technical Apparel for Men:
Blackfish Gear Gale Pullover
The Blackfish Gear Gale Pulloveris, a high-quality soft-shell pullover designed to provide exceptional warmth, comfort, and weather protection. With innovative ThermalSnare technology, featuring a fleece bonded with a windproof shell, it effectively retains heat and keeps out the cold. This pullover boasts a soft long-nap warm fleece inner lining, a zippered hand-warming pouch, and a weather-proof shell, making it a versatile and essential garment for all seasons and activities.
Designed for elite anglers, the Costa King Tide 8 Sunglasses feature advanced sweat management and shark-inspired, zero-fog venting to ensure clear vision at all times. With removable side shields for optimized viewing on and off the water and non-skid hooding to keep the frames securely in place, the King Tide 8 represents the culmination of Costa's 40 years of research and innovation, making it the ultimate achievement in eyewear for water enthusiasts.
AFTCO Ankle Deck Boots
Discover the ultimate companion for life on the water with the AFTCO Ankle Deck Boot. Meticulously designed to meet the needs of passionate anglers, these boots provide unmatched comfort and performance. With a quick-drying and fully flexible neoprene liner, along with a custom compression-molded antimicrobial insole, these waterproof boots offer optimal cushioning, rebound, and support, ensuring your feet stay comfortable season after season.
Best Novelties and Wellness:
ExtremeMist Personal Cooling Systems GoMist Drink and Misting Bottle
Embrace the cooling benefits of mist with the GoMist Drink and Misting Bottle from ExtremeMist Personal Cooling Systems - your perfect companion for staying refreshed in hot weather. This innovative bottle features an ultrafine misting nozzle that releases a refreshing cloud of mist, instantly cooling the air around you. As the mist comes into contact with your skin, it evaporates, effectively lowering your body temperature and keeping you cool and comfortable.