The old adage “he was like a kid in a candy shop” certainly applied to me last week down at the annual Australian Fishing Trade Show on the Gold Coast. This is the industry show where Australian fishing tackle manufacturers, importers and distributors set up elaborate stands to present their wares to fishing tackle retailers. At each show, the retailers and fishing media – including yours truly – vote on various categories of fishing-related products and Best of Show awards are presented at the gala dinner. The biggest winner of the night was JM Gillies, a Melbourne company which supplies huge amounts of quality tackle into Darwin, including iconic brands like Bomber Lures, Classic Lures, Killalures, Plano and FINS to name a few. In what must surely be some sort of record, JM Gillies won seven of the 19 categories contested. It’s a newsworthy event if a new Plano product doesn’t win the Best Tackle Management category, and it did it again this year with the Plano Edge Master 500 Series. This is a new Stowaway lure tray with “silicon fingers” to protect lures, hooks and finishes. Another great winning product from Gillies was the FINS Fighter PRT braid line which is made of 100% Spectra Fibres. Thanks to an improved gel-spinning process, this new FINS line is being hailed as one of the world’s strongest and lightest fibres. Abrasion testing has shown that Spectra lasts twice as long as other PE materials, and with less internal friction, enabling increased line life and decreased fray. Spectra fibre is highly resistant to UV, fungal and chemical damage, making it the ideal super-line material. It should be a no-brainer on the barra scene. If you get a chance, you must check out the new Rhinoflex Gorilla Grip glove which won Best Clothing Accessory. There are several variations but each has incredible gripping power and one model withstands the edge of a sharp filleting knife – I know as it was demonstrated across the palm of my own hand. For fly fishermen, JM Gillies also won the categories of: Best Fly Fishing rod with its Sage Trout LL; Best Fly Fishing Line with its Rio Direct Core Flats Pro line; and Best Fly Fishing Reel with its Sage Trout reel. Finally, the Best Outdoor Camping Product went to JM Gillies for the new Link-Micro from Spypoint – an easy-to-use, affordable, small cellular trail camera. Wilson Fishing scored with some great new products, including the Zerek Weedless Fish Trap which won Best Soft Lure. The is a ripper vibe and you can just see how well it will go on barra; after all, the Zerek Fish Trap with trebles is a great vibe already. Wilson Fishing also won Best Game Fishing Rod with the Venom Ocean Gladiator Series. These wicked rods include a 15kg slick butt stroker; a 24kg slick butt stroker; a 37kg slick butt stroker; and a 60kg bent-butt, stand-up rod for when things are getting serious. Wilson Fishing also won the prestigious John Dunphy Award for Innovation with the Mustad InkVader. This is truly an amazing lure: an imitation soft plastic octopus that squirts ink when you jig up and down. Given that octopus and squid squirt ink when they are threatened by predators, reef fish are going to go crazy after this lure. You could see how it worked in a demonstration tank which by the end of the first day was so black you couldn’t see into it. Of particular interest to Top End anglers was the Best Rod category, won by Shimano with its Terez Spin 69MH rod. It’s one of 23 models in the Terez range, which now feature stronger, lighter rods, with vastly improved functionality. There are 16 spin options ranging from 5’ 9” jig models to 8’ topwater and popping rods, and seven overhead/baitcasting models ranging from 5’ 8” (jig) to 7’ (casting). Shimano’s designers have upgraded the blanks to incorporate the company’s patented Spiral X and Hi-Power X technology, while maintaining the durability and performance characteristics that the Terez reputation was built upon. Extremely light in weight yet powerful, these reinforced Terez blanks are resistant to twist under load during a fight and casting distance is significantly better. In coming weeks, I’ll bring you more from the Australian Fishing Trade Show. PHOTOS:
1 The Plano Edge Master – a new Stowaway lure tray with “silicon fingers”– won the Best Tackle Management award at the Australian Fishing Trade Show.
2. Best Line at the tackle show was the new FINS Fighter PRT made from 100% Spectra fibres.
3. The new stronger and lighter Shimano Terez range won Best Rod.
4. The Mustad InkVader won the John Dunphy Innovation award; and no wonder as it squirts ink when jigged.
5. The new Rio Direct Core Flats Pro cleaned up the Best Fly Line category at the tackle show.