Bass Fishing, Bass Lures, Bass Boats, Russ Bassdozer

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ima Lure Selections for Bass Fishing

by Russ Bassdozer

This shows and tells product photos, product descriptions and information for the lure models and colors that are (or have been) available at Not all models and colors shown are currently available, and exact specifications are subject to change.

Note: Some of the following configurations may not all be currently in stock. Some may be sold out at this time. Please check online at for current availability of specific items below. Thank you for your business.

ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait

The Rumba is a high tempo, fast-stepping and seductive dance, and that describes the overcharged action of the ima Roumba too.

It cuts a rug across the top with a high energy, non-stop display of surface sidestepping intended to excite and arouse bass to dance with it.

ima Roumba lure designer Fred Roumbanis

The Roumba has a unique, pudgy look. Once you get over its odd shape and throw it, you'll find it is very versatile.

It may be used at any retrieve speed ranging from as slow as possible, barely crawling it across the surface - to as blazingly fast as possible. It excels at any speed. However, where the Roumba breaks away from the pack and leaves the other topwaters behind is that you can work it faster most any other topwater out there. There are times that speed is the trigger, and it is tough to figure out when. There are times that even lethargic fish that won't go for anything else, they'll go for an incredibly fast speed Roumba with raw instinctive reaction strikes.

There's really no need to give the Roumba any additional rod tip action. All the wild and seductive gyrations are built right into this new style topwater. thanks to ima lure designer and bass pro Fred Roumbanis (shown above).

Due to the crankbait like bill, the Roumba has more side-to-side action on its own, just reeling the Roumba steadily, than most other topwater lures. Unlike crankbaits, the bill is not designed to make the Roumba dive. The bill really only imparts side-to-side action to the bait. It causes the Roumba to move rapidly side-to-side, so it does not need to be reeled and moved forward quickly, and there is no need to give it action with the rod tip. All the fantastic action is already built right into the Roumba for you.

  • Body length is 3 inches (75 cm) long, not counting the lip.
  • Weighs 1/2 ounce (16 gr).
  • Floats at rest.
  • Extreme wobbling action.

Hold your rod tip high for best topwater action at any retrieve speed from super slow to blazingly fast - and any speed in between.

Hold the rod tip down to get the Roumba to dip under the surface, and crank the Roumba in a little faster to get it under about 1/2 foot or a foot deep.

No matter how you use it, the Roumba is a lure you should have tied on whenever bass are belting topwaters - or even when they aren't. Sometimes the need for speed is necessary to trigger bass - but you'd never know it's there with regular lures. The Roumba is one of the few topwaters that can move fast enough to get bit then..

Replacing the tail with a feather treble (not included) improves the lure's action.

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Baby Bass

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Albino

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Gizzard Shad

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Bluegill

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Bull Frog

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Stink Bug

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Real Crawfish

Ima Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Hot Craw

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait

Model: Rattlin' Roumba
Type: Floating, Topwater Crankbait
Weight: 5/8 oz  (16g)
Body Length: 3" (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #4 Owner ST-36 Black Nickel
Depth: Topwater (rod tip up) to 12-18 inches (rod tip down)

Some of the reasons why anglers love the original non-rattling Roumba are that it's so durable, has such a simple yet solid construction, and it has one of the widest, most vigorous wobbles of any topwater crankbait. The lip is not huge- but man does this bait wobble, even better than baits with much bigger lips. Since the Roumba's lip is small, it won't gunk up with grass as badly as other big-lipped baits. The body is pretty fat, and it has broad sides, which shield the hooks from grass and debris. So it can come through thick grass surprisingly swell. It's streamlined and aerodynamic, weighs 5/8 oz, and casts incredibly far. Last but not least, it sports a great pair of hooks. Those are a few of the reasons why the original non-rattling Roumba has become something of a topwater sensation in a short time.

Now, the other, little noisier shoe has fallen - the Rattlin' Roumba is here now!

The Rattlin' Roumba is everything the original Roumba is - plus rattles. It has the same 3-inch size, the same weight, body shape, hooks, lip and best of all, the same crazy, wide wobbling action.

Everything about the original Roumba and the Rattlin' Roumba are the same, except that the Rattlin' Roumba comes in six different colors that rattle. The rattle is not excessively loud, but creates a constant alluring, fish calling chatter.

So the Rattlin’ Roumba features six unique colors, including some brighter colors that bass just can't miss in dirty water, in conjunction with the rattling noise.

Rattlin' Roumba in bold fluorescent and black gold colors for low light, thick cover, dark-colored water or at night.

Rattlin' Roumba in lighter colors for clearer water, brighter skies, sparser cover.

The original non-rattling Roumba will continue to be just as good as it ever was, particularly with spooky, wary fish, in clear water, under bright skies, out in the open, away from cover and generally wherever and whenever topwater lures are working, give the original Roumba a try.

The Rattlin' Roumba is the one to try in dark and dirty water, around thick, grassy cover where bass can't see the surface so well, under low light conditions or at night. Also, whenever rain or strong wind suddenly muddies the water, try the Rattlin' Roumba.

But most of all, remember this: We tend to want to make neat, predictable rules for when different lure colors will work or for when to use rattling lures versus non-rattling lures. Truth is, there's no one who can make those kind of predictions with any accuracy for any given day. You just need to try different colors, and try the Rattlin' Roumba versus the original Roumba. Just experiment to see if fish favor one model or color over another at any particular time or place. Often, fish may hit several different ones. Some days, it may seem as if they prefer one versus another. Only trial-and-error and a little good luck can point you in the right direction.

