IMA Lures Pinjack 200 – Product Review

IMA Lures Pinjack 200 – Product Review

IMA Lures Pinjack 200 – Product Review

by July 12, 2013

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IMA Lures’ Pinjack 200 is a mid depth crankbait that looks like your standard quality crankbait at first glance. When I had the opportunity to review this bait I must admit, I didn’t have any expectations at first. But when I started to use this little bait, it really got my attention! When I first received the Pinjack 200 I unboxed it and immediately noticed that it was a great looking bait! The hooks were sticky sharp, high quality and smaller than most other cranks in my arsenal. I also noticed that this little crankbait has a refined, high quality feel, right down to the premium eyes and finish. Pinjack200-Review-Header Since I wanted to do an in-depth review I checked out IMA’s website at www.imalures.com. I also spoke with IMA Lures Pro and Lure Designer, Michael Murphy; and found that there are a ton of design features that are intended to make this bait your crank of choice.

“The Pinjack was created in response to our customers asking for something in between the Square Bill and the Beast Hunter.  The Pinjack 200 was our answer.  It has done very well and has excelled when fish are in the mid range depth of 6 to 10-ft when water temperatures are between 45-75 degrees.  It was also designed to come through cover with ease.”

Pinjack200I asked Michael about his rod, reel and line set-up when using this bait, as well as ideal conditions.

IMA-MikeMurphy-BassmasterOpen“I prefer 8 to 12-lb mono with all cranking applications, but use 10-lb 90% of the time; the ‘Toray’ Bawo Nylon Polyamide Plus.  I will occasionally go to 8-lb if it is super clear, or 12-lb if I am fishing around heavier cover or things that can beat up the line easier, like when fishing riprap or brush.   Typically tighter wobble crank baits are better in cold water, with fatter baits better in warmer water.  What causes the reaction strike typically is deflecting off of cover and occasionally stopping the retrieve to float it back into the fish’s face that may be tracking it.” 

The Pinjack 200 also has an unusual weight system inside that prevents tumbling which keeps the hooks behind the lure while running  therefore avoiding hangups and fouling on your cast. The feature that I found the most interesting was the ability of this lure to “back slide” and get over cover.   I also noted that IMA has produced the Pinjack 200 in some great colors that will be useful virtually anywhere. I tested the Perch and Brown Back Chartruse patterns.

On The Water

I set out one morning in early summer on my favorite smallie lake and immediately got to work with my testing. I decided to fish rocky points as well as some shallow banks with laydowns and sparse weeds. I threw the Pinjack on a 6’8″ medium-heavy casting rod with moderate action. I paired my rod up with a Shimano Curado 200E5 reel and 15-lb flourocarbon line. I went with heavier line for two reasons; it happened to be what I had spooled up on my crankbait reel. Also, getting the Pinjack to run deeper than 10-ft was not on my agenda.   Pinjack-rig-2ndimage   I stopped at my first spot; a rocky point with some big boulders and sparse weeds that was 7 to 10- ft deep. Upon casting the Pinjack 200, I found that it ran very nicely. It telegraphed a subtle vibration up the line and rod which I really like. This slight vibration is important to me because it lets me know that my bait isn’t fouled up with weeds on the hooks, and provided me with confidence. I could feel the Pinjack making contact with the bottom and several times it ran into larger rocks. When it got stuck on a rock I stopped reeling and lowered my rod tip a little. This allowed the lure to float backwards and up allowing it to un-snag. I would then continue cranking it after a few seconds. The backslide feature really did work for me and avoided several potentially annoying hang ups. I caught three smallmouth at my first spot and found that the Pinjack’s hooks were great. I didn’t lose any fish when they did their customary cartwheels and aerobatics.

My second spot was a shallow bank that had some lay downs in it. It also has some gravel and sand. I threw the Pinjack right up to the bank and intentionally ran it right up to tree stumps hitting them. Most of the time the Pinjack would simply run up the stump and the bill would prevent hangups. On the occasions where the lure got caught, the backslide feature came in handy again and floated the lure out of harm’s way.  Key to this was not setting the hook into the stump and really focusing on what my bait was doing.

During a full days fishing. I used one Pinjack 200 most of the day and caught 10 smallmouth bass on it. The lure’s hooks held up nicely and stayed sharp. The bill on the lure showed some slight wear and nicks as it is plastic and I worked rocky bottoms most of the day. The finish also showed a bit of rubbing but the paint was unaffected. It seemed to me that the shiny lacquered finish had simply been slightly scuffed by the bass’ teeth.

Recently I fished a regional tournament. Since I had been so impressed by this crankbait earlier, I wanted to try the Pinjack on some great lakes smallmouth. The lure delivered our first keeper of the day within the first five minutes. My tournament partner immediately began to take note!   I am not a big crank bait user particularly because I hate hang-ups. I find that usually there are other presentations that can get the job done with less frustration, but the Pinjack 200 has changed my mind. If I’m faced with sparse weeds, rocky points or laydowns, then the Pinjack 200 would definitely be the crankbait I would pick up. It is capable of getting through cover and allowing you to work in situations where other crankbaits will simply frustrate you. The backslide feature really does work and by staying focused and understanding what the Pinjack is doing you can fish all day with virtually zero hang-ups; unheard of in circles I frequent.

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