Welcome to the IMA Emailer – May 2011 Issue
The IMA EMAILER brings you news from IMA pro staff members across the USA & worldwide.
Throughout the country, our best fisheries are all over the map when
it comes to what the bass are doing. For those of you lucky enough to
live in the warmest parts of the country, you may already have seen the
spawn come and go, but many of you are still recovering from or even
digging out from an unusually harsh winter. The fish may be spawning,
looking to spawn or they might not even be close, but we know you’re
ready to get out on the water and put them to the test. While you’ve
been organizing tackle and getting the boat water-ready, the IMA pros
have been hard at work – testing lures, strategizing and fishing
tournaments all over the country. This is the time of year when fishing
is often red hot EVERYWHERE at the same time.
IMA pro Bill Lowen started his year off by fishing the Bassmaster
Classic on the Louisiana Delta, his third Classic overall in the young
pro’s juggernaut career. While he didn’t win the Classic title – YET –
in some respects he was still the talk of New Orleans because the
Classic Expo was the site of the release of his signature IMA “Square Bill” crankbait. With the tournament winners relying primarily on square
bills, fishing fans were amazed by the IMA product’s attention to
detail and top-notch components. They’re on shelves now so be sure to
ask your local retailer about them.
Lowen started off the year with three straight Elite Series checks.
He was two for two in Florida — 34th at the Harris Chain and 35th at the
St. Johns River – and then 31st at Pickwick. “It wasn’t as good as I’d
have liked it to be,” he said, but after four events overall he finds
himself in 36th place in the Angler of the Year standings, right on the
cusp for another Classic slot.
In Florida, Lowen didn’t rely on the dominant sight bite for his
strong performances – instead he flipped a little and cranked a lot. “I
had the Square Bill tied on at both events,” he said. “My two biggest
fish on the St. Johns came on one in chartreuse with a black back.”
Fred Roumbanis, an Oklahoman by way of California, got his year
started before Lowen’s Classic appearance – and he started it off right
for the IMA crew with a 7th place finish in the FLW Open on Lake
Okeechobee. The Elite Series pro wanted to get the year rocking as soon
as possible and Florida was the perfect venue for his skills and
enthusiasm. Along the way, he set two FLW Outdoors records – the largest
Day 2 weight (34 lbs. 5 ounces) and the largest cumulative weight over
the first two days (61 lbs. 14 ounces).
Fortunately for Fred, the Elite Series started off with two more
events in the Sunshine State, which has lately become his own personal
Magic Kingdom. He got this year’s campaign started on the right foot,
with a 29th place finish on the Harris Chain followed up by a 27th on
the St. Johns River.
While much of the field sight fished at the two Elite Series events
in Florida, Fred went against the grain, flipping at the first event and
using a variety of frogs, including an Optimum Furbit, at the latter
“I prefer to sight fish but everybody knows the same areas,” he said.
“This year I decided I was just going to put my head down and fish. I
think it worked out for the first two events.”
But Fred’s strong run didn’t stop in Florida. At Pickwick he finished
34th. Then, at Toledo Bend he put together a magical four-day stretch
and earned his fourth straight check, as well as his first Sunday
appearance of the year. When the scales closed on Sunday, he’d finished
fifth overall with a total weight of 67-01. Fred is 7th overall right
now in the Angler of the Year standings, on pace not only for his 3rd
Bassmaster Classic berth, but also in position to make a serious run at
the BASS postseason and the accompanying accolades. He’s a proven closer
and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he claimed his 3rd BASS win before
this campaign closes out.
While the few anglers who finished in front of Fred at Toledo Bend
are certainly to be congratulated, Fred’s achievement was particularly
special because he caught his weight using a technique that it’s pretty
certain no one else in the field was utilizing. In fact, most if not all
of them have probably never even tried it. He was swimming a 1-ounce
Pepper football head jig, paired mostly with an Optimum Double Diamond swimbait as a trailer on offshore ledges and ridges. The big jig was
necessary to make long casts, achieve the appropriate depths and mimic
the baitfish. The swimbait tail provided the proper “kick” and the
appearance of a bluegill. One other critical element of his presentation
was the use of 15-pound P-Line fluorocarbon, which also helped him get
the bait down and earn precious bites. Watch what Fred was doing HERE.
Fred is a master of figuring out how to incorporate different line
sizes to give a particular lure it’s optimum effectiveness. As you’ll
see below, it’s something he’s very conscious of when fishing the IMA Rock N Vibe.
From early pre-spawn on through the fall, savvy bass anglers always
have a lipless crankbait tied on – it’s a lure that enables them to fish
a wide swath of the water column, resembles baitfish closely, and works
around a variety of cover types – and the one that’s making major waves
these days is the IMA Rock N Vibe. Any lipless crank can catch bass on
occasion, when conditions are just right, but this lure is a like a
multi-tool, applying the right implement to all sorts of predicaments.
“It has a small profile, but it still weighs a ton,” Lowen said.
