The newest bait it the Ima lineup was developed with the input and experience of professional angler and guide Michael Murphy. He wanted a bait that can be fished like a soft jerkbait like the Optimum Victory Tail, but that could also double as a glide bait for his home waters where bass key on shad and blueback herring.
“This was designed for the East Coast where bass do not eat trout. It works great anytime blueback herring and shad are the main forage,” says Murphy.
Like all good lures, it takes some time to get it just right. The Ima Glide Fluke was nearly two years in development and it is now ready for release. “We really wanted it to work perfectly and not just catch fishermen,” begins Murphy. The design process involved two key features that separate this bait from other hard swimbaits and glide baits; the hook placement and head design.
One common theme among baits in this category is that the rear hook is often mounted underneath a molded fin or rudder. This helps to get the bait to run a certain way, but the hookup percentage goes down when fish are swiping at a fast-moving bait. “Part of what we required was for this to have a hook at the very back of the bait. With baits like this, a lot of times the bass miss it and having the hook there helps land more of the fish that swipe at it. Even if it just gets them with one single hook, a catch is a catch,” says Murphy.
To counter the loss of a tail rudder, Murphy and the team at Ima developed a head design with three ridges and two grooves. “Knowing how the water flows and deflects on the head and through trial and error, we found this to be the best design. It allows the bait to have a great side-to-side action but also a unique up and down action on some types of retrieves,” begins Murphy. The reasoning behind this is to allow the bait to walk like a soft-plastic jerkbait, but also have the action that makes glide baits so effective.
The Glide Fluke is a two-segmented bait with realistic 3D eyes. It comes in two sizes, 110 and 178. With both sizes, there is a sinking and floating model. All of them have a similar action, but they do have some key differences in how they act and where best to use them. “The smaller bait has a tighter and quicker darting action, and that is also true of smaller baitfish compared to larger ones,” says Murphy, who holds a Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences degree from Purdue University.
The baits also vary in weight depending on the model. The 110 in the floating version is 23g and the sinking model weighs in at 28g. The 178 size comes in at 80 grams for the sinking and 70g for the floating. “They are all very castable because of the weight, but also how they are shaped,” says Murphy.
Both the floating and sinking version have their own unique characteristics that can help the bait achieve different actions.
Fishing the Floating Version
The floating version works well when fished as a wake bait according to Murphy. “With mono, the bait will float very well and you can retrieve it with your rod tip up and get a great action on the surface,” he says.
The bait also has a unique look on the surface. “If you get into a rhythm with your retrieve you can get the bait to kick side to side and have that ‘hunting’ action to draw fish to the surface,” Murphy adds.
There are times early in the summer when the topwater bite is just starting and fish tend to miss the bait or just swipe at it. This is when the floating version shines and it helps to get those fish to commit according to Murphy.
Fishing the Sinking Version
With this model, the possibilities of fishing the bait are endless. Murphy likes to use the sinking version when bass are feeding on spawning shad and also when fishing along docks. “We built the bait to fall horizontal, so you can cast next to a dock ad let it fall and it has a great quivering action as it is falling, almost like a soft plastic stickbait,” he says.
There are many different retrieves that will work and Murphy fishes the bait both like a soft jerkbait as well as a standard glide bait. “With a quick jerk of the rod, you can also get it to push down slightly and then come up as it corrects itself. You can also walk it like a soft-plastic jerkbait with a quick retrieve and the back hook will not get hooked on your line and that was by design,” says the South Carolina pro.
Murphy says there is no right or wrong place to utilize the Glide Fluke, but he does vary his approach based on the season, the depth he is targeting and the cover present. With a floating and sinking model available, he has a large depth range covered.
Generally, he prefers the floating version around the spawn and then again during the summer months. The colder months and the right after the spawn is when the sinking version excels.
Being a large bait, heavy tackle is a must. Murphy recommends either a heavyweight crankbait rod or swimbait setup. “I use a 7’4” heavy Denali cranking rod, but a 7’2”-7’4” swimbait or heavy topwater rod will also work well. I’m also a big fan of a high-speed reel because you can always slow down and for me, that is easier than using a slower reel and trying to reel faster,” he says. When it comes to line, a 20-pound monofilament or 30-pound braid is his choice for the floating model and a 15-20-pound fluorocarbon for the sinking model.
The new Ima Glide Fluke offers a new twist in the hard bait category; a bait that can walk, glide and swim. With two sizes and two different models available, there are countless ways this bait can be used for bass keying on blueback herring and shad.