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RK

New Muskie Gear

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Hiya -

FINALLY have a chance to sit down and file a report on ICAST...

For those who have never heard of it, ICAST is the big fishing industry trade show which is held every summer, and where all the new stuff for the next season is introduced. Not a ton of muskie-specific stuff there, but there are a few new things. Some of them are pretty dang nice...

So here goes...

Abu Garcia has a new muskie-sized low profile reel out called the Toro. I actually got my hands on one about a month ago and had the chance to use it quite a bit before it was officially launched at ICAST. Tell you what, it's quite a reel. Amazingly compact, but has the line capacity of a 6500-series ABU round reel. Comes in two gear ratios - 5.4:1 and 6.3:1, has a synchronized level wind, 7 ball bearings, carbon matrix drag, high efficiency gears, a clicker, and even comes with two handles - a double paddle and a single counterbalanced power handle. When I asked the Abu product guys if they'd tested it a lot on big gamefish, they said they'd had them up in Alaska testing them on halibut a few weeks ago and they worked great. If they can pull up one of those barn doors...it's a real muskie reel...

Abu also has an improved version of the Record coming out. I know a lot of guys liked the reels, but had the anti-reverse fail on them. They just weren't designed for heavy baits and braid. The new version, the Revo Inshore, has a dual anti-reverse - an anti-reverse bearing plus a mechanical anti-reverse dog, so it'll be a lot more durable.

Shimano has a new saltwater casting reel similar to the Trinidad but at a lower price point, for those who want to try a big SW reel but don't feel like sinking $350 into it. The Tyrnos is about $100 less than a Trinidad...

G Loomis has 4 new muskie rods coming out. Great-looking big bait rods in 8 to 8.5 feet. Wow are they ever light. Designed for DCGs and Bull Dawgs, and the lighter power model of the 4 would make a great jerkbait/spinnerbait rod too.

St. Croix has 8 new muskie rod models coming out in their Legend Tournament series. One cool thing is each will be available in either split rear grip or standard grip. Amazingly light rods, and remarkable actions.

Berkley has some new lines coming out - a camo stealth, which looks pretty cool, and a braided Fireline. Very thin stuff, and braided so it'll stay round. Regular fireline flattens out on the spool, which is why it's so miserable to use on baitcasting gear... This should change that.

TripleFish has spools of Fluoro muskie leader out now. I use a lot of TripleFish Fluoro bass and walleye fishing, and it's great stuff. Also the most economical Fluoro around...

For lures, Muskie Innovations has some new soft plastics coming that are really cool. A big tube, and some other funky looking things. They improved the plastic the Bull Dawgs are made of so it's tougher (although it's still soft), and are going back to the 7-strand internal harness, which is really good news for the Bull Dawg junkies out there.

I saw a ton of cool looking swimbaits down there, both hard and soft. Since they bought Castaic, Nature Vision has been working on some hard swimbaits in their Rock Hard series that are super-realistic versions of northern forage species. You should see these things. Hyper-realistic. The bluegill is unreal, and they're working on some others, like perch and ciscoes. I think siwmbaits like this may be a whole new frontier for muskies based on talking to a few people and doing some of my own experimenting... Something I plan on covering in an upcoming article... Also saw some very cool 6" and 8" soft plastic swimbaits.

Mustad and Owner both have big swimbait hooks coming out which will rock for big plastics for muskies. 8/0 and 10/0... Wicked-looking hooks. While I was talking to the Mustad guys I asked about the muskie-size UltraPoints we're all waiting for, and here's the scoop: Apparently hooks over 4/0 need to be hand-assembled (who knew...), and they didn't have the floor space at their factory to handle that production. They're adding on to the factory, and when that's done, we'll get our 5/0 UltraPoints. I encouraged them to hurry the [PoorWordUsage] up on your behalf smile

Ahhh...there's probably more I'm forgetting. The new rods and reels were the main things though.

Thought I'd share...

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Prop... I'll probably go... but dont think I'll spend that much unless there are deals that I absolutely definitely cannot pass up on or its for my boat grin Im still working on it... gotta get it DONE and READY ASAP...

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Thanks Rob, great stuff!

I'm excited about the Toro reel. Pricepoint is in the upper $200 range, but I added an Abu Revo high-speed to my bass reels this year and have really been impressed, especially from an exclusively Shimano bass reel guy 'til this point.

Abu is doing nice things in the low-pro reel niche.

Hand assembled hooks....crazy....never would have guessed!

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Hiya -

Brian - I think the Toro is going to come in at around $279. A little steep, but having used one - I'd buy one. It has a thumbar, which I'm usually not wild about with muskie reels. I have a badly mauled thumb joint on my right hand thanks to playing rugby in college, so if I jam my thumb hard at all it pops out of joint, which doesn't feel all that great. I usually can't use round reels with thumb bars at all for that reason - when I hit the thumb bar to cast I cram my thumb into the spool and pop it out and it hurts the rest of the day. But with the Toro, it sits so low to the rod blank it hasn't been a problem.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Are those Mustad UltraPoints gonna be the Ultimate Esox or Triple Grip design or something else such as a basic roundbend?

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Hey Cooter -

From what I heard from Mustad, it'll be the Ultimate Esox, which is really just a heavy round bend for the most part. I think larger Triple Grips are on the agenda too, but we'll likely see the UltraPoints first.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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