Fishing Techniques

Best of all, there's nothing terribly skillful you need to do with either the original Roumba or Rattlin' Roumba. You don't need to learn how to make it splash or pop, nor how to make it walk. All you need to do is simply hold the rod tip at about ten or eleven o’clock and just a steady retrieve on a medium/heavy rod will give it a vociferous, wide wobbling movement that tears up the surface. That’s what gets their attention. It literally makes a turmoil rolling on the surface. Both the original Roumba and Rattlin' Roumba act the same, except the Rattlin' Roumba generates a resonant rattling noise in addition.

A second technique, equally simple is just to hold the rod tip down toward the water's surface, and that will make the Roumba or Rattlin' Roumba swim subsurface about one foot deep.

One of the things you'll learn in the videos is that Fred Roumbanis adds several different kinds of soft baits to serve as action tails on the back of a Roumba. For example, he adds finesse worms or the tail ends of soft swimbaits. He attaches a wire corkscrew clip to the split ring above the tail treble hook, and then screws the soft bait tail onto the corkscrew so that the soft tail is independent of the treble hook. This adds greatly to the overall surface action, and embiggens the appearance of the lure, making it seem to be a bigger lure, due to the additional tail. Fred's videos show more about those modifications that you may want to try - but keep in mind that the Roumba is positively ready and waiting to catch fish for you the way it comes right out of the box!

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Sour Candy

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Blue Shad

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Ghost Minnow

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Fire Tiger

Note that the Fire Tiger color has a bright orange belly.

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~  Black Gold

Note that the Black Gold color has a bright orange belly.

ima pro-staffer, Captain Karl Bunch shows a bold color named ‘Double Cheeseburger’ for added visibility - plus rattling noise - in stained or muddy water.

ima Rattlin' Roumba ~ Topwater Crankbait ~ Double Cheeseburger

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater Walking Bait

Model: ima Skimmer
Type: Floating/Walking
Weight: 7/16 oz (13g)
Length: 4-1/4" (110mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #4 Owner St-36

The new ima Skimmer is 4-1/2 inches long and weighs 7/16 oz with two sticky-sharp premium #4 Owner trebles.

Slim Shape Appeal: The ima Skimmer is unique among hard plastic topwater stickbaits in that the Skimmer has the slender body shape of a 5" soft plastic stickbait. This slim profile has proven to be one of the most appealing bass lure shapes ever. There's a whole lot to be said simply for this slender profile and silhouette, and the Skimmer is one of the only topwater hardbaits that has it.

The ima Skimmer is hard plastic, but it helps to think of it like a soft stickbait on steroids, one that casts like an arrow, and cruises the surface like an explosive missile.

It has a lively, light action. It knifes across the surface, dancing, skating and swimming strongly like a svelte Olympic swimmer in top condition. You may want to simply get a strong, rhythmic side-to-side swimming motion going, where the Skimmer uses its entire body length to swim, sculling across the top with authority.

The Skimmer's movement is a skating, dancing, wriggling thing. When done right, it practically comes alive, and that's an action to concentrate on making - the movement and motion of the Skimmer's slender swimming body versus the splash and confusion of traditional stickbaits.

It's the strong swimming movement, not the splashing around, that's key to the Skimmer's slim shape appeal.

ima USA pro-staffer Michael Murphy says: "A lot of people put the Skimmer in the category of other walking baits. I think the Skimmer is much different. It's kind of in its own category. It looks like other walking baits, but it doesn't push water, it cuts through the water. To see the design of this bait, the body cross-section is a teardrop shape. And in fact the water will flow over its back and will create a swirl right behind it every time you jerk it, which a lot of baits won't do that. Other walking baits will push water and splash but the Skimmer is one that actually creates a swirl behind it. If you look at the Skimmer on videos or when you are first working it, you'll mistakenly think that fish are swirling at it - and that's what it does, it creates the idea, the impression that there's a fish trying to eat it. So a fish is more likely to become competitive when it thinks another fish is there (but really is not there). So it will see the surface swirl - and try to get the Skimmer before another fish gets it. That's the beauty of this bait - that boil, that swirl behind the Skimmer."

How to Bring Out the Best Action

Since the Skimmer is thinner, its action is cleaner and crisper than bulkier baits. However, a lot of hand-to-eye coordination is always required with any member of this class of surface-walking lures. There's an art to pulling these puppets to life on the end of your string. As always, practice makes perfect.

The way to work the rod will vary a little depending on the angle you cast it relative to the wind and based on the surface condition (smooth, rippled, choppy and so on). You need to vary the rod movement under different conditions based on what your eye sees in terms of lure action. In terms of where to keep your eyes, watch the head and eyes of the Skimmer.

Tune out the surface disturbance it's making. Don't even look at that. Focus in on the bait's body movements, and you're going to use what you see it doing in order to coordinate and adjust your hand movements with the rod. There's a certain sweet spot with the Skimmer that you'll recognize when you see it. The side-to-side movement suddenly isn't mechanical any more. It becomes more of a gasp or a flop or a jump to each side, and there's a certain slo-mo 'hang time' that seems to occur that visually lasts longer than it really is. Difficult to describe in writing, but you'll recognize it when you see it on the water.

ima USA pro-staffer Michael Murphy says:  "A guy could get away with the same type rod for both the ima Skimmer topwater surface walking bait and the ima Flit jerkbait. And the way to work both is with the same walking motion. Keep the rod tip below waist high and just work the rod with the short twitching downward motion to where you can get both the Skimmer and Flit to have side-to-side darting actions on every downward rod stroke - known as 'walking the dog.' The only difference is, of course, the Skimmer dances on the surface whereas the Flit dives 6-8 feet, and as the water gets colder, add more pauses to your retrieve with the Flit jerkbait. Another difference is I use 12 lb mono for the Skimmer topwater which floats. When you go to fluorocarbon, it will sink and it will disrupt the action of the Skimmer. With the Flit jerkbait, yes, you can get away with 12 lb mono too - but I am a bigger fan of 10 lb test fluorocarbon which sinks. So when I go to a jerkbait, I lean more toward fluorocarbon just because of the sinking factor that helps me to obtain that deeper range, thereby getting down there a little closer to the fish."

