Reviews

The Fat Ika

Posted on October 21, 2006

About the Bait

The Fat Ika is a bait that I discovered while working at Gander Mountain. At the time, I wanted a bait that fell quickly and had thicker walls than the tubes I was using. The thought being, if I could throw a weightless “tube,” it might “suspend” or fall slower than a tube with a weight in it. While stocking shelves and setting store aisles, I came across this wonderful bait. The Ika is a type of solid tube. It has a tube profile but is solid like a Senko throughout.

One of the neatest things about the Fat Ika is its ability to be skipped across the water. Awhile back, Jeff Little wrote an article entitled “Skip It and Rip It”. The article talks about skipping baits. The Ika is a prime candidate for this technique, as its weight enables it to be freely skipped under trees, rocks, stumps and basically any shoreline cover. Side arming the bait into cover with a deadly accurate cast is all it takes most often to get that reaction strike we all love so much! The Fat Ika very closely resembles the natural look of the crayfish in our waters. The weightless Fat Ika is something they have a difficult time saying no to. It knows no difference of fall, summer or spring as this bait has worked consistently for me in all of the above. The color used is directly related to water clarity. Our rivers are generally extremely clear and dark subtle baits are the norm in this clean, clear water. When the water is higher and cloudier I will switch to brighter baits as the dark colors seem to get lost in the cloud of dirt. I use this bait more often than others because of the confidence I have developed about how it works, where it works, and how the bait feels on mono or braid. I have thrown it so much, its subtleties and quirks have become second nature. Truly a confidence series bait, The Fat Ika should be considered for your next outing!

Rigging

I often use this bait with no weight, Texas rigged on a 3/0 or 4/0 Gamakatsu Wide Gap hook. In faster current or higher water I will add a slider weight of appropriate size above the lure.

Action

The strike comes most often on the initial fall. If it does not get hit on the descent, simply lifting the rod tip or moving the tip side to side, the bait will “twitch” under water and be enough to trigger a strike. There are a few circumstances when I will rig the Fat Ika backwards, or upside down. Normally the bait will get chewed up on 2 or 3 fish so I will use it upside down rigged the same way. Rigged this way, the Fat Ika has a bit of a different action that seems to shoot the bait lower into the water column. If you find fish are holding a bit deeper, try this as it may just trigger a strike or two.

Consider using the Ika as a top water bait. Increase the retrieve speed slightly and lift the rod tip, alternating each every few turns. The Ika will delightfully start walking the dog across the top of the water and will trigger bites in lower light situations. Just walk the Fat Ika up to the crown (the crown is the part of the structure protruding from the water) of any underwater structure, and then kill the action to let it lay or fall back down. Again, a big key to most bites comes when the Fat Ika is falling. Remember to keep in close visual and physical contact with your line. Many strikes will be missed by not doing this. Since it doesn’t weigh as much as a conventional tube with weight, it stays in the strike zone longer. In all instances of getting a strike, I will always allow the fish to swim a short distance before giving a solid hookset. Giving it all you got on the set will surely rip the bait out of the fish’s mouth. In this regard, I consider it to be a finesse type bait. Remember, you will need to watch your line closely to detect the bite as the slack makes it tougher to follow what the bait is doing.

I have seen a few cases where tubes would not quite get it done and the Ika cast to the same spot has pulled the fish. I believe the fall rate is the relevant factor in these cases. Other times, in colder water, the Ika can be thrown to the desired spot and left to sit for a period of 30 to 90 seconds. As we know, cold water bass love this do nothing technique whether it’s a tube, an Ika, or a jerkbait.

Rod and Line

I most often use the Ika with a St. Croix 6’ MF in spinning and casting versions. Power Pro of various sizes enables me to keep in close contact with the bait as it frequently is used under slack or nearly slack line.

The Smallmouth Bass above was taken from under the root ball of the Sycamore in the background. The bait was skipped under the overhang and left to settle for a moment.

I hope this may be of some help to someone thinking of trying the Fat Ika. It is truly my biggest confidence bait, and soon it may be yours too!

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“DaggerDave” Stephens has been a River Smallies.com forum member since March of 2003. He lives in Ohio and is an avid smallmouth angler and kayaker on many rivers and streams in Ohio and beyond.

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