Tackle Tips

4 Fishing Trends to Expect from ICAST 2022

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ICAST fishing industry show floor

Everyone here at Wired2fish gets giddy when the ICAST 2022 show nears. It’s the largest fishing tackle show in the industry and in addition to seeing close friends and catching up with everyone, we’re super excited to check out the latest and greatest in fishing tackle.

This particular year seems like it’s going to be a big one. Through our conversations within the industry and the huge new product gallery we’re going to publish on Wednesday morning, we’ve noticed a few trends you might want to take notice of next week. If you’re an angler, I think you’re going to get pretty pumped up about several of the offerings coming your way.

I wanted to sit down and do a quick rundown of some trends you can expect for this year’s show.

It’s a great time to be a crappie angler

While we’re all bass anglers here, we also enjoy chasing a wide variety of fish. Crappie fishing is also a big passion of ours and this year’s ICAST is going to be very special for both recreational and avid crappie anglers.

You’re going to start hearing the “BFS” acronym a lot, which stands for Bait Finesse System. Without going into too much of a rabbit hole, this tackle system allows you to cast super lightweight crappie jigs incredible distances with a baitcasting reel. We’ve tested this system in recent weeks and the possibilities seem endless. The casting distance has been insane and it’s going to blow a lot of folks away and somewhat redefine how they view crappie fishing.

Of course, it also takes the right rod and you’re going to see some impressive offerings next week that will help anglers get the most out of this special technique. It’s going to be pretty exciting for a lot of folks.

While we’re on the subject of crappie fishing, I’d also keep an eye out for some really great-looking crappie baits. This isn’t your grandad’s crappie fishing anymore; there are some awesome swimbait-type baits that will be introduced next week and I actually think they will lead more bass anglers to try targeting crappie when the bass fishing action slows throughout the year. I’d also be willing to bet that some of these baits will catch a bunch of bass as well when they’re targeting smaller prey.

Forward-facing baits

That subheading might sound a little strange, but we’ve all seen the emergence of forward-facing technology in the fishing industry. I know there are a bunch of different opinions on it from different types of anglers and that’s totally fine. The bottom line is, however, is that it’s here to stay and it’s not going anywhere. While we’ve all seen all the high-end technology be released over the past several years, it seems as if the bait manufacturers are taking advantage of this massively popular technology.

You’re going to see a bunch of baits during ICAST 2022 that will solely revolve around forward-facing sonar. Without giving too much away, you’ll see lures you can quickly pitch in front of the boat in order to efficiently target fish you see on your screen.

Regardless of your fishing style, I think you’ll see a bunch of baits you’ll be able to utilize with this technology. Writing this as an admittedly old-school angler, I understand both sides of the coin with forward-facing sonar. But if you take a step back and check out some of the baits that will be released next week, you’re going to be fairly blown away by some of the offerings. There are a lot of bait/lure manufacturers who have really shown out this year.

Finesse options will continue to grow

When the whole COVID thing hit, folks flocked to fishing. Whether they were brand new to the sport or an experienced angler, our country’s lakes have probably never been busier. Heck, you could pull up to a boat ramp in the middle of the week and hardly find a parking spot.

As a result, however, this increased fishing pressure made many of our lakes more difficult to fish than ever. When a fish gets a hundred baits per week dive-bombed on top of its head, it gets pretty tough to make ‘em bite. Again, the lure manufacturers took notice and came up with some incredible options to help folks keep catching fish.

You’ll see a lot of small bass fishing baits this year. If you’re not a finesse-type person, don’t worry; you’ll see plenty of things to interest you as well. But some of this new finesse stuff is going to make your jaw drop. It’s hard to believe some of these companies have figured out a way to make an artificial bass fishing lure look so realistic. This might be a good year to consider grabbing a medium-action spinning rod, some 8-pound test and try your hand at some finesse fishing. These folks have done a great job on the finesse-end of things.

Big swimbaits will become more mainstream

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, don’t be surprised this year when you start seeing a bunch of big swimbaits and glide baits from more “mainstream” manufacturers. For years, the swimbait scene as been somewhat of an underground niche for many. Smaller lure builders have been selling their awesome high-end baits for hundreds of dollars and heck, within a few minutes of a new “drop”, they’d sell out. These baits are just as much works of arts as they are big-bass baits.

This year, however, it seems like these baits are going to become a lot more mainstream; they’re also going to become more affordable and readily available. Now, the diehard swimbait guys might not jump on ‘em, but I think these newer big swimbaits are going to be an excellent option for getting anglers into big-bait fishing. Instead of spending a bunch of money on a technique you might not like or something that might not fit your local fisheries, this year you’ll be able to test the proverbial waters on a budget.

On that note, you’re also going to find a lot of newer and perhaps more affordable big-swimbait rods on the market. I’m personally excited about this because I’m not a big-bait guy but I think I can give it a shot this year without paying too much money.

Final thoughts

I strongly encourage you to keep an eye out on Wired2fish this upcoming week. Our huge new product gallery is going to publish first thing Wednesday morning and it’s going to include all sorts of new fishing gear you’ll want to see. Clean images, not a bunch of words or fluff… we’ll bring you all the information you need so you can start making plans for the upcoming fishing year. We can’t wait to show everyone what the fishing industry has been working on!