Let the trolling motor wars begin!

At least that’s the takeaway from this year’s ICAST, the country’s largest annual fishing trades show, in Orlando earlier this month.

Ever seen a trolling motor with a 96-inch-long shaft?

Rhodan Marine has one, a 36-volt model capable of delivering 120 pound of thrust. Rhodan’s custom models with shafts in mostly six-inch increments from 36 inches long to the 96-inch job. The long-shaft models are designed for offshore boats, both V-hulls and catamarans.

This trolling motor “thing” didn’t stop there.

In the past, fishermen using trolling motors basically had two choices, Minn Kota and Motor Guide.

As of mid-July’s ICAST, welcome Lowrance and Garmin into the mix, along with newly designed Motor Guides and Minn Kotas.

All these new units are equipped for pairing with GPS/depth finder units and are variations off Minn Kota’s I-Pilot system that allowed trolling motors to maintain speed, follow a lake map’s contours and an “anchor” system, which, when activated, powered the trolling motor to remain within five meters of the anchor site.

There’s a hi-tech look to these new models. The head is much larger, and most are operated from a remote control unit fishermen wear around their necks.

And, there’s a hi-tech price. The units on display ran from $2,600 to $3,100.

Louisiana’s presence

Of course, most of the south Louisiana folks were chased from the aisle-after-aisle array of all things fishing — and I mean ALL things (even some you wouldn’t believe relates to wetting a line) — with the warnings of then tropical storm Barry. Some left the Tuesday-through-Friday show a day early to help family prepare for the storm.

There’s always a strong Louisiana presence at ICAST, and those veterans welcomed two newcomers — two promising newcomers, both from the Capital City area.

In the coming weeks, you’re going to learn more about RodRail and Buzbe.

RodRail is the brainchild of Brian Canova. Gaines Garrett pitched in, and Marc Couvillion came aboard with some business help to get south Louisiana’s Kysek involved in the manufacturing and distribution of a new design in rod-and-reel storage.

Buzbe is Caleb Sutton’s innovative tackle storage system, and “innovative” is the operative word. His new tackle tray is like nothing on the market today.

Both products caught the eyes of big box-store buyers.

If you want a sneak preview of either or both, go to their websites: rodrail.com and Buzbe.com.

Good weekend

The thousands of anglers headed out to compete in the Grand Isle Tarpon and the Faux Pas rodeos through Saturday will be blessed with near ideal conditions similar to the flat seas fishermen found for what turned out to be highly productive the Fourth of July saltwater rodeos.

The west and north winds blowing in earlier in the week with the passage of the season’s first “cold” front, were predicted to shift to the east at 10-15 knots with 1-2 foot seas.

It’s Friday’s 5-10 knot southeast winds and seas less than one foot, and Saturday’s 5-10 knot south winds that should mean lots of work for weighmasters at both rodeos.

Nearshore and inshore fishermen should get some help from the north winds early on, but when the southerly winds begin to blow, inshore guys heading for those less-than-27 inch redfish — and they push the limit to that measurement — could have a problem with southerly winds pushing water levels up in the mornings.

Redfish in the marshes like a falling tide and moving water, and come Friday all that could be over, or if the water moves on the falling tide, even a light southerly wind tends to hold water in the marches.

The south winds should help the nearshore folks: bait gets pushed harder into the surf along the barrier islands and the predator fish follow.

The IFA Redfish and Kayak tours will be in Theriot at Falgout Canal this weekend for the second and final 2019 Louisiana Division event, and they could face the possibility of having to cover more water than usual for a south Louisiana tournament just because of the conditions.

What’s more, there’s a “but” here: it’s the midsummer run on Spanish mackerel, those hard-charging pains in the neck with the sharp teeth that bite through most any monofilament leader and line.

Reports earlier in the week included a note about how many artificial and live bait rigs were lost to these toothy critters.

Otherwise, it looks like the offshore gangs will have a field day on red and mangrove snappers.

And there’s a reminder the recreational amberjack season will open Aug. 1.