So when is a paddleboard a fishing boat?

When it’s made by a Florida company called Bote.

Like many innovations, the Rover was designed out of necessity. The developers liked to paddleboard, but they also liked to fish.

So they set out to invent paddleboards stable enough to fish from, yet lightweight enough to be paddled with ease. And to top it off, they designed a place to attach a small outboard motor to get from spot to spot.

The result? An award-winning hybrid paddleboard-fishing boat that is making big waves in the fishing industry.

The Rover won Overall Best of Show honors in the recent ICAST Show that previews new products, and is widely being hailed as one of the most innovative items to come along in years. It is 14 feet long and 40 inches wide, weighs 105 pounds and can handle a 6-horsepower outboard motor.

The Rover includes rod holders, a padded bucket to sit on, a grab bar, and storage space for tackle. In other words, not your ordinary paddleboard.

The basic board, with paddle and motor rack, costs about $3,500. The motor and additional accessories are not included.

But the Rover wasn’t the only product making waves as the fishing industry unveiled its 2018 new products at the ICAST Show in mid-July.

  • Lure designers have long imitated just about everything a bass eats –everything from shad to crawdads to mice to snakes. But bats? That’s a new one. Check out Savage Gear’s 3D Bat, a topwater lure made to imitate a bat that has fallen into the water and is scurrying to get to shore. The lure won ICAST’s honors for Best Freshwater Fishing Hard Bait.
  • The trend toward new lifelike topwater lures continues. Lunkerhunt introduced its new Prop Series lures that feature hollow-body soft plastic baits with an innovative prop system. The lures won honors for Best Freshwater Soft Plastic Baits.
  • For the fisherman on the go, Daiwa has come out with the Tactical Backpack. The rigid backpack features room for a stack of three tackle trays, and holders for sunglasses, pliers and two spools of line.
  • Humminbird continues to impress with its new Solix fish finder, with its largest display screen ever. It won honors in the Marine Electronic category.
  • The 13 company came up with award-winning products in two categories. Its new Fate Black fishing rod won for Best Freshwater Fishing Rod, and its Fishing Ambition combo rod and reel won for Kids’ Tackle.

Other products that caught my eye include:

  • Oh, come on. A fishing lure that retails for $125? Two thoughts: It better catch a lot of fish. And a fisherman willing to pay that much better not lose it. The Megabass Garuda is a 9-inch long segmented lure that can be used as a wake bait or a shallow-running crankbait. Its wide, powerful lip is designed to make the bait bull through timber and brush.
  • Z-Man’s HogZ is a 3-inch soft-plastic bait designed to imitate an invertebrate. It features twin tails and tentacles off the body.
  • The Rapala Rip Stop is a crankbait that dives 3 to 4 feet deep. It has a flashy, fast-ripping action that can come to an immediate stop.
  • Aqua-Vu has come out with the Micro Revolution, a small underwater camera with a reel to easily retrieve the cord.