Welcome to the IMA Emailer — September 2011 Issue
The IMA EMAILER brings you news from IMA pro staff members across the USA and worldwide.
While the calendar tells us that the official end of summer is still a few weeks away, Labor Day, the unofficial conclusion of the season, is upon us. It may be every bit as hot where you live as it was a month ago, or you may be starting to see the first little hints of fall. Kids are going back to school, wardrobes are changing and you might even want to dig a jacket out of the closet.
If you can figure out how the bass are transitioning in your neck of the woods, you can hit on one of the best bites of the year.
Here at IMA, we’re big fans of change, as evidenced by our awesome showing at ICAST 2011, last month’s version of the industry’s biggest annual trade show. We introduced two totally new lures as well as several new colors in some established products. The result was that we occasionally had to wipe the drool off of our display cases. Buyers, pros and media alike were desperate to get a close-up look of what the best fishing minds of Japan and the US combined to produce.
(The ima booth was a hot spot to be at during July’s ICAST Show.)
As long as we’re talking about “new,” we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of IMA’s national pro-staff, Kurt Dove. The Virginia native fished the Bassmaster Elite Series for a few years and became acquainted with the IMA lineup through pros like Bill Lowen and Fred Roumbanis. He’s also a dedicated fan of our sister company, Optimum Swimbaits.
Searching for a way to maximize his talents, Kurt picked up stakes from Virginia and moved to Del Rio, Texas in time for the start of 2008. He’s quickly established a tremendous guide service on Lake Amistad and is the big border pond’s most enthusiastic cheerleader.
“I fell in love with the place,” he said. “It’s just so multifaceted — with grass, and clear water, you can catch them shallow and you can catch them deep. And that’s right; you do a lot of catching. You just get bit a lot.”
“It’s a great jerkbait lake,” he continued. “I fell in love with how the Flit 120 produced in the clear water and started playing with the IMA and Optimum lineups. The Rock N’ Vibe is great for schooling fish and it’s particularly good for guiding. It’s easy to throw and it has a different rattle than any other lipless crankbait on the market. I also love to fish the Roumba over the hydrilla in the summertime.”
(Kurt shows off a healthy bass he caught on the Flit 120 at Lake Amistad this spring)
The bait that excites him the most, though, is the new Beast Hunter deep diving crankbait.
“We have a deep cranking bite in the hydrilla as soon as it starts to break up,” he stated. “It starts soon and should continue right through into December. The Beast Hunter is an awesome all around crankbait and a key part of the IMA puzzle.”
While Dove dotes on shad patterns in Amistad’s clear water, he also said a bluegill or citrus shad pattern can be deadly. While Amistad is known for its tilapia population, the most common things Dove finds in his livewell at the end of his tournament days are bluegills, so that’s what he tries to mimic most frequently.
If you’d like to book a trip on world-famous Lake Amistad with one of the friendliest and best teaching guides in the business, check out Kurt’s website at www.swtexasbassguide.com.
FLW Tour pro Michael Murphy is another big fan of the Beast Hunter. In his years on tour, he’s searched for a crankbait that can dominate the 10 to 13 foot range where so many big fish live for a large portion of the year. He’s found it in our new crank, which is designed to come through grass without a hitch.
The crankbait’s key attribute is that instead of having a weight-transfer system like many other lures in its class, it incorporates a fixed weight inside an thicker sidewalls (a full 2.0mm) which distributes the weight evenly throughout the body.
“Jun (Shoji) worked on it for two years,” Murphy said. “He made it so it doesn’t have to have the same sort of weights as other deep divers. That allows it to tuck and roll. Rather than operating on a ‘pivot,’ it rolls like a good swimbait. That provides a more erratic action.”
(Jun Shoji and Fred Roumbanis talk about the Beast Hunter and its traits for the cameras.)
“Every fish I’ve caught on it has had the bait deep in its mouth,” he said. “They just annihilate it.” He’s used it on TVA largemouths and Erie smallmouths. The only problem he had at the latter lake was that the walleyes also seem to like it. Mr. Murphy ended up with a couple of dinners’ worth of fillets thanks to his new favorite bait. He’s still learning how much it has to offer, he added, and while it catches fish right out of the package he said “it’ll take a good year to fully understand what it can do.”
While he’s used every color that IMA produces in the Beast Hunter, so far his favorite is the multi-dimensional “Fred’s Perch.” He said the largemouths think it’s a bluegill, the walleye probably think it’s a perch and to the smallmouths it can emulate a goby.
“That one crankbait will produce fish practically year-round unless there’s ice on the lake,” he concluded.
(The Brand new items from ima Lures include: Silent Big Stik, Beast Hunter, Foxy Fry)
Murphy put his money where his mouth is at last week’s BASS Northern Open on Lake Erie, finishing 3rd among a stout field of Great Lakes hotshots and national touring pros. While the old “Erie tube drag” and a dropshot were part of his arsenal, when the bite got toughest he wielded the Fred’s Perch Beast Hunter to top off his three limits that averaged over 20 pounds apiece. With only one tournament left to go, he sits in 8th place overall in the Open points standings.
If you think Michael Murphy loves the Fred’s Perch Beast Hunter, how do you think Fred Roumbanis is feeling about now? He’s the US pro with the longest track record with this deep diver and he’s still amazed every day by how good it is. “That’s my go-to color,” he said. “And the Beast Hunter just has the most wicked bounce-back action when you deflect it off cover and then kill it.”
(The Lake Erie Smallmouth could not resist the new ima Beast Hunter. Give them a try on your local bass the next time out.)
