|Welcome to the IMA Emailer – February 2011 Issue
The IMA EMAILER brings you news from IMA pro staff members across the USA and worldwide.
Depending on where in the country you live, February may be the start of something big, or it may be the cruelest month of the year. In Florida and Texas, the spawn may be full swing, but in the wintry northern climes there’s still time left to organize tackle and do your long-avoided chores around the house. At least the people in Green Bay and Pittsburgh have the Super Bowl to cheer them up for a while, but if you live in Maine, Minnesota or Montana and you live for bass fishing, there’s still time to kill.
But don’t give up hope! Good things come to those who wait. We’re here to get you excited about the upcoming season regardless of whether you’ve already flung a few 8-pounders over the rail or whether your boat is still winterized. IMA stands for imagination and we want you to start imagining just how good the 2011 season is going to be for all of us.
February may be the shortest month on the calendar, but for Bill Lowen it’s going to be jam-packed with excitement, most of it in the latter half of the 28 days. He’s already picked up his new boat, purchased new jerseys and hats and gotten his tackle orders in, but when the fishing world turns its focus on New Orleans on February 18th, there will be a double-beam super-bright spotlight on the young and talented Ohio pro.
What’s New Orleans, you ask? Where have you been? It’s the Bassmaster Classic, and it’s being held for the fourth time in the greatest party city on earth. As they say down there, let the good times roll! Along with a little ol’ fishing tournament, there will be a tackle expo that rivals anything this side of ICAST. Of course IMA will be there and we’ll be debuting the Square Bill, a shallow-diving crankbait that is the joint brainchild of Lowen and IMA’s engineers in Japan.
The Square Bill combines the “hunting” action of the handmade baits Bill fished growing up on the Ohio River with the durability of plastic. It goes shallower than most of our competitors’ baits, the better to fulfill Lowen’s ultra-shallow style.
Many pundits say that this Classic will be won flipping or with a spinnerbait and Bill loves both techniques. Last year at Clear Lake Lowen showed that he’s deadly with a vibrating jig, too, finishing second overall after literally wearing out his arms (and several baits) over the course of four days. That presentation could come into play in New Orleans as well, but he said that anyone who discounts the role of hard baits in New Orleans may be in for a rude awakening.
“Without a doubt they’re going to be in my gameplan,” he said. “It just depends on where in the spawn we are. That’ll determine whether the Square Bill plays a role. It could also involve a rattlebait like the IMA Rock N Vibe over the grass flats or even the Roumba if they’re further along.”
ima’ Line of baits will be found on the deck of Classic Qualifier Bill Lowen
The nice thing about the shallow-diving Square Bill is that it does better in grassy environs than most of the competition. If it’s getting down a little too deep, Bill will just upsize his line to 15 or even 20 pound test. The crankbait will maintain its hunting action, but it won’t grind down as deep into the greenery.
Here’s hoping for a big performance from Bill in New Orleans. If you’re there, cheer him on from the stands and be sure to stop by our booth to check out the Square Bill. If you can’t make it to the Big Easy, be sure to ask your favorite online or bricks and mortar retailer when they will have the Square Bill in stock. Don’t delay – once they’re in, the pegs will empty as quickly as they can fill them.
IMA Pro Fred Roumbanis can’t decide whether he wants to be a professional bass fisherman or a long-haul truck driver – or both. A few years back he moved from California to Oklahoma to build a family and cut down on his driving time, but this year the odometer on his tow vehicle is going to get a serious workout.
In addition to the eight regular season Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments (plus the possibility of two post-season events, should he qualify), Fred is fishing all four FLW Tour Opens, the three BASS Northern Opens and the PAA Tournament Series. In the understatement of the year, he said “it’s a pretty full schedule.”
We caught up with him as he drove to Florida’s Lake Okeechobee for the first FLW Tour Open and he could barely contain his enthusiasm. “I haven’t been this excited to go fishing in a long time,” he said. “It’s been a long break and I’ve done a lot of fun fishing, but I’m ready to get back and do what I love, and that’s compete in tournaments.”
He did have a chance to experiment with the Square Bill and the results were auspicious right from the start. “The first day I got it, I walked down to the pond in my backyard,” he recalled. “It’s a pretty well-stocked pond, so take this for what it is, but I cast it out, pulled it up to a little grass limb, let it hover at the edge and the first time it floated up there was a huge swirl. She missed it, but I cast right back and the second time she nailed it, a solid 4-pounder.”
“It’s really an awesome crankbait,” he continued. “It’s super-buoyant and is surprisingly good in grass. That’s what I look for in a square bill crankbait, the buoyancy factor, how well it deflects and how easily it comes through cover like laydowns and stumps.”
(Fred spent his off season fine tuning his skills with the Flit 120, suspending jerkbait)
Looking down the eight-event Elite Series schedule in particular, Fred was excited to report that it “sets up for a shallow bite” almost beginning to end. “Pickwick and Wheeler will be excellent for the Square Bill. It’ll be deadly at Toledo Bend and it works year-round on the Arkansas River.”
He’s also extremely excited to head back to Lake Murray in May. The last time the Elites went there he shocked the fishing world by ignoring the downlake blueback herring bite and fishing a frog way up the river. The result was a $100,000 victory. No matter where they go, though, if you look at his boat deck you’ll likely see an iRod 7′ Rip Rap Special paired with an Ardent 5:1 XS1000 baitcasting reel. It’ll be spooled with 15 to 20 pound test P-Line copoplymer and at the end will be an IMA Square Bill, ready for the dominant shallow water bite.
We also caught up with legendary Northern California guide and fishing instructor Randy Pringle, who is prepared for a busy season on Clear Lake and the Delta. He said the weather patterns the region has experienced thus far in late 2010 and early 2011 set up perfectly for an unbelievable early crankbait bite.
“These fish haven’t been able to eat,” he said. “They’re wanting to eat, and when the water temperatures get right they’re all going to go nuts and a shallow-running crankbait like the IMA Shaker or the Square Bill. Once those temperatures get into the mid 50s, it’ll be dynamite.”
In between seminars and preparation to run a tournament circuit, Pringle has had plenty of time to experiment with the new Square Bill. He called it “the next evolution of the crankbait, with a perfect action and high-end components. No matter where you fish it, it’s best any time you need a deflection-style bait. That could mean weeds, trees or stumps, but if you’re not bumping things or ticking things, you’re not letting the bait do its job.”
Pringle added that it’s an ideal bait for his guide service. It’s not quite as easy as “cast, wind, unhook,” but that’s not far from the truth. “If you’ve done your homework and put the pieces together, it’s a great bait for guide clients who are beginners,” he said. “Once you get that down, you hand them the right rod, with the right line, tell them how fast to retrieve and it’s quite easy.”
While the Square Bill comes in nine dynamic color patterns, Pringle encourages his guide clients to think simply about color. “What you really need are something that imitates a crawdad, something that imitates a shad and something that imitates a perch,” he explained. “After that is when water clarity enters the equation. If the water is a little bit dirtier, use something with chartreuse. If it’s clearer, stick with red and something in a shad pattern.”
Come see us at the Classic, where you can pick up the Square Bills
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`ve just added the ima hoodies to the lineup so pick yours up online. http://store.optimumbaits.com/products/category/15220.127.116.11.7618.104.22.168.0
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. (We know that December was cold and that there were a few Holidays mixed in but we have a hard time believing that nobody caught a fish on ima)
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