As read on TackleTour.com
Total Score: 8.75 – EDITOR’S CHOICE!
Introduction: Pencil Poppers are no secret to those in pursuit of explosive strikes from aggressive fish. They are particularly effective for species like Striped Bass and during the Fall and Winter months, you can find variations of this bait tied to the end of the line of the great majority of striper guides on the California Delta. One guide in particular, Randy Pringle, has gone through painstaking design and research of his very own pencil popper bait. Ima’s Big Stik took several years in development and was built to Pringle’s exacting specifications. Several weeks ago, we brought you an inside look (literally) of this bait during Zander’s Autopsy article. Today, we look at just how this bait performed in one of the most exciting fishing environments known to freshwater anglers, the Brazilian Amazon.
|ima Big Stik Specifications|
|Depth||0 ft (surface)|
|Hooks||2x Owner 1/0 ST-66|
Impressions: We’ve known about the Big Stik for a couple of years now and have seen it’s progression through sneak peaks provided at ICAST. We were excited to learn in 2009, that the product was finally ready and would be debuted in Ima’s 2010 product line.
Introducing ima’s Big Stik, Randy Pringle’s signature bait.
The Big Stik is just that. Measuring at a full seven inches in length and weighing just over one and a quarter ounce, it’s not your run of the mill topwater bait. In fact, while it is deemed as a multi-species bait, it is primarily targeted at larger species like striper and peacock bass.
The Big Stik is truly big measuring at 7″ and weighing 1.75 oz.
Field Tests: Did someone say peacock bass? Yes, Ima’s Big Stik is one of the baits that made the weight reducing tackle cull we had to employ while packing for the Amazon. All three of us fished this bait down there with JIP throwing it on a Lucky Craft LCMG 761HXF paired with an Abu Revo Toro HS spooled with 65lb Sufix Performance Braid, Zander throwing it on a Daiwa Zillion TDZL741XHFB paired with an Abu Revo Toro, and I primarily used my Megabass F6-72X4 paired with a Daiwa Zillion Type R spooled with 55lb Sufix Performance Braid.
My stick of choice? Megabass’s F6-72X4 Destruction.
Casting: If a long casting topwater plug is what you seek, few can compare to the long casting ease of Ima’s Big Stik. The bait has several internal bearings, but as illustrated in Zander’s autopsy report, the loose bearings are all contained within their own chambers and are there more to create noise than anything else. For casting, this bait gets its momentum from a couple of fixed bearings in its hindside. The net result is a bait that sails through the air with ease.
JIP and Zander threw this bait with the help of a Revo Toro.
Zander and JIP had plenty of line on their huge capacity Revo Toros, so they had little issue casting these baits as far as they pleased. I barely had enough line on my Zillion Type R recalling a couple occasions where I had to choke off the cast for fear of running out of line!
Certainly worked for JIP!
Retrieve: One of the easiest topwater plugs to work are the plastic injection molded version of Black Dog Bait Company’s Lunker Punker. I bring this up because the plastic Punkers have been out for a couple of years now and many people are familiar with them. Ima’s new Big Stik is just as easy to work.
The secret to the Stik’s success walking and splashing? A uniquely tapered mouth – unique for pencil poppers anyway.
Most popping baits require a good, swift, downward motion or jerk of your rod tip to get going. Pencil poppers, in general, are a more finesse type popper both in terms of the commotion they create and the action which is required to work them. The Big Stik is somewhere in between. You can work it with an easy twitching cadence of your rod tip or you can choose to really rip the bait. However you choose to work it, the bait splashes, dashes, and walks with ease.
Detailing on this bait is not overlooked.
Hookup Ratio: The Big Stik comes stock with two 1/0 Owner ST-66 trebles. Measuring seven inches in length, you’d think we’d have experienced a lot of missed strikes, but then again, when pursuing fish as large and aggressive as peacock bass in the Amazon, the relatively slow moving Big Stik is easy prey.
And neither are the construction or components – Owner ST-66s stock.
We had just as much success with largemouth. The real key is making sure the fish has the bait in its mouth before swinging to set the hook. Hard as it may be when you see that topwater strike, you really have to pause a second and be sure that you feel the fish loading up your rod, or at the very least, that your lure is underwater. If you experience either scenario, take in the slack and swing away. The Owner trebles bite back and hold on.
Some colors feature feathered rear trebles.