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Something For All At Las Vegas Fishing Trade Show


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Something for all at Vegas trade show

LAS VEGAS — More than 400 manufacturers brought new fishing tackle to the 50th edition of the American Fishing Association’s annual trade show. Among hundreds of new products, one may have a long-term effect the way we fish and the way we buy bait.

Several years ago, Berkley introduced Power Bait, a synthetic bait that often out-fished live bait, particularly when trout and panfish were targets.

The Iowa company broadened the Power Bait line, and from that evolved Gulp!, a biodegradable material that had even more fish attractant than Power Bait. If some of it broke off, and a fish or other animal ingested it, it would be digested. Otherwise, it would simply dissolve.

Earlier this year, Berkley released Gulp! eels, made for saltwater fishing. Gulp! eels don’t have the tantalizing action of a Slug-Go or some other soft-plastic lures, but neither do needlefish-style lures, and they still catch fish.

Last week, Berkley released Gulp! Alive!, a series of biodegradable baits soaking in in buckets with a new formulation of Gulp! attractant.

The saltwater baits are especially intriguing. They are available in 2- and 3-inch peeler crabs; a 3-inch squid, 2-, 3-, and 4-inch shrimp; sandworms in three lengths; a 3-inch pogy, and a 4-inch swimming mullet.

The sandworms and shrimp look the best.

The baits absorb 20 percent of their weight in the attractant, and they re-charge when they’re returned to the bucket, according to Berkley.

They are much more expensive than soft-plastic lures, but the price will be close to that of live bait.

Will they replace live bait?

“No,” says Randy Armbruster of Robinson Wholesale, one of the largest live-bait distributor in the Midwest. “There will always be a demand for the real thing.”

North Kingstown resident Mike Laptew, “The Diving Fisherman,” was trolling the tackle show in the company of Chuck Wilkinson, inventor of CW Crab, one of the most unusual lures for striped bass.

A Chesapeake Bay fisherman, Wilkinson has been developing the lure for several years after watching striped bass devour small blue crabs near his home. He created the lure with amazing attention to anatomical and kinetic detail: It looks and moves like the real thing. Wilkinson says he was too late to reserve a booth at last week’s show. As a result, the lure may be difficult to find in tackle stores.

Fishing gear designed for women was in abundance at the show. A lot of it was in pink, and some of the stuff, such as the rods by OceanGirl, were both beautiful and tough.

Angie Michaels of FishHer, introduced another line of rods and accessories that were mostly lavender. “Is that what makes it a woman’s rod?” asked one outdoor writer (not me).

Michaels took a rod from the rack and handed it to the man. It felt completely different than any other rod on the show floor with its smaller grips. “Women have smaller hands than men,” said Michaels.

Another outdoor writer who also has small mitts (me), wished every rod manufacturer were as thoughtful as Ms. Michaels.

Edited by MallacootaPete
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