30 “Best of Category” Winners and “Best of Show” From ICAST 2022

Each year at the annual ICAST fishing trade show, several hundred companies compete for one of 30 coveted “Best of Category” awards, then one of those new products is named as “Best of Show.”

30 “Best of Category” Winners and “Best of Show” From ICAST 2022

“Best of Category” winners were recently announced at ICAST 2022 in Orlando, Florida. ICAST is the largest fishing trade show in North America. These 30 awards are selected by credentialed buyers and media attending the trade show.

“The nice thing about these awards is that they are accolades from your peers,” said the American Sportfishing Association’s Chairman Jesse Simpkins, VP of marketing for St. Croix Rods. “They recognize the hard work, effort and ingenuity that goes into the product.”

This year, more than 900 new products were entered in 30 categories. After category winners were announced, the voting process started among those products for the top prize, the overall “Best of Show” winner — an honor reserved for the pinnacle of new products with the greatest chance to impact sportfishing’s future. “Best of Show” for ICAST 2022 was awarded to first-time show exhibitor and startup company PacBak, from Wasilla, Alaska.

A PacBak cooler/vacuum sealer combo allows you to lock in perfect flavor right after you catch a fish, regardless of whether you’re fishing from shore or in a boat.
A PacBak cooler/vacuum sealer combo allows you to lock in perfect flavor right after you catch a fish, regardless of whether you’re fishing from shore or in a boat.

PacBak was designed to be used far afield in the Alaskan wild. “Me and my brother grew up on the river,” said product developer Brian McKinnon (top photo, standing on the left). “We would fish all summer long, and pretty much out of necessity we would take two coolers to separate the wet and cold from the dry and warm. We would take a table and a vacuum sealer and go up river until we couldn’t see footsteps. Then, we would take salmon right out of the river and throw them on the grill.”

The flavors of that fish stuck with McKinnon his entire life. In travels around the country, he realized the flavor was almost impossible to capture unless it was captured immediately at the source. Thus, the concept for Pacbak was born. 

Product development meant researching rotomolds, batteries, layouts and marketing ideas, all of which came together this week at ICAST. Now, Brian McKinnon's Alaskan startup will forever hold a place in the industry record books, alongside legendary fishing brands such as Shimano, Berkley, Humminbird, Garmin, Old Town and Hobie.

“This changes everything for our company,” McKinnon said. “We are getting so much press now and so much interest. We have people trying to write checks and all sorts of stuff. Hands down, I couldn’t have done it without ICAST.”

The 30 “Best of Category” awards for ICAST 2022 are shown below.

New Product Showcase ‘Best of Category’ Winners

  • Novelties and Wellness: Garmin Quatix 7 Smartwatch - Sapphire Edition; Garmin USA
  • Boating Accessories: Frabill ReCharge, Deluxe Aerator; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Boats and Watercraft: BOTE Rackham Gatorshall + APEX Pedal Drive; BOTE
  • Footwear: AFTCO Ankle Deck Boot; AFTCO
  • Ice Fishing: Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI; Garmin USA
  • Eyewear: Roca; Baijo Sunglasses
  • Lifestyle Apparel for Women: Women’s Reaper Softshell; AFTCO
  • Lifestyle Apparel for Men: CocoBoardies Boardshorts; AFTCO
  • Warm Weather Technical Apparel: SolarFlex Guide Cooling Hoody; Simms Fishing Products
  • Cold Weather Technical Apparel: Barricade Rain Suit Acid Camo Colorway; AFTCO
  • Soft and Hard Coolers (And “Best of Show” winner): P88-MK Combo; PacBak 
  • Electronics: MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock; Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics
  • Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools: BUBBA Saltwater Multi-Flex Fillet Knife; BUBBA
  • Fishing Accessory: Frabill WITNESS Weigh Net; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Kids’ Tackle: Kid’s Tributary Wader; Simms Fishing Products
  • Tackle Management: Plano EDGE Frog Box; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Terminal Tackle: DieZel Eye Jigheads; Z-Man Fishing Products
  • Custom Tackle and Components: RBS Pro G2 Power Wrapper; Mud Hole Custom Tackle
  • Fishing Line: SpiderWire DuraBraid Hi-Vis Yellow; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Freshwater Soft Lure: Berkley PowerBait PowerStinger; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Freshwater Hard Lure: Berkley Slobberknocker; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Saltwater Soft Lure: Kicker CrabZ; Z-Man Fishing Products
  • Saltwater Hard Lure: LIVETARGET Live Shrimp; LIVETARGET Lures
  • Fly Fishing Rod: Banshee Fly; Bull Bay Tackle Company
  • Freshwater Rod: Legend Tournament Bass Rod; St. Croix Rod
  • Saltwater Rod: Ugly Stik Carbon Innshore Rod; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Rod & Reel Combo: Shimano Spheros SW Combo; Shimano
  • Fly Reel & Fly Fishing Accessories: Hardy Fortuna Regent Saltwater Fly Reel; Pure Fishing, Inc.
  • Freshwater Reel: Shimano STELLA FK; Shimano
  • Saltwater Reel: PENN Authority Spinning Reel; Pure Fishing, Inc.


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