With well over a year of experience with the IMA Beast Hunter under his belt, Oklahoma pro Fred Roumbanis has learned the intricacies of getting the most out of this very special diving lure. He knows how to vary his line size to attain the ideal depth and wobble for a given situation: Twelve pound P-Line fluorocarbon gets the nod most often, but when he needs more depth he’ll drop down to 10. If he’s grinding through shallow shell beds, he’ll upsize to 15.
Does he worry about using 10-pound line, the same strength many anglers use for finesse techniques, around big bass?
“When you’re cranking, you can take your time and fight them,” he replied. “I haven’t broken one off yet. You’re using a slightly softer rod to crank, so you can really take your time with them.”
The second step to maximizing depth is an ultra-long cast, and he’s developed a 7’11” “Launcher” for iRods that gets the job done. “You can launch it a mile,” he said. Unlike some anglers who favor a gear ratio in the 5:1 range for deep cranking, Roumbanis prefers a 6.5:1 Ardent Edge. “I like to get it going down real quick, and with a 5:1 you can’t always keep up with them. Also, even with the faster reel there are still some times when they want it reeled as fast as you can.”
The key to the Beast Hunter is its unique deflection qualities. In water in the 8 to 10 foot range, Roumbanis knows he’ll be making consistent contact, even with heavier line (he says he can get it close to 16 feet on 10 pound fluorocarbon).
“Once you hit bottom, stop and sweep your rod like you’re Carolina rigging,” he said. “Sweep it and really slow it down. That’s what triggers the bites. It has the best deflection quality of any crankbait I’ve ever thrown. It works like a deep-diving squarebill.
One other tip that’ll help if you need out a little extra depth: affix a small Reins tungsten bell sinker to the front split ring. “It probably weighs about a quarter ounce but it’ll get you nearly 5 feet extra,” Roumbanis said.