The Sportsmen's Show & Sport Fishing Boat Show makes several stops in the Pacific Northwest. Here are some of the highlights from the show this past weekend in Portland, Oregon.
Everyone who's into hunting, fishing, and boating in the Pacific Northwest had the annual Sportsman's Show and Sport Fishing Boat Show on their radar over the past few weeks.
I attended the event in Portland, an dam happy to report back on several of the biggest releases, unveilings, and all new outdoor products that are set to hit the market in a big way.
Without any more delay, here are five product lines you'll want to pay close attention to as you gear up for a new season outside, doing the things you love.
The Yakima Bait Co. Mag Lip 2.5
Following the release of last year's Mag Lip 3.0, this new, even smaller plug continues the trend of a downsized presentation in plug fishing. It's ideal for low-water conditions, and can also be used to target a multitude of other species, like trout, walleye, and kokanee, whether it's rigged straight onto your line, off planer boards, downriggers, and weighted rigging.
The design incorporates one rear treble hook out of the package, as company rep Jarod Higginbotham explains.
"The Mag Lip is known for it's unique skipbeat action," Higginbotham said. "We add buoyancy with an air chamber that gives it an erratic, lively "hunt." Removing the belly hook adds to that skipbeat action. The larger models are designed to be run at speeds of 4 mph, while the new 2.5 is made to run at slightly slower speeds, around 3 mph, allowing it to target a number of other species with different methods."
The new 2.5 Mag Lip is currently available in 22 of the 44 standard Yakima Bait Co. colors. As production increases with demand, more colors will soon be available. These products are made by hand and hand painted in the USA, taking almost two weeks to produce each batch from start to finish.
While these were available at the show and are at a number of marine and outdoor supply vendors, they're so new that they're not yet on the Yakima Bait Co. website. Keep your eyes peeled for them in stores before they fly off the shelves! You can find the Mag Lip 2.5 currently in stock at Fisherman's Marine, Bob's Sporting Goods, Fish Field, Sportco, Outdoor Emporium, and Dick's Sporting Goods.
BnR Soft Plastics
Fishing beads has grown in popularity, allowing for an evolution in the introduction of new products like the Aerofloat Beadmaster among many others. New on the scene are a number of soft-plastic beads, including the B&R soft beads, which come packed with bobber stops and vinyl tubing to create a unique soft plastic bead that slides onto your leader without damaging the soft plastic bead itself. Each bead is created in a mold that leaves a hollow space through the bead, just like any hard plastic bead. The vinyl tubing slides right in and the bobber stop holds everything in place.
The "holey worms" are another great product produced with the same concept in mind. Each worm is molded with a hollow portion for the line to travel through the worm itself, reducing the damage caused from friction created by the leader, as well as giving more attention to detail in the rigging instead of sloppily pushing a hook through a worm, giving it a crooked threading.
While there are other soft plastic products on the market, these are the only ones with a hole designed into the mold of the soft plastic. You can buy them at a number of retailers, or find them online at BnRTackle.com
Dave's Tangle Free Dropshot Weights
Lost in a sea of "slimy silvery fish" products, creator Dave Harding's lead-free weights, made in the USA, never really get the attention that they deserve. His line was mentioned here on last year's 5 Most Innovative Lures and Tackle of 2015, and is the choice of industry professionals like Pro Escobedo of VIP Outdoors, quickly becoming the alternative to rigging weight for steelhead.
"But what about us bass guys?" was uttered more than once at this Pacific Northwest, Salmonid-dominated industry show. The Dave's Tangle Free dropshot weights offer a great alternative not only to fishing lead, but providing Northwest Bass Anglers with a superior quality product. With the vast expanse of the Columbia River and its tributaries, a great deal of warm water fishing opportunity exists on ledges, boulders, and rock piles.
The Dave's Tangle Free weight has a rubber sleeve that has caught the attention of steelhead guides like Grant Rilette for its ability to reduce snags and eliminate the "ticking" noise that lead makes when it hits rock bottom. Bass are particularly sensitive to sound, so this feature is equally useful in warm water fisheries.
While the product materials tend to be a little more expensive, raising the price of the weights, you'll make up for it with the number of times you get it back versus losing your lead on the water and having to take the time to add it to your rigging again.
"If bass anglers can get over the fear of losing them and try these things out, they will see how little they actually lose them," says creator Dave Harding. "Many of those who have, switched from the dropshot style attachments to tying straight onto the original swivel models." Dave's Tangle Free Dropshot Weights are readily available at a number of retailers and online at their website, davestanglefree.com
Wilderness Pack Specialties
There were lots of tactical supply booths selling cheap, imported, low quality packs, and only a few companies that were really trying to develop a great product and get their brand out to the public. One of those stood out to me in particular, with the simple, functional designs that caught my eye while browsing around.
These are made in Klamath Falls, Oregon with the big game hunter in mind, with a durable, rigid, lightweight frame. Company founder Ken Murdock has been designing and improving his products since 1992, creating a small, customer-focused company that produces an American-made product backed by a lifetime guarantee. The durable construction with quality materials, research, development and care put into the product means that you'll be carrying in less weight, and hiking out with your harvest will be as efficient as ever.
Their products were so eye-catching and uniquely designed for specific uses that it was difficult to choose just one pack that stood out as an all-purpose product. You can browse their full line of products at WildernessPacks.com
Eagle Claw's Trokar Hooks
This new line of hooks is available in just about every variety you can imagine. The points are cut like a blade, unlike traditional points that are simply round, offering added penetration power that sticks. While some models of this hook are still being developed, cutting edge anglers are using many of the Trokar models for methods outside the box of their intended uses. For example, the wide-gap dropshot hook is not only useful for bass fishing, but makes a great hook to trail behind larger beads for steelhead.
Kelso, Washington bass angler Randy Abbott says, "I use Trokar most of the time. Their tube hooks are my go to on the Columbia and I've pretty much went away from open hook internal jig heads. Also, the straight shank flipping hook is one of the strongest hooks I've used. Boat flipping 6+ pound fish isn't a problem."
For a complete list of the Sport Shows in your surrounding area, visit their website.