|Welcome to the IMA Emailer – Spring 2010 IssueThe IMA EMAILER brings you news from IMA pro staff members across the USA and worldwide.
For most of us, it couldn’t end soon enough. Much of the country was blanketed by unreasonable amounts of snow and even where the white stuff didn’t fall waves of cold fronts and nasty weather persisted week after week after week.
But if you blinked the last time you put on your foul weather gear, you may have missed the start of the BASS Elite Series season, the traditional signal that spring is on the way. With the two-event California jaunt completed, the regular season is now one-fourth over.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows the bass scene that IMA’s Bill Lowen shot out of the gate smoking hot, with a 27th place finish at the California Delta followed by a runner-up finish at Clear Lake. Combined, those two results have him in 4th in the Angler of the Year race, in great position to make a run at the title.
“It’s pretty awesome to start off so high,” said the understated Lowen. “I’m going to keep my head down and fish my strengths.” The self-described “river rat” is looking forward to June’s shallow water slugfest on the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but before then he’ll have five opportunities to maintain or improve his standing on some of the best bass waters in the country. He’s excited about the opportunities that will bring. At Smith Mountain Lake, which the Elites are hitting a bit earlier this year than they did in 2009, the fish should be pre-spawn, which calls out for an IMA Flit jerkbait. When the tour moves south and the spawn is done, he’s counting on the IMA Skimmer to entice the big sows to bite.
Before we get into the meat of the tour season, it’s necessary to talk about what went on during the long winter. It may have been dreary for some of you at home, but we here at IMA took great pride in the excitement that’s hovering around our company.
This winter was spent building the brands image and baits at various trade shows.
“Our goal for the show season was to expand brand awareness,” said IMA USA’s Matt Paino. In order to achieve that goal, he undertook a coast-to-coast and intercontinental tour of consumer shows to explain and demonstrate what these lures can do. The IMA pro staff came along, too.
“Going to the shows is the best way to get feedback about what anglers think of our baits,” Paino added.
Paino and Randy Pringle showed off the new Big Stik and the Flit 100 at the Northern California ISE shows to great acclaim. Then Paino took off on a tour of the country, including more West Coast ISE Shows, the Fred Hall Shows, the Claremont Shows, the Richmond, Virginia extravaganza, and of course the Bassmaster Classic. In between, IMA Japan was represented at annual trade shows in Osaka and Yokohama, where pro Jun Shoji, one of Japan’s most feared anglers, showed adoring fans how to use these baits in freshwater for the first time.
Fred Roumbanis, whose IMA-wrapped Triton is the company’s rolling billboard, was excited that the economy seems to have picked up.
“I feel like it’s starting to move,” Roumbanis said. “Now instead of guys buying one bait we’re seeing them buy multiples. But what’ll really break it open for IMA is when somebody wins a big tournament on one. Then guys won’t just want to buy them…they’ll have to buy them!”
Like Lowen , Roumbanis believes that the Flit jerkbaits and the IMA Shaker should be deadly as the water remains colder than it’s been in recent springs. But he, like Pringle, can’t wait until it gets to Big Stik season.
“It should happen at Clarks Hill,” he said. “The pencil popper is huge in the Carolinas and Georgia, but I don’t think the fish have seen or heard anything like this. I’ve always had good success there and now it should be even better.”
IMA is proud to announce that our Elite Series pro staff has been bolstered by the addition of Mark Tyler. Mark, you may remember, holds the record for the largest bass ever caught in BASS competition, a 14-pound plus brute from the California Delta, but he’s experienced success all over the country.
“I was introduced to IMA through my relationship with Optimum Baits,” he explained. “I’m a west coast guy. Gradually, Matt (Paino) introduced me to the IMA lineup. He’d give me one here and there and as I began to use them and develop confidence in them, it seemed like a natural fit.”
“The first bait he gave me was the IMA Skimmer,” Tyler continued. “I was going to Oneida to fish for those schooling smallmouths and I was looking for a topwater walking bait with a slimmer profile. That’s typical of several of the IMA baits, not just the Skimmer but the Flit, too. They’re slimmer and more natural, which makes them appealing in clear water situations, at places like Clarks Hill and other topwater venues. I was absolutely blown away by the Flit. It’s different than anything else on the market. It’s so easy to use.”
While he’s a native of the west, Tyler now calls Vian, Oklahoma home, and that means he, like Lowen, is chomping at the bit to get to the Oklahoma River, which sits only 10 minutes from his house. Accordingly, he’s putting in tons of river hours prior to the water going off limits.
“I’m diligently working to try to make the Arkansas River event an advantage,” he said. “There’s no doubt I’m excited about it. I love fishing rivers and it’ll be the first Elite Series event where I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed at night.”
Even three months prior to the tournament, one lure that Tyler is certain he’ll have on his deck at Muskogee is the IMA Shaker. “That river is a square-bill throwing machine,” he said. “I’m really impressed with the action of that lure and the way it deflects off cover. Also, it’s easy to cast. A lot of other flat-sided crankbaits are tough to throw but with the weight transfer system this one is easy.”
While Tyler is looking down the line a bit, he’s also focused on the next event, at Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake. He’s had two of his best Elite Series finishes there, 13th in 2007 and 17th last year. In the meantime, he was coy about whether he and the IMA engineers are working on any signature series lures for the future, but stay tuned – you’ll hear about any developments here first.
In the meantime, if you’re having success with IMA products, tell a friend about them. Our dealer network is expanding rapidly, but if your local shop doesn’t carry them, ask for them by name. And be sure to look out for our stylish IMA apparel, also available wherever high-end tackle is sold.
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