Spring time means the bass are moving shallow to breed and feed, and one of the most effective ways to locate the bass in the various stages of the spawn is to cast a square bill crank bait. This week, we review ima Lures Square Bill and its technical features and performance that show why you should have a few in your tackle box year round.
DESIGN: With design input from Elite Series angler Bill Lowen, the Ima square bill has a stubby build (2.25 inches) and weighs in at 3/8 of an ounce. Sporting two #6 Owner hooks, bold eye design and a Lexan square lip, the Ima Square Bill has a unique “humped” design that allows it to have not only exceptional action when retrieved, but to function as a solid wake bait should the angler decide to fish the bait just below the surface. In fact, Lowen touts the Square Bill’s versatility in the water as the design’s main attribute. “The beauty of the ima Square Bill is it’s really three or four baits in one” says Lowen. “While some other square bills are good burned, others are at their best when they’re waked or twitched. Some do well deflecting off cover while others are best in open water. The ima Square Bill can match each attribute and talent, with no weakness. My favorite is to mix it ALL up on a single retrieve, going from twitching to waking, to reeling it down to three feet to burning it. It’s not just a jack-of-all-trades – it’s a master of each one, too.” Available in eight colors imitating a variety of forage species, the ima Square Bill retails at $9.50 – bellying its quality at such a modest price.,
PERFORMANCE: Shallow cover, open water, rock, wood – it didn’t matter. The ima Square Bill performed right out of the package – no tuning needed. Highly durable (we banged it off our PowerPoles more than once with no damage), the Lexan lip produced a solid “bounce back” when striking objects and a tight wobble that was easily detected at the rod handle. After a few casts, controlling this bait in a “wake” action was quite easy. This bait is a true shallow crank, diving down and making bottom contact at just over three (3) feet when fished on 10-pound fluorocarbon.
FISHABILITY: The ima Square Bill was very controllable, as the vibration was easily detectable yet not overwhelming. Fished on a J.B. Custom Rods 90/10 from the JC ProAngler series rod with 17 lb. Seaguar Invisx line and a Daiwa Tatula 6.3:1 Reel, we were able to easily detect deflections of cover and strikes from fish, which during our test day ranged from violent aggressive pulls to feeling like a wet bag was suddenly on the end of the line. In any case, this bait put fish in the boat in slightly stained post rainwater, and the color “Lowen’s Hush Hush” was particularly effective. Owner hooks are always a solid choice, and we didn’t lose a single fish that took a chance on this bait.
OVERALL: Japanese quality and design at an every day price – that’s what the Square Bill provides. Bill Lowen’s assessment was spot on – this bait can be fished a variety of ways due to its design, which make it a crankbait worth having. One of the big knocks on imported baits due to their hefty price tag has always been that anglers are unwilling to throw them into cover where they might get hung up and lost – ima’s Square Bill at it’s new “Core Pricing” structure now allows the angler to put the bait where it needs to go without that fear of breaking one’s budget.