Here is the wrap-up of my ICAST experience. I'll break it down into a couple of different posts.
This year, I participated in the ICAST Cup bass tournament for charity. If you aren't familiar with the ICAST Cup, a company sponsor's a team consisting of a professional angler paired with a guest and member of the media. All proceeds from the tournament go towards the America Sportfishing Association. This year, I think over $18,000 was raised. The 4-hour tournament is strictly for bragging rights and a trophy. The tournament is run by Major League Fishing and had a televised weigh-in which was pretty cool.
This year, I hit the jackpot and was paired with Shaw Grigsby for Team Lew's! Our guest was John who was a dealer from SC and I was the media member. I decided to leave my arsenal of Daiwa reels at home because I would be fishing for Team Lew's! LOL. Shaw said that he would provide all of the tackle and equipment!
During the tournament, we had a blast. From the minute that I met Shaw until the weigh-in, Shaw told one story after another and was laughing the entire time. He really is a great guy and what you see on TV is the real Shaw. I thought it was funny that he couldn't get out of teaching mode throughout the day. As an example, I needed to re-rig a worm and Shaw wouldn't let me do it myself. Just as on his TV show, Shaw put on a tutorial about how to Texas Rig a worm. He really is an excellent communicator, and we had a ton of technical fishing questions for him throughout the day.
As far as the fishing, we caught a limit for 7 lbs 1 oz. Shaw didn't practice for the event so he kind of winged it and we just went fishing. We caught fish on a bladed jig and speed worm. It was pretty cool watching Shaw's enthusiasm for catching the smallest fish. He really still has a great time catching bass whether he is competing or not.
Shaw had all of the new Lews signature series of rods that were being debuted at ICAST. I was really impressed with the rods and my favorite was the Andy Montgomery Thunder Cricket (bladed jig) rod. It felt really good and loaded up really well when a fish hit it. I caught a ton of chain pickerel with it to get a really good feel for the rod. The price point is going to be around the $179 mark for the rod. I also used the worm rod but forgot which model it was. It was really nice and felt great as well.
All in all, I had a blast fishing with Shaw. He was a blast. Even though we came in 28th place out of 50 boats, we had a great time anyway. It took 25 lbs to win, which is really impressive for a 4-hour tournament.
Next up, will be the actual ICAST show. I hope that you will enjoy reading about my experiences.