Wild Boiling Action

The tail-weighting is another key to the Skimmer's appeal.

If you've seen mating dragonflies in early summer and the female dipping the tip of its tail depositing egg after egg under the surface, locked in synchronous flight with the male, the graceful tail action of the Skimmer is not unlike that.

Another way to think of the stir caused by the Skimmer's tail action is to compare it to one of those flat wood paint stirrer sticks they give you with a gallon of wall paint - the tail has the same stirring effect on the surface of the water.

A large part of the Skimmer's action is caused on the ending note of each zig or zag as the tail-weighted back end of the ima Skimmer dips and stirs the water causing a large boil to swell up behind it.

Every time that the Skimmer zigs or zags left or right, the final movement is the weighted tail stirs the surface into a widening boil, and the Skimmer slips out barely ahead of the boil, just like a desperate baitfish narrowly escaping a bass's lunge. Each wide and sudden boil stirs the surface in an instinctive and universal signal of a competitive feeding situation.

Competitive Feeding Signals Call Bass in From Afar

The Skimmer's action then becomes a non-stop series of ever-widening boils emanating behind it. It's like having a school of surface-feeding bass on the scene, all taking their best shot, boiling the surface behind the ima Skimmer's tail.

If there's ever anything that gets a non-committal bass to bite, it is other bass feeding in front of it - and that's the competitive feeding cue that the Skimmer's tail-stirring movement sends out to every bass within range of sensing the surface-feeding boils trailing out behind the Skimmer.

Stir Bass Into a Frenzy of Instant Excitement

Each wide and sudden boil stirring the surface is an instinctive and universal signal of competitive feeding action that calls bass in from far and wide to take advantage of the feeding frenzy that's going on behind the Skimmer.

Getting the Hang of Up-and-Down Action

There's also what I call a 'delay hang' that can be gotten on a slow retrieve. Once you master the side-to-side movement of the Skimmer described above, then just delay so the tail hangs down in between each zig and zag. By delay, you never quite stop the action, but barely stall it long enough to get an up and down bounce (the weighted tail dips down, the nose tips up) in between each side sweep. So you get side-to-side flopping plus up-and-down bouncing with this slower speed tactic. Think of an incapacitated baitfish trying to flee forward, but instead falling back. It's another one that's hard to describe in writing, but you have the info now to practice it, and the fish will let you know (and you'll recognize it yourself) when you get the hang of this 'delay hang' tactic.

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Golden Shiner

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ American Shad

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Chartreuse Shad

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Ghost Blue Back

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Smoking Ghost Shad

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Bluegill

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Ghost Minnow

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Wounded Albino

ima Skimmer ~ Topwater ~ Black Widow

Interview with Michael Murphy on Fishing the ima Flit 120

Michael Murphy, designer of the Flit is interviewed, with a question and answer session focused on fishing the Flit 120.

Russ: To set the scene, what kind or rod, make or model do you fish with the Flit? What reel? What line?

Michael: The rod I like to use is a 6'9" stick. I stand 6'5" tall, and with the elevation of the boat bow above the water, standing on the front deck, this rod is the perfect rod for me to be able to point my rod tip straight down without dragging in the water. I believe this is critical for ease of use, to hold the rod straight down without hitting the water, but this will be different for everyone. For a shorter person, it may be a 6' rod. Overall, I like a medium/heavy action rod with some good backbone but still a good amount of tip for casting, working the lure and for playing a fish gingerly if it is barely hooked.

Russ: How do you recommend to attach your line to the Flit? Why?

Michael: Directly to the split ring. Some like to use a clip on their jerkbaits, hoping to get more action. This action is already naturally build into the Flit without having to do this. Adding a clip would most likely result in the front hook continuously catching the line. A clip is not needed. Simply tie direct to the split ring already provided on the lure. As far as knots, any type of good cinch knot goes well with fluorocarbon, except I do not like to use a Palomar with fluorocarbon since I believe it increases the chances of knot failure, and I do like to use fluorocarbon on my Flit.

Russ: How deep does the Flit dive? Are there any certain types of cover or structure or something else specific that's an ideal situation for the Flit due to its working depth?

Michael: Many jerkbaits are first designed on looks (eye appeal) and then the bill is constructed to achieve action and depth. Since the Flit is designed based on the idea of matching the hatch and to mimic the cadence of baitfish, specifically of the herring family (i.e., blueback herring, gizzard shad and threadfin), the action is already built into the Flit body. The bill is there to only achieve depth, not impart action. If you would like it to achieve its maximum depth, point your rod tip down toward the water to obtain 8 feet of depth on 8 lb fluorocarbon or 6 feet of depth on 10 lb fluorocarbon. You may change the position of your rod tip to make it run shallower. With your rod tip pointing directly up at an eleven o'clock position, you can make it walk just beneath the surface. The Flit very effective, whether used to fish deep on bluff walls or shallow just under docks.

Russ: Is there anything you can do in terms of rod, line or retrieve or any other bait adjustment that lets you reach different depths? Is there anything that can make the difference of getting the Flit a couple of feet deeper or shallower?