He liked the color so much that he insisted we bring it out in his namesake Roumba, too. “I just have a lot of confidence in that color in any hard bait I throw,” he said. But we didn’t stop there. There are two other new shades in the Roumba, one light and one dark. Both are made of one piece of ABS plastic and feature a one-knocker instead of multiple rattles.
“I like the one-knocker baits because you can walk them like a big topwater or a frog without any modifications and on each side-to-side movement it makes that sound that allows fish to really target them easily,” he explained. “Especially when they’re schooling, they really seem to like that pitch.”
Rattlin’ Roumba — 174 Black Bass
Rattlin’ Roumba — 175 Fred’s Perch
The light-colored version is Bone, which Fred says imitates just about any injured baitfish. When their first layer of scales are knocked away, bluegills, crappie, shad and most other prey have an underlayer that is bone-colored. That makes it especially good for fish in a feeding frenzy with lots of food options to choose from — between the color and the single knocking noisemaker, this Roumba is an easy target.
The other new pattern, our “dark horse,” is called Black Bass and as the name indicates it’s primarily black with ridges of blue markings down the side.
“You can’t go wrong with black just about anywhere,” Fred said. “It’s especially good when you want the bait to be a little less intimidating. The silhouette makes the overall profile look smaller.”
He likes the blue markings because they make the lure look like a black and blue jig, his go-to color when swimming a jig around water willow. The Roumba’s wide wobble makes it remarkably snag-resistant around vegetation and unlike a jig it has sticky sharp trebles that’ll pin down a slashing bass.
Veteran California guide and bass instructor Randy Pringle likes the Beast Hunter and the Roumba, too, but the two new IMA products that have him most excited come from opposite ends of the size spectrum.
The first is the new Silent Big Stik, a non-rattling version of the big topwater that IMA brought out last year. It may look striper-sized, but big largemouths smoke it, too. When the fish are fattening up for the fall run but there’s no wind and clear water, he finds that the silent version produces more strikes.
“Those are the times you want to get subtle,” he said. “It’s very important to act the same way as the baitfish act under those conditions and that means less noise.”
Given the fact that he fishing it in clear water, he prefers more subtle colors, too. Three favorites are the Ghost Rainbow, Ghost Ayu and Bone.
But if you think Randy only gets excited when he’s fishing the heavy hardware, think again. The other lure that has him jacked to be on the water is the new Foxy Fry, a 3/16 ounce bundle of dynamite that’s half crankbait, half jerkbait, all fish-catching machine.
(NOTE — The Foxy Fry does not come with a split ring in the nose. Use a size 1 or 2 cross snap for best results)
“It’s a little bitty thing,” Pringle said. “But it’s going to be a killer because every body of water has baitfish that size — every frog pond, every lake, even the Delta.” In fact, it’s a perfect guiding tool on the Delta right now. “If I were to have my clients throw it all day, we’d probably catch 150 fish on it. They probably wouldn’t be big, but we’d get bites all day, and it’s only going to get better as the temperatures start to drop.
Again, he prefers it in natural hues like Chartreuse Shad, Ghost Minnow, Ghost Ayu and Pro Blue.
It’ll continue to be deadly throughout the winter and through the pre-spawn, so you can bet he’ll have a spinning rod with 6- or 8-pound test line on the deck of his boat until the fish go up to spawn.
Bassmaster Classic qualifier Bill Lowen has spent the summer at home in the Midwest, where river tournaments are TOUGH. He’s fishing every Tuesday and Wednesday nighter he can, along with any other local derbies that cross his path.
He knows of a recent BFL on the Ohio River where it took 5 pounds to win and just over 2 pounds to get a check. In circumstances like that, a single extra bite can put money in your pocket and while he thinks his signature Square Bill is the best shallow diving crank on the market, he believes that IMA made it even more deadly this year with the addition of three new color patterns — Silver Lining, Foiled Bluegill and Lowen’s Hush Hush.
The first and the third of that trio are “colors I’ve used forever,” he said. “I was raised on homemade crankbaits and those are good on any body shape.”
The Hush Hush is a gaudy bluegill imitator, with chartreuse sides, while the Foiled Bluegill provides a little more flash as a result of its foiled sides. The Silver lining, silver sides with a black back, is a “must have” when the fish are gorging on shad. With those three, he could feel pretty comfortable on almost any body of water this time of year.
That confidence is born out of being raised fishing tough Ohio fisheries. “It just makes you better,” he said of the stingy waterways. “You never get discouraged. I’m used to fishing for 6 or 7 bites a day so when you go to Guntersville and you’re getting 30 or 40 bites a day and other guys are saying it’s slow, that’s like heaven to me.”
No matter which color or colors of the Square Bill you choose, Lowen said the key is to burn it. SO many guys try to “worm” a crankbait slowly under tough conditions, but Lowen likes to burn it, crash it into cover, and then kill it. That’s when the big bites come, whether you’re fishing for 40 bites or for 5.
In addition to using IMA products at the end of your line, you can now wear the company logo proudly. After numerous requests from educated anglers, we’re bringing IMA apparel to a tackle dealer near you.
We have short and long sleeve shirts available in both white and navy blue, boat towels and beanies, along with baseball hats. As with IMA hard baits, they’re only the finest quality and will make a splash at your next bass tournament or out on the town.
Show Us Your Catches!
As always, we’d love to hear about the bass that IMA lures produce for you, whether on your home body of water or on the trip of a lifetime. Please send pictures of your fish, preferably with an IMA bait in its mouth, and a short description of what made the catch memorable.
Each month we’ll pick one winner who will get to choose the apparel item of his or her choice as a thank you for supporting and using IMA products.
(A customer sent in their ima Square Bill being choked on by a lunker bass)