Each summer, the fishing industry gathers in Orlando to marvel at the creativity and engineering behind new and emerging products designed to help us catch more fish. While we didn’t assemble in-person this year due to COVID-19, the industry nevertheless revealed a dazzling array of rods, reels, and line that will help anglers catch more and bigger bass. Here are some of the standouts that deserve a place in your arsenal:

Rods:

Shimano introduced a new lineup of Zodias rods with added sensitivity from their Carbon Monocoque grips and light, rigid CI4 reel seats. The new Zodias series includes 9 casting rods and 8 spinning rods in the key lengths, powers and actions for today’s popular bass fishing techniques – each priced to make a high level of performance accessible to most avid bass anglers.

What makes them different:

Shimano’s hollow Carbon Monocoque grip transfers even the smallest vibrations from underwater structure, lure action or bites to an angler’s hand. “When combined with our lightweight carbon-infused CI4+ reel seat, anglers are offered up to 30% more sensitivity over traditional rod handles,” said Adam Diehl with Shimano’s product development team. “Add that sensitivity to the benefits of reduced rod twist from our Hi-Power blanks for better fish-fishing control, and Zodias provides the tool needed to target your personal best every cast.” Zodias rods blanks feature Hi-Power X construction, eliminating blank twist for both better casting distance and accuracy. Hi-Power X is a unique process to support the lightweight blanks, with carbon tape added in a 45o ‘X’ pattern on the outside of the blank. The tape process provides torsional rigidity to keep the blank from twisting during the cast, providing increased distance and a more accurate lure presentation.

What to look for:

Each Zodias rod is designed for a specific application. Shimano added to two new lengths to the Zodias lineup including ZDC-70MH 7’ medium-heavy power casting rod for bottom contact presentations and all-around use, and the 7’6” ZDS-76ML spinning rod for drop-shot rigs, hair jigs and small swimbaits for smallmouth. The heavy power, 7’5” ZDS175H is ideal for braided-line applications, especially when making long casts into grass. Look for Zodias rods at your favorite dealer in August 2020, with MSRP $200-$220.

Reels:

The new Shimano Vanford spinning reel was a show-stealer at the virtual ICAST 2020 event, and garnered industry recognition as the best new freshwater reel to be introduced this year. Constructed with premium technologies, the Vanford lineup offers seven sizes for ultralight and ice-fishing, panfish, trout, bass and walleye, as well as inshore action for redfish, sea trout, stripers, bluefish and smaller tarpon and tuna.

What makes them different:

Within the full series of Vanford reels, Shimano complements its cold-forged HAGANE Gear with the MGL rotor to improve performance from its lighter weight and easier rotor rotation start-up – up to 48% less rotational inertia for quick response when needed. Through Shimano’s MicroModule II gear system, the gear teeth are designed to the ideal shape to reduce vibration and noise, providing a smoother performing reel. In many freshwater and saltwater situations, anglers will make use of Shimano’s Long Stroke Spool to increase casting distance and allowing their baits to quickly cover more water when needed.

What to look for:

Bass anglers will typically select the Vanford 2500HG or C3000XG, both weigh-in at 6.3-ounces and offering up to 20 pounds of max drag pressure. With more ‘finesse-use’ felt drag washers, the 2500HG holds 145 yards of 15-pound braid – or 140 yards of 8-pound mono and retrieves 35-inches of line per turn. With its 2500 size body, larger spool capacity, plus more saltwater-appropriate carbon drag washer, the Vanford C3000XG offers a faster 6.4:1 gear ratio to retrieve in 37-inches of line per turn. It handles 140 yards of 20-pound braid or 170 yards of 8-pound mono. Look for Vanford to arrive at dealers in August 2020, with MSRP $230-$240.

Line:

Bass anglers will love the new Gold Label 100% fluorocarbon leader from Seaguar. This leader is thinner and stronger, with less memory and stretch than any other fluorocarbon on the market, plus excellent abrasion resistance and near invisibility beneath the surface.

What makes it different:

Gold Label is a 100% fluorocarbon leader manufactured using a dual extrusion process which unites a strong, sensitive core with a soft, supple exterior – a groundbreaking, proprietary line manufacturing technique that is exclusive to Seaguar. The result is a double-structure fluorocarbon leader that exhibits the beneficial attributes of each of its two resins. With line diameters as much as 18% smaller than other Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders, Gold Label is the thinnest fluorocarbon leader available and is perfect for stealthy presentations. The exceptional tensile and knot strength you’ll experience with Gold Label – as much as 17% stronger than other Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders – means fewer heartbreaks after the strike.

What to look for:

Also, with a refractive index that closely matches that of water, Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon leaders virtually disappear beneath the surface, ensuring that fish see your bait without detecting your line. In addition, because Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders offer enhanced abrasion resistance compared to monofilament, you’ll experience fewer line failures from battling giant bass around rocks, docks, and timber. Twenty five-yard spools of Seaguar Gold Label will be available soon in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12 lb. test with MSRP $17-$19.