Michael: As mentioned above. line diameter and also line type do make a difference. The general idea using the ima Flit jerkbait is the smaller the line diameter the deeper the bait will go, simply due to less line drag. However, with the Flit, the exception to this would be at rest. Mono floats and fluoro sinks. You could use this to your advantage to behave differently or run at different depths dependent on specific situations. Again, this will vary among line brands and types. No two lines are exactly the same.

Russ: Sometimes a bait gets categorized as a smallmouth killer or a spotted bass killer, or a largemouth magnet. Do you think the Flit has a special or higher appeal to smallmouth, spotted bass or largemouth? Why or why not?

Michael: I couldn't tell you. The Flit catches all three bass species equally and all very effectively. I think you can't tag this type of reputation on the Flit, since all three species feed on members of the herring family, which makes them all equally vulnerable. I can tell you, with all three bass species there are no differences. They all eat it most excellently. If anything I would call it the "anything that swims and feeds on baitfish magnet" because it is not just with bass, but it could be redfish, pike, perch, gar, you name it. I have caught practically everything on the Flit so far.

Murphy has designed the ima Flit 120 jerkbait.

Russ: Some anglers mention having a good jerkbait bite first thing in the morning, and then have it fade out and die on them by mid-morning. Is that something you've seen about the Flit bite? Is the Flit bite similar to what some have experienced with an early morning topwater bite, that it's usually good at first light, and shuts down once the sun hits the water? Or is there anything you can do or any conditions or factors that make for a good Flit bite all day (or as long as those factors remain present)?

Michael: No. It is not like that. As the sun comes up, I start to chase shadow lines. It may be the shadow line off of a bridge, dock, trees, bluffs, etc. Seems like bass will just pull tight to these shaded areas. It is not just with jerkbaits, I would say this applies with all lures under these early morning conditions and it is merely the natural behavior of how bass act. I say this, because I would never say a topwater bite will completely shut down. Instead, it will just change. I have had some of my best topwater days on Lake Lanier over 30 feet of water on clear bluebird days catching both spotted bass and largemouth. I think the shutting down of any bite or that sudden "lock jaw" is nothing more than a myth. Strike zones and the willingness to commit may become smaller, or how fish may hold to structure may change under changing conditions. However, at the end of the day. it is all basic behavior and simply what makes the best sense for how a bass can ambush its prey. Bass are always eating, it is just a matter of how or where. I have never seen a tournament where someone did not catch something. So I am not a big believer in a bite shutting down because the fish were not eating. The bite just changes or shifts. As anglers, we may lose the bite, but it's still going on somewhere.

Russ: What would you say is the biggest error you see anglers make with jerkbaits?

Michael: Certainly it's stereotyping the technique. The belief that it is only good for spring and for post frontal situations. They (jerkbaits) are good all the time.

Russ: Overall, what action are you trying to create with a jerkbait, and with the Flit specifically? What impression are you trying to make on the bass with the Flit? Is it supposed to be an injured or disoriented baitfish - or a perfectly normal baitfish movement?

Michael: Both. You can make it look disoriented or like a normal baitfish. Whatever condition or mood the bass may be in, you can match it. The Flit can be fished with random jerk and pause techniques, or with a consistent walking side to side motion. It is based on the concept like a Zoom Fluke or other soft jerkbait, or a topwater like a Super Spook. Both the Fluke and Spook have very effective actions. Now imagine being able to do that on a bigger scale, better and where you are more easily able to catch the fish that are just slapping at it and not really willing to commit. You'll hook a good percentage of these non-committal fish with a jerkbait.

Russ: With the jerk component of the action you create, do you vary the jerk for different seasons or different reasons?

Michael: Yes, the colder or less active the fish are, the tighter the walk or the shorter the jerks I will use with a longer pause. The warmer or more active the fish are, the harder I will lay into the jerks and the more frequent and consistent I will work the lure with less pauses.

Russ: With the pause component of the action you create, do you vary the pause for different seasons or different reasons?

Michael: Yes, as mentioned above.

Russ: Which is the most important part, the jerk or the pause?

Michael: It depends on the time of the year. Both are equally important. This goes back to the previous two questions.

Russ: What other elements are there to the action? Is the reeling an important element? How fast or how far you reel, do you vary that? Any other elements to the action except the jerk, the pause, the reeling?

Michael: I typically reel a quarter to a half a turn per jerk. With this type of technique, the reel is nothing more than a tool to hold the line, and a good drag and high speed retrieve when fighting a fish.

The most important elements to working a jerkbait are the rod action and how you work the rod. In addition, your attention to details of what happens to the jerkbait on different jerks and rod angles, and tying all this together to discover what is most persuasive action to the bass on any given day.

Russ: Do you look to develop a cadence or Flit "action" for the day? That is, once you catch a few on a certain sequence of jerks and pauses, do you find all your fish going for that same sequence of jerking-pausing? Or do you catch fish on a diversity of cadences during the same day?

Michael: Absolutely a cadence or "rod action pattern" materializes many days. This goes right along with my previous answer and the paying attention to details that spell what is the fish's preference for the day or for the situation at hand.

Russ: At what point do most strikes occur? What induces the strike - the jerk, the pause, the reeling in or what?

Michael: The pause, over 90% of the time.

Russ: How would you say that jerking, pausing and reeling in a jerkbait differs from popping, pausing and reeling in a topwater popper? Is it essentially the same action for a popper and a jerkbait? If not, what are the differences between working a topwater popper and working a jerkbait (except of course you can see the popper)?

Michael: Yes, they're both pretty much the same. Especially in the aspect that there are about as many different and effective ways to work a popper as there are to work a jerkbait

Russ: What if you suddenly see a bass following the Flit as it gets near the boat (or shore)? What do you do to convert those followers into biters? How do you get them to commit and whack it? Or if they break off the chase and drift away, how do you get them to come back and strike on the next cast?