“It’s easier to fish in high pressure situations when you have to make
long casts.” Roumbanis uses it for everything from yo-yoing to burning,
and noted that the small size makes it a numbers bait, but he’s
continually surprised at how many big fish fall for this baitfish
“Since it came out, I haven’t really thrown any other lipless baits,”
Fred said. “A lot of them are too light or you don’t feel the
vibrations, but this one you can feel it shaking like a chatterbait.”
FLW Tour pro Michael Murphy says it’s the wide range of depths that
you can fish it at that make the Rock N Vibe such a key tool in his
tournament arsenal. “Most vibrating baits are for 4 feet of water or
less, but this one has a lot more range. It provides the maximum benefit
of what a lipless crankbait does. For example, at Guntersville, when
the grass is topping out at 6 feet down instead of 4 feet, you can still
tick the bottom. I use it a lot on Lake Murray for schooling bass.”
Roumbanis agreed with Murphy’s assessment. In ultra-clear water he’ll
sometimes go down to 8 lb. fluorocarbon, which allows him to easily get
the Rock N Vibe down into 8 to 12 feet of water. Going that light isn’t
something most anglers do with a classic power fishing tactic like a
lipless crank, but Fred said if it’s necessary, that’s what he’ll do to
garner the bites he needs. Too often we all pay attention to retrieve
speed without the appropriate concern for where a particular retrieve
puts the bait in the water column.
Last year at the California Delta, Lowen used one of his favorite
Rock N Vibe techniques, fishing it like a jig. “You let it go all the
way to the bottom on grass line edges and points,” he said. “They you
hop it pretty hard off the bottom. The rod will just load up.”
Another trick is to fish it on heavy line in ultra-shallow water.
Roumbanis will use 20 lb. test P-Line CXX, which “keeps it more buoyant”
and allows him to fish in less than two feet of water with ease. “When
they hit it there, they absolutely engulf it,” he reported. In fact,
changing line sizes is Fred’s number one way of changing the performance
of a lure that he said is perfect right out of the package. When he
wants the lure shallow, big mono is key. When he wants to get deeper,
fluorocarbon gets the call. When ripping it through grass is important,
braid is his meal ticket. Fortunately, the bait has a thumping wobble
that can overcome the dulling effects of “rope-like” mono, but it isn’t
so powerful that it becomes unmanageable on thinner and lighter fluoro.
Be careful, though – on braid it’ll rattle your fillings loose.
The best retrieve may involve no trickery at all: Just cast it out
and wind it in – a little bit slower when fish are lethargic and a
little bit faster when they’re active. The vibrations, sounds and
finishes allow the bass to track the Rock N Vibe carefully and react
savagely. Again, you can adjust running depth through the use of a
particular line size or type. In fact, there may be times when you’ll
need three Rock N Vibes on the deck tied to three different lines to
maximize your effectiveness. Fortunately, if you’re that dialed in, you
probably won’t need a fourth rod with anything on it.
Chromes, Hot Craw, Natural -By covering the basic color groups, Chromes, Reds or Chartrueses, & Natural Shad patterns; the ima Rock N Vibe will produce in all bodies of water.
With all lipless cranks, it’s unfortunate but largely unavoidable
that you’re going to lose some fish. Those big sows come up, shake their
heads, and use the bait as leverage to come unbuttoned. Fortunately,
the Rock N Vibe comes with sticky-sharp Owner hooks that minimize this
problem. The pros offer other means of reducing your heartbreak. Murphy
said that even when he uses braided line, he always prefers to use some
sort of non-braid as a shock absorber, “even if it’s just a short
leader.” His other key to minimizing loss is that you don’t want to play
the fish. Get them in the boat as soon as possible. “I use a worm rod,
not a cranking rod,” he said. “You can’t give them a chance to jump or
shake their heads.”
Roumbanis uses an Irod IRC704c, a 7′ fast action rod which he says
“doesn’t rip the hook out when they engulf it, but still has the
backbone to snap the bait through grass.” Lowen uses a 7′ medium-heavy
All Pro casting rod for the same reasons.
When it comes to colors, all three use various types of chrome
patterns often. “Chrome and Chartreuse Shad are really the only two you
absolutely need,” Murphy said. “One for sunny conditions and the other
when it’s cloudy.” Given a third option, he’d choose a craw color, an
absolute staple in places like California and Texas. Roumbanis also
dotes on the Hot Craw pattern. He said Fire Tiger can be “dangerous”
when the water is a little bit stained. Under super-clear conditions, he
said the Ghost Minnow is his number one draft pick. Lowen, too, said
“chrome and reds and yellows are my top choices.”
We’ve established that the Rock N Vibe catches bass from coast to
coast in North America, but this picture should leave no doubt that it
works anywhere bass swim. This is Jun Shoji, one of Japan’s top pros and
a full-time guide on famed Lake Biwa, where a world record largemouth
was caught last year. We’ll have more information about Jun in an future
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.
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.
Last months’ winner was Loren Spaulding who caught a nice Spotted
Bass from Lake Lanier in Georgia that fell victim to the ima Flit 120 in
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. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org