1) Jighead on bottom. I use Terry
Oldham's Grass/Moss Screwlock for the Ika. It has a thin
wireguard to make the hook point weedless and snagless, and a
streamlined, pointy lead nose that comes through grass and moss.
It comes with either a heavy or a medium hook. I prefer medium
for the Ika. I usually clip the screwlock off with cutters, then
superglue the Ika against the leadhead. Sometimes I thread the
Ika's body up onto the bend of the hook, making the lure curve
instead of lying perfectly straight. Very effective to let it
settle onto bottom and then "rip" it with a sideways
rod motion. This makes the lure jump up a few feet and then fall
erratically back to bottom. The bend in the lure can cause
unpredictable action when it rips and falls. Let the lure rest on
bottom as you slowly wind in the slack. Now jiggle the line to
feel for the weight of a fish, pause an instant, then rip it
again. You will often find fish suck up the lure as it rests on
bottom. Repeatedly rip-wind-jiggle all the way back to the boat.
I like to do this in cool water with the chartreuse/silver flake
(181) color pattern. In hot water, I also rip natural colors
(236, for example) of the curved Oldham/Ika combo aggressively
through grass bed tops, but without really letting it rest or
settle too deeply into the grass.
2) Jighead - suspended. The Ika is very
effective on a darter head jig for fish suspended in mid-water, a
few feet above bottom, or just above the thermocline. Not all
darter heads are created equal. You must look for one that is
center balanced. A properly-balanced darter head can cause the
illusion of a side-to-side natural movement as you shake or
doodle the Ika. Very often, you need to imitate open water
baitfish like shad or herring when you target suspended fish. So
try blue some of the plaer white, clear or smoke shades such as
237, 238 or 239 for exaample.
3) Jighead in cover. This is your
standard flipping/pitching presentation for cover with stout gear
and fiberguard jig heads. I like Gary's Flippin' Jig Head with
the Big Ika for this. An advantage is that the Ika does not get
torn up by the fish or by rough cover as easily as other lures.
For instance, it doesn't have the thin twister tails or claw
appendages that often get torn off other lures. And if it does
get torn - because the Ika is perfectly cylindrical and
symmetrical - you can re-rig as if it was a fresh bait by using
the "other side". Can't re-rig like that with many
other soft plastics.
4) Texas rig. This is another standard
flipping/pitching presentation for using the Ika in heavy cover
with stout gear, bullet weights and offset shank hooks such as
Gary's Sugoi (means "perfect") hook made exclusively
for him by Gamakatsu. Often, natural shades of blacks, browns and
greens are used, but I also like smoke-colored Ikas for this. If
you peg the weight, just use the Ika. If you don't peg it, also
use Gary's "Grub Guard" (see below).
5) Texas jig. Although they are not
common, a few manufacturers make pointy, streamlined leadheads
molded onto offset shank jig hooks. It's like a Texas Rig - but
the bullet weight is molded right onto the offset hook. These
often come in lighter sizes between 1/16 and 1/4 ounce. They are
not often used by anglers. Nevertheless, one of my favorite ways
to use the Ika in light to medium wood, reeds or weeds is on a
texas jig such as Bobby Garland's TR leadheads which seems
well-suited to the Ika.
6) Carolina Rig. Most soft plastics can
be fished this way, including the Ika. Often I just twist a
rubber-core sinker onto the line. But most anglers use a bullet
weight or a fatter kind of special Carolina weight for rocky
bottom, plus a bead, a swivel - and most importantly, a trace of
leader line between the weight and the bait. Distance from the
weight to bait ranges from 2-3 feet but can be longer or shorter.
Functionally, longer leaders are used in order to make the bait
more visible among weeds or irregular bottoms that might
otherwise obscure the bait from sight. Use an offset shank hook
(such as Gary's Sugoi hook). Because the face of the Ika is flat,
you may want to use Gary's special "Grub Guards" which
are little pointy nipples of rubbery plastic that you thread on
your line just like bullet weights, then snug them up over the
knot and hook eye. I like the contrast of the fluorescent yellow
(192) caps with most any color Ika. With the cap, the Ika will
come through weeds without fouling, and come through brush and
snags without balling up on the hook.
7) Weightless on or near the surface.
Gary Yamamoto sells a special kind of rounded, short shank hook.
These are called "Split Shot" hooks made exclusively
for Gary by Gamakatsu. In size and shape, Split shot hooks
closely approximate what's more commonly known as a circle hook.
You just insert this crossways through the nose of the Ika, cast
it out and start twitching it on and near the surface. When a
fish takes, you let the fish go down and swim away from you with
the Ika. Don't worry, they won't let go. Just start reeling in
line and the steady, gentle pressure of a slow sideways sweep of
the rod tip causes the circle-style hook to catch in the corner
of the jaw, hooking the fish without actually "setting"
the hook! You can use offset hooks and the "Grub Guard"
caps where it's too weedy to use the exposed Split Shot hooks. By
the way, these Split Shot hooks work great for any weightless
baits such as Flukes, Slug-gos and trick worms.
8) Splitshot - suspended. This is simply
adding a light splitshot a few feet up the line from the
weightless Ika with the Split Shot circle-style hook. You let it
drift down through suspended fish - or engage the reel, thereby
holding the bait at the depth that the fish are found.
9) As a trailer. Like many soft
plastics, the Ika also can be used as a trailer on skirted jigs,
spinnerbaits or buzzbaits. I especially like to thread the Ika
all the way up over the eye of the trailer hook used on
spinnerbaits or buzzbaits, and then impale the Ika by spearing
the main hook through the Ika and therefore through the eye of
the trailer hook. On a skirted jig, I just impale the plain Ika
like you would a pork chunk. I insert and break off a piece of
toothpick crosswise in front of the hook so bass cannot tear the
Ika off so easily when they short strike at it.
Hope you were able to pick up an Ika tip or two you can use
from here. And don't forget to shout "Eureka" when you
bag your first bass on the Ika!