Michael: There is a technique that I discovered with the Flit, and it is the only jerkbait I have found you can do it with, because it has such tight walking action. With the right among of slack before the jerk and immediately after allowing the bait to glide, you can make the Flit literally do a 180 degree about-face. If the fish is trailing close enough and not willing to commit, you can make it bite out of mere reaction with this 180 degree turn-around maneuver. Bass don't have hands to swat, they use their mouth, and this results in a catch. This does take practice, but it is one of the absolute coolest thing you will ever experience. I did it on Lake Murray with a 5 lb 8 oz bass, it was unbelievable!! I have done it with many other fish, but the 5 lb 8 ouncer was the coolest because it followed the Flit the first cast and peeled off, and then I was able to get it to track it again and I did this 180 on it. It was so funny because it was apparent it hit out of sheer reaction to the 180 turn-around. This bass didn't even know what to expect or what happened. It just bit, but it didn't even fight. That was the down side. It was pretty lethargic. At the same time, it was pretty funny.

Russ: How come so many jerkbait bass are partially hooked on the outside of the mouth? Some have suggested that the bass is slapping the lure's tail or pushing against the lure's tail so it can turn the long jerkbait 180 and swallow it head-first. What do you think of that?

Michael: I used to have fish (two spotted bass, a largemouth, and two crappie) in an aquarium. I would feed them gold fish. If they were hungry and/or competitive, they would eat the gold fish any way they could get them down, sideways, tail first, head first, it didn't matter. As the competition abated and/or they were getting full, they were more selective and would go for the goldfish head first. However, doing this, is a little harder for them to do. So they would ambush them from the side, battering them, with scales falling off, until the prey moved slow enough and were an easy enough target for them to successfully eat head first. With jerkbaits, I believe that may be what they are doing at times, hitting the jerkbait first as to kill or stun it to make it easier to eat. In many cases they will go through this motion with their mouth closed or mostly closed as to not eat it, just incapacitate it first. With a jerkbait, the hooks may naturally end up on the outside of the mouth.

Another explanation is far simpler. A fish swims up to inspect the bait and simply noses it, much like it would nose a jig, worm, or crayfish on the bottom of the lake out of curiosity, but with a jerkbait, because of the sticky-sharp trebles and the jerking motion of how the lure is worked, the nosy fish may get stuck around its mouth or side of the fish's head, resulting in a catch. Such fish certainly are not intentionally being snagged, but depending on the particular state regulations or tournament rules, this may or may not be deemed a keepable catch.

Russ: Before we conclude our interview, Michael, are there any other points you'd like to mention about jerkbaits or fishing with  the Flit?

Michael: I think we pretty much nailed many of the most important questions. I can't think of anything else to add. Thank you for asking.

Model: ima Flit 120
Body Length: 4-3/4" inches (120 cm), not counting the lip
Weight: 1/2 ounce (15 gr.)
Depth: Floats at rest. Dives 6-8 feet. Suspends when paused. Rattling.
Hooks: #6 Owner black nickel hooks

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ American Shad

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Chartreuse Shad

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Tennessee Shad

 Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Ghost Minnow

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Brown Flash

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Blue Shad

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Matte Bluegill

Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Misty Shad

 Ima Flit 120 ~ Jerkbait ~ Silver Flash

ima Shaker ~ Flat-Sided Crankbait

ima's USA pro-staffer Bill Smith designed the ima Shaker. It is a small, flat-sided, shallow-diving crankbait with a thin computer board lip. At 2-3/4 inches long, the Shaker weighs 3/8 oz and runs 3 to 5 feet deep. With its internal weight transfer system, the Shaker let's one reach unprecedented casting distances with a crankbait of this kind.

Bill designed the ima Shaker to improve upon and replace the flat-sided balsa crankbaits that are regional favorites in his neck of the woods, the southeast USA. Smith grew up fishing balsa crankbaits for over twenty years, and he know them well. He knows what are balsa's merits as well as balsa's weaknesses.

Since the Shaker is the latest improvement upon and replacement for balsa, it is fitting to first share a few words with you about the Shaker's predecessors - balsa crankbaits. So first, here is a bit of the interesting history of balsa cranks...

A Little Background on Balsa Crankbaits

Originally, going back over forty years, the Big O is one of the first milestones. The original Big O they say was whittled by hand out of balsa wood by Fred Young of Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the late 1960's - and they say that is the start of balsa crankbaits for bass in the USA. Mr. Young was not the only one whittling balsa crankbaits in the region 40 years ago, but the Big O is the one to achieve some sort of national fame and lasting historical significance. It really only did that because it was reproduced in hard plastic during the early 1970's by Cotton Cordell and quickly sold by the millions. But my point is that as far back as 40 years ago, hand-carved balsa crankbaits were popular and prized baits across the south even then.

Other early and legendary names in balsa crankbaits include Jim Bagley, Lee Sisson and certainly Rapala. These were on the scene since the early to mid-1970's. Today, these names still have national and worldwide recognition. When it comes to balsa crankbaits, many bass anglers may be familiar with those names.

What's not so well-known outside the southeast USA region is the ongoing refinement of locally hand-crafted balsa crankbaits by lure builders across the region and states of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and parts thereabouts. This is all considered balsa crankbait country.

Especially within the last twenty years or so (since the mid-1980's), many of the locally-produced balsa crankbaits used across this region have been refined to a fine art. This is woodworking and furniture-manufacturing country, where whittling's a pastime and a handful of guys here have the modern toolshops and wherewithal to produce high quality balsa crankbaits.

