2019 ICAST Show: Recap and My Favorite New Product

As the largest fishing trade show in the world, ICAST is the place to be to see all the latest innovations to help anglers catch more and bigger fish.

2019 ICAST Show: Recap and My Favorite New Product

If you’re reading this article, chances are good you’ve attended some type of local sports show with a fishing and hunting theme. In my home state of Minnesota, we have a couple of them that take place during late winter. It’s a time for anglers who are excited for the upcoming spring fishing season to dream about catching the big one.

As a member of the outdoor media, I attend a few trade shows each year with a fishing and hunting theme, and my favorite of them all is the annual ICAST Show. ICAST is short for International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, and it takes place every July in Orlando, Florida.

Yes, it’s hot during July in Orlando, and yes, the flight from Minneapolis to Orlando is filled with noisy youngsters who can’t wait to visit Disney World, but these are minor bumps in the road to ICAST. For an avid angler, ICAST is the ultimate sports show. Almost every major fishing manufacturer is represented, and by “represented” I mean the exhibit hall is packed with the latest and greatest new fishing gear. During the 2019 event (July 10-12), 682 exhibitors were in attendance, filling up 650,000 square feet of floor space.

This year at the show I was especially excited to see two fishfinder companies enter the trolling motor market, namely Garmin and Lowrance. While these motors look impressive, it’s impossible for me to say whether they’ll live up to the marketing promise. Category leader Minn Kota with its sister company Humminbird have built a strong and proven one-boat electronics network, and it’ll take a few years to see whether Garmin and Lowrance trolling motors will perform well year after year after year. Competition is good, and I’m excited to see how these three electronics giants continue to push each other to even greater advancements in boat control and fish finding capabilities.

Buyers and members of the media voted for ICAST Best of Show winners in 29 categories, and the overall Best of Show product was awarded to Garmin for its new Force trolling motor. The total number of new products entered in the Best of Show competition was 1,003.
Buyers and members of the media voted for ICAST Best of Show winners in 29 categories, and the overall Best of Show product was awarded to Garmin for its new Force trolling motor. The total number of new products entered in the Best of Show competition was 1,003.

Note: Motorguide also announced a new trolling motor during ICAST, but because they haven’t partnered with a fishfinder company, a true one-boat network — where the fishfinder controls the trolling motor — isn’t possible if you’re running a Motorguide.

The new trolling motors from Garmin and Lowrance cost about $3,000, but the new product that really caught my eye during the 2019 ICAST Show is priced at $3. Let me explain. 

2019 ICAST Reveal: LiveTarget ICT Soft Plastics

LiveTarget is headquartered in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, and while this lure company is certainly a newcomer when compared to many of its legacy competitors, it has carved out a significant slice of the lure offering pie.

The name “LiveTarget” is a good one. In addition to lifelike appearance, the company’s lures are designed to move through the water like real/injured prey, which means predators such as bass devour them. For 2019, LiveTarget has raised the bar again with ICT — Injected Core Technology.

What’s ICT? Simply put, LiveTarget ICT soft-plastic lures feature a lifelike inner core with you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it detail and color. This core is then encapsulated in a clear and durable outer sheath called Exo-Skin. The transparent Exo-Skin is shaped and designed to provide soft plastics with the desired action. 

Specifically, my favorite new products unveiled during the 2019 ICAST Show were the LiveTarget ICT Twitch Minnow, Skip Shad, Slow-Roll Shiner and Ghost Tail Minnow.

Of the thousands of new products on display at the 2019 ICAST Show, the author chose LiveTarget ICT soft plastic lures as his favorite.
Of the thousands of new products on display at the 2019 ICAST Show, the author chose LiveTarget ICT soft plastic lures as his favorite.

The Twitch Minnow is an unrigged soft plastic jerkbait with a thin body. It comes in three sizes, 3.75, 4.5 and 5.25 inches, and six natural colors. The company recommends rigging it sideways with an EWG (extra wide gap) hook, but I think it’ll be deadly rigged upright, too. Time on the water will tell. It should have an erratic side to side action when twitched like any other soft plastic jerkbait.

LiveTarget Twitch Minnow in silver/smoke color.
LiveTarget Twitch Minnow in silver/smoke color.

Designed for skipping under docks and other overhanging objects, the Skip Shad is like the Twitch Minnow but has a deeper body. Available in lengths of 3.5, 4.25 and 5.25 inches, it comes in the same half dozen natural colors as the Twitch Minnow. You’ll rig it sideways on an EWG hook to maximize its skipping potential. Note: In my opinion, the largest size seems heavy enough to skip well without adding a nail weight to the soft plastic.

LiveTarget Skip Shad in silver/brown.
LiveTarget Skip Shad in silver/brown.

The Slow-Roll Shiner is an unrigged swimbait with a thin profile. It comes in 3-, 4- and 5-inch lengths, six natural colors and recommended rigging options include a weighted swimbait hook, a Texas-rigged worm hook or a swimbait jighead. I’m sure it would excel as a trailer on a Chatterbait, too, but in my opinion it’s a bit too costly to be used simply as a trailer on a high-speed lure (more on price later).

LiveTarget Slow-Roll Shiner in silver/green.
LiveTarget Slow-Roll Shiner in silver/green.

Last but not least is the Ghost Tail Minnow. This very thin profile soft plastic is available in lengths of 3.75, 4.5 and 5 inches and the same six natural colors. LiveTarget suggests using the new lure on dropshot rigs, and if you held a Ghost Tail Minnow, you’d certainly understand why; the slender tail of this soft plastic can’t help but quiver. The video below shows the Ghost Tail Minnow in action.

LiveTarget Ghost Tail Minnow in silver/blue.
LiveTarget Ghost Tail Minnow in silver/blue.

Thus far everything in this LiveTarget ICT overview has been positive, but my story wouldn’t be complete if I failed to discuss price. These soft plastic lures are sold in a blister pack featuring either three (largest size option) or four soft plastics for the MSRP of $9.99. Street price is likely to be $8.99. I’ll do the math for you: Depending on size, these new ICTs will cost $2.25 or $3 each, which is very expensive for a single soft plastic.

The big question: Will these ICTs be durable enough to catch several bass before tearing? My prediction is yes, but because I haven’t had the chance to try these new offerings, my opinion is only an educated guess. During the ICAST Show, I pulled pretty hard on the Y-shaped tails of the Twitch Minnow and Skip Shad and didn’t damage them. That said, I don’t know for sure what would happen if a starving sunfish grabbed the lure’s tail, you mistakenly thought it was a bass and you set the hook thinking a 10-pounder was sucking in your lure.

Similarly, it will be interesting to test the durability of the ICT lure’s nose. Will it tear after multiple hooksets and fish? I hope to field test these soft plastics on the water and find out for sure.

LiveTarget has YouTube clips highlighting all of its new ICT soft plastics. Check out the one below featuring the Ghost Tail Minnow and you’ll see why I’m excited to give these lures a try very soon.

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