Bill Smith says, "There was an old gentlemen from whom I remember my Dad would buy hand-crafted wood topwater lures. This fellow worked in a furniture factory, and made lures in his spare time. This old gentleman did not even fish, but he paid close attention to the constant feedback from the anglers who were his customers, like my Dad. He'd make the changes they suggested to him, thereby improving his topwater products. Both the anglers and the artisan took a sense of pride from this. Over time, he gained quite a local reputation and following for well-made, fish-catching topwater baits. Now take someone with that woodworking skill and love, with a little tool shop, who takes pride in their work and also likes to fish, and that's what's been happening for the past twenty years in this part of the country with regionally-produced balsa crankbaits."

You can think of what's gone on in the Southeast with balsa baits as being similar to what's gone on with swimbaits on the west coast. For the longest time, swimbaits were a local phenomena, designed, developed, locally-made and used on the west coast as an effective way to catch the bass there. Of course, we see today that swimbaits work everywhere, not just California.

Likewise, balsa baits made in and used across the southeast, have been local favorites for the longest time. But as we've found with swimbaits, these balsa crankbaits (and now the ima Shaker) will also work everywhere, not just in the local region, but everywhere across the USA.

As a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, Smith has fished across the country, 95% of the places he has been from coast to coast and border to border, these balsa crankbaits (and now the ima Shaker) have worked for Bill.

"I can tell you that there isn't a Bassmaster Elite pro who I know who doesn't have a box full of flat-sided, hand-made custom balsa crankbaits on his boat, ready to use at every event across the country. These are baits that are hard to get, that have taken years for many of the pros to amass the boxfuls they've got. Every pro has them and knows that at any time or any place, flat-sided balsa crankbaits can prove effective," says Bill.

Introducing the ima Shaker

Now that we've gotten you interested to try balsa baits, you need to know that the new ima Shaker is an improvement upon and replacement for a certain kind of balsa bait - the flat-sided crankbait.

"The flat-sided balsa bait gained a following in the Tennessee/Alabama market years ago. It's real strong on the Tennessee River chain, and also on Ohio River system, where they seriously refined the trend of the smaller flat-sided baits to imitate smaller shad so prevalent there. Over time, this flat-sided crank spread throughout the southeast market," says Bill Smith.

The ima Shaker is the very latest flat-sided crank that matches this most common smaller size of shad.

The Shaker has a very lifelike baitfish appearance. With the flat sides, the Shaker imitates more of a shad than the typical fat, bulbous, round-bodied crankbait. The flat-sided Shaker looks like a shad and has a more realistic profile. Yet it still has the characteristic wide wobble of a balsa bait.

However, the ima Shaker is not balsa. The Shaker is a new injection-molded hard plastic bait with a computer board lip. The Shaker is designed to have all the merits but none of the weaknesses of balsa.

Some of the big disadvantages of balsa crankbaits versus the ima Shaker are:

Good Quality Balsa Crankbaits Ima Shaker
They can't take but one good hit on a rock or a log or the diving bill may loosen from the surrounding softer balsa lip slot. The main factor is durability, the lip stays in. The lip slot is molded (not hand-cut) with a very tight tolerance that helps fortify and secure the computer board lip within the surrounding, tightly-fitting hard plastic.
The line tie eye and hook hangers are screwed-in, slots for lips and belly weights are drilled and then glued by hand, not always perfectly. The component parts, hangers, eyes, weighting system and lip are precisely fitted into injected-molded bodies, with little to no possibility of being off.
The hook hangers or front line tie eye can loosen up under a little too much pressure or pull right out of balsa. The hook hanger and line tie are molded in "figure-eight" stainless wire. Not likely to ever pull out under normal fishing conditions.
A balsa body will often break toward the thinner tail section, especially if a fish is hooked on the tail treble only. The hard plastic body is not likely to ever break under normal fishing conditions.
Balsa is a light wood and especially with the flat sides, hard to cast. It often waffles in the air like a potato chip, falling all too short, causing nasty line snarls or backlashes. The Shaker features an internal weight transfer system allowing the bait to fly incredibly far distances on the cast with greater accuracy and line control.
No two are ever quite the same, due to the natural inconsistencies of each piece of wood, plus the line tie, hangers, belly weights, lips are not always consistent. For any 12 balsa baits, you tend to find 2-3 are truly good and will catch most of your fish. Another 6-8 may only ever be average catchers, and 2-3 may never work well. ima has eliminated this problem of inconsistent baits. Every Shaker will run true straight out of the package. The buoyancy rate and action will be the same each time. We took a long time to get the ima Shaker perfect, based on decades of experience using balsa. We made the prototype Shaker the  best we could - and precision injection-molding makes it consistent for every single bait.
The good ones are hand-made and always hard to get. Often you have to be a pro or know the lure builder to have any chance. If you place an order today, the waiting list may take from one to two years for some. The ima Shaker is readily available across North America. Anyone can get the Shaker, a lure similar to the hard-to-get flat-sided balsa cranks that most of the top pros have a boxful.
Because they are so fragile and hard-to-get, most anglers avoid using their best balsa cranks in heavy cover, the very places that fish favor most. The ima Shaker can be fished through all difficult cover - around docks, rocks, stumps - that would utterly destroy a balsa crankbait. The bodies won't break or chip and loose chunks (like balsa does) when they flare off of wood or a rock.
Good quality balsa cranks are expensive. The Shaker costs less than good hand-made balsa crankbaits. The Shaker is a GREAT BUY when you think that you are spending more for a hand-made balsa bait that you don't know will run true and balsa has the potential of getting destroyed quickly.

As you can see above, the Shaker is designed to imitate a balsa bait, and improve on it. The advantages of the Shaker over balsa are many - more durable, lasts longer and with its internal weight transfer system, is easier and more accurate to cast than balsa.


Because a flat-sided balsa crank is such a poor casting lure, a lot of time you can only use one with 6-8 pound spinning gear to have any hope of casting a decent distance. Even then, you are probably talking about a 40 foot cast with a balsa crank on light line spinning gear versus a 60 foot cast with the ima Shaker on 10-15 pound baitcasting gear. That heavier grade of baitcasting gear could pull a balsa crank apart like it was cotton candy - if you could even cast a balsa bait on such gear (you really can't).

So you're comparing 60 feet with the Shaker on a 10-15 pound baitcaster versus 40 feet for balsa on 6-8 lb spinning gear.

That's 20 feet longer that the Shaker is in the water, attracting fish, on every cast. That's significant and equates to more fish caught due to the Shaker staying longer in the strike zone.

So not only is the Shaker more durable, able to withstand the force of heavier tackle, but also casts much further (and accurately) and can be fished in dense cover that fish love.

Color Choices

The hard-plastic injection-molded nature of the ima Shaker is a radical new departure from balsa baits - but the finishes and color patterns are not.

The ima Shaker finishes make them look like they're balsa cranks. When painted and finished, it's hard to tell at first whether the Shaker is plastic or wood.

ima and Bill Smith have tried to stay true to the well-known regional color patterns used on hand-made balsa cranks across the southeast, plus they've stayed with the unique names used for these regional color patterns.

The guys in the southeast who throw balsa cranks will be familiar with these names and colors. They are derived from favorite colors of parochial balsa baits -  like the color Plemmons is one of the most famous. That has been around for ages, and everyone in the region knows what color it is just from the name - Plemmons.

Besides Plemmons, Coach Dog and Dolphin are probably the three most famous colors in the region.

Another unique color is named Hortin as well as Chartreuse Hortin. These are names that have never changed for ages. Smith felt a need to make the names and colors of the ima Shaker very familiar to the guys in the southeast in balsa bait country. At the same time, the names and colors are going to be new and will take a little getting used to by anglers in other parts of the country. But don't worry, you will get familiar with these colors quickly. When you catch a few fish on them, they'll become your favorites too.

Another color is Lime Coach Dog. If you don't know what coach dog refers to, it is a Dalmatian. They were trained in days of yore to run alongside and accompany carriages or coaches on the road. So the Coach Dog lure color has Dalmatian spots all over it.

One thing that Lime Coach Dog, Matte Bluegill and Coach Dog (shown above) have in common is that they are early spring time colors. Bill Smith feels why they work best then is that they really imitate bluegill that are the prevalent forage up shallow then. Honestly, Smith could never figure out any rhyme nor reason why, but Coach Dog always seems to work better when the bass first come up shallow in the spring whereas Lime Coach Dog tends to hold up and lasts a little longer through the latter part of spring. Matte bluegill is always effective as long as small bluegill abound.

Plemmons and Rootbeer (shown above). These are two solid shad colors. They excel whenever there are lots of shad around. Now, root beer always seems to work fished right in the thick of the shad. You may wonder about that, because it does not resemble a shad color. In its case, you don't try to match the hatch. You try to stick out from the rest, and bass hone right in on it.

Some of the other colors - Black Chartreuse for instance, are old familiar standbys. Colors such as White Shad and Alabama Shad, are simply solid, universal shad colors. Don't leave home without them.

We talked about color choices above being based on certain seasons or prevalent baitfish. Color choice can also be based on water clarity:

  • Clear water. Matte Bluegill, Hortin and Rootbeer are reliable.
  • Dirty water. Try Dolphin, Black Chartreuse and Coach Dog. There is a little bit of rattle sound which helps. Fish pick up on that little noise, plus the crankbait's vibration can call them in from a decent distance in dirty water.
  • Stained water. The most productive water color, better than either clear or dirty water. For shallow-running flat-sided crankbaits, I always like to have some stain. A wide variety of colors will work in stained water depending on the season, the prevalent bait and other factors.
  • Plemmons. The favorite color of many because Plemmons works in any water color. So always give Plemmons a try.

Where and When to Use the ima Shaker

The ima Shaker is a shallow diver, running 3 to 5 feet deep. Therefore, where and when it works best is in shallow water, no more than eight feet deep.

Simply, where you have bass in a water depth of five foot (less than 8 foot), that's the strike zone within which the Shaker is going to work.

However, when shad are up on the surface away from the bank, over relatively deep water, the wide wobble of the Shaker swimming through the shad schools will break up the shad, cause the shad to flush. This disperses the shad balls enough to get bass to notice the Shaker in the middle causing the disturbance - and that can provoke a strike. This little trick can work when bass are present, but not very aggressive on topwater lures. The fact that the Shaker's a few feet under the surface, and busting up the shad schools as it comes through them can prove effective. It almost turns on a bass feeding frenzy for a few seconds during which the shad balls scatter apart, the Shaker gets revealed in the middle, and bass hit it.

  • Spring and Fall. Bass are most often up in shallow water in the spring and fall. So the Shaker will work anywhere there's shallow water during spring and fall. Especially in stained or muddy water, fish like to stay up shallow for a longer part of the season.
    You can really hit rocks, stumps, shallow structure and not get hung up. Usually, when a crankbait has a real wide wobble, the hooks swing out from side to side and grab everything - but that's not the case with the ima Shaker. You can go right through tree tops, stump fields and rock jumbles, and unless the bait gets wedged, just give a little slack, and it's going to float up and over most anything down there.
  • Summer. Once you get into the summer season, you need to dissect your lake or reservoir into the main lake body versus the side creeks, the upper river arms or tributary type areas.
    In the main lake body or big basin type areas, bass tend to move off the banks and they occupy deeper water beyond the effective range of a shallow-diving crankbait in summer.

    However, there are always some bass shallow all through the summer, especially if you go up into a river arm, the back end of a creek, an inflow end of a reservoir, or anywhere with a current situation, you can produce shallow bass on the Shaker throughout the summer.

    On reservoirs where water is routinely drawn to generate electricity or for whatever purpose they pull water, bass tend to move from deep havens to nearby shallow areas for the duration that moving water flows through those shallows. So even the main lake, when they pull water during the summer months, can have shallow bass willing to belt the Shaker at those times.
  • Winter. As in summer, many bass tend to pull into deeper areas off the banks in winter, and in the colder months of the year, bass tend to want a tight-wobbling crankbait anyway. The Shaker is more wide-wobbling.

For those who live up north in smallmouth country or wherever one bass species is more prevalent, you'll be glad to know the Shaker appeals equally to all three species of bass, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

"The swimming action of the ima Shaker is very unique. It took a lot of time until I got the action perfect. There's just no way I can truly describe how well this crankbait wiggles through the water. You really need to get one and go watch it swim to believe it. Once you see that, you'll want to use the Shaker all the time," exclaims Bill Smith.

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Matte Bluegill

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Plemmons

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Alabama Shad

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ White Shad

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Hortin

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Dolphin

ima Shaker ~ Flat-sided Crankbait ~ Chartreuse Hortin

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crankbait

ima's new Rock N Vibe is compact at only 2-1/2 inches long yet weighs a full 1/2 oz and sports two oversized premium Owner trebles that fish just can't miss.

Before tying the Rock N Vibe on your line, cup it carefully in the palm of your hand and shake it. You'll hear and feel a vibrancy not found in other lipless cranks. It's almost the noise and feel of something alive in your hand, such as a cicada or other noise-making insect.

The Rock N Vibe does not make an excessively loud noise, but it is a more natural or vibrant noise than many other rattling cranks. In addition to noise, the Rock N Vibe generates a high vibration that feels like a buzz between your fingers.

Next, tie it to your rod, hook it securely onto a rod guide foot, and put that rod inside your car or truck with you on your way down to the lake. As you motor down the bumpy highway, listen to the rumbling noise made by the rapidly-vibrating Rock N Vibe on the rod in the vehicle with you. It's more like a constant, low rumble than a rattle. More of a shivering or quivering sound all abuzz like some sort of insect or something alive.

As you cast the Rock N Vibe, you'll notice that rumble and buzz manifest itself in the rod tip in a way that no other crankbait does. It's not the way you feel a wide or tight wiggle with other crankbaits, but it's a sort of bouncy, buzzy, vibrancy in the rod tip.

One look at the Rock N Vibe as it nears boatside, and you'll see that same vibrant quality in the bait's action. One way to describe the action is to say there's a lot of side and belly movement in the swimming behavior of the Rock N Vibe that's not found in other lipless cranks.

The sides and belly seem to wiggle and flicker like there's no tomorrow, and the detailed color patterns simply dance and play like alive. It has a rather realistic baitfish swimming movement and action compared to the more mechanical and artificial actions of many other lipless cranks. It's a work of art, imitating life.

When paused, the Rock N Vibe falls straight and true. It is a true countdown lure since it won't tangle the line as it falls. Most all lipless cranks sink, but many spin or foul the line as they do, so they're really not useful for counting down to deeper depths. That's the last thing you want - a lipless crank that fouls itself when it falls or is paused, ruining cast after cast. The Rock N Vibe won't do that. It falls perfectly true when paused or on the sink, making it useful to countdown to various depths.

This doesn't mean the Rock N Vibe will never tangle. When popped sharply on a lift-and-fall or jigged erratically using a yoyo presentation, any bait will occasionally tangle. It's just the nature of such techniques. However, the Rock N Vibe's ability not to tangle on a typical stop-and-go or jerk-and-pause approach is a key design feature since fish often hit on such pauses or change-ups in the action.

Plus the Rock N Vibe will stay down at the depth it was counted down to. Most other lipless cranks won't do that. Even if you can count them down without fouling themselves, many lipless cranks tend to rise up higher like kites once the retrieve is started, not staying at the desired depth like the Rock N Vibe will for you.

Feeling reckless? Try 'worming' the Rock N Vibe along bottom in deeper water as if you'd fish a worm or jig. Don't flatter it by treating it in any special way. Totally disregard that you even have a lipless crankbait tied on, just hop and drop it the same way you'd work a worm or jig! The perfect, controlled sinking behavior of the Rock N Vibe is ideally suited for 'worming' it this way in deep water.

The fact you can worm it hits upon another valuable feature of the Rock N Vibe. You can use it at any retrieve speed. This bait can be fished at any speed from painstakingly slow to blazingly fast and all speeds in between. So whether the bass just want to lazily suck it in or aggressively chase it down, the Rock N Vibe will match the mood.

The Rock N Vibe is as much at home on medium spinning gear as on baitcasting, and it casts like a rocket on either outfit.

Give it a try and you'll see why the pudgy little Rock N Vibe has that watchful eye and worrisome look on its face, because some big bully of a bass is constantly chasing after it!

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Matte Bluegill

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Baby Bass

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Chartreuse Shad

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Hot Craw

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Chrome Blue Back

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Wounded Shad

ima Rock N Vibe ~ Lipless Crank ~ Ghost Minnow

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