A collaboration between Katsutaka Imae, the founder of IMAKATSU®, and Yuki Ito, the founder of Megabass®, the IxI Shad (pron. “I by I”, for Ito x Imae), is a next-generation shad plug that reflects the combined expertise of two of Japan’s foremost lure designers and anglers. Incorporating the LBO II (PAT.) balancer system, the TYPE-3 casts surprisingly well for its size, overcoming one of the key complaints with the small shad-plug category. With an exceedingly realistic, compact profile, and dazzlingly tight, hyper-pitch rolling action, the TYPE-3 elevates the performance of past shad-plug staples.
The TYPE-3 features the greatest depth of the series with its ability to trace a maximum depth of 3.0m (9-10ft), but it can also perform exceptionally well in the shallower 4-5ft range due to its deflection characteristics. The design minimizes snags in the shallows and perfects the aggressive deflections that trigger bites in and around rock and structure. Instead of “sliding” deflections, which create dead spots in the retrieve, the IxI Shad deflects—hard—but with a “falling forward” posture. The ability to deflect with athleticism and correct form ensures the lure doesn’t lose traction throughout the retrieve, maintaining its size-defying action and ensuring potential bites are not negligently lost.
Imae had very demanding requests for this new shad. The size had to be a microbody shad form less than 60mm (2.3in) in length. This diminutive lure had to be able to make long-distance casts even against headwinds. When it contacted structure and the bottom, it couldn’t slide—rather, it must make hard deflections with a forward falling posture, something that would be clearly transmitted to the angler’s hands. To help alleviate snags, it had to maintain this forward-leaning posture even when stationary and demonstrate excellent responsiveness. During casting, the weight had to move to the rear of the lure for superior castability. The action had to be very responsive and lure control must have a very direct feel to it. The action had to incorporate rolling into the preexisting high-pitch spin drive. It had to have excellent straight-swimming stability with easy tuning, or no need for tuning at all.
To satisfy these demands, Yuki Ito made a departure from the traditional shad design and began work on something completely new. He placed the line eye, which serves as the focal point of movement for casting and actions, in a position perfectly aligned with the roll axis of the lure to create an extremely responsive shad design with synchronized balance. However, when spherical weights were added to the design, the center of gravity moved upwards, disrupting the synchronized balance during bottom contact tests, adversely affecting responsiveness. That’s where we introduced the super low center of gravity micro balancer with a diameter of only 5.5mm. The LBO II features numerous micro ball bearings that make the instantaneous movement of the center of gravity possible. The roll axis of the body and balancer axis are perfectly synchronized thanks to the LBO II. Despite being a super small lure, the I x I SHAD boasts exceptional responsiveness, swimming stability, and flight posture thanks to the incorporation of the LBO II system.
Ito x Imae Collaboration
These two great powers behind Japan’s modern bass fishing movement, each with their own philosophies, dreams, ideals, and experiences, finally came together to create tools for the next generation. Katsutaka Imae is behind the Imakatsu brand and is the creator of many modern bass fishing techniques—as well as the victor of many high-level bass fishing tournaments throughout Japan. He redefined modern bass fishing as a truly athletic sport and continues to reside at the cutting edge of bass fishing. Yuki Ito, the founder and chief designer of Megabass, introduced countless designs and fishing theories which raised the global standard of modern bass fishing technology, and holds the unique distinction of winning the most Good Design Awards in the fishing industry. He has given birth to many technological advances and trends in bass fishing culture.
The two are very contrasting anglers. In the past they have challenged each other over many opposing theories and preferences, such as CHAMPION vs GAMBLER, athletic bass fishing tournament vs full contact fishing style, lightning matching vs tachyon hook set, high elasticity boron shaft vs high elasticity graphite shaft, and titanium layered shaft vs titanium implant shafts, to name but a few. These high–level battles of belief and pride are part of the bass fishing legacy of Japan and helped drive innovation in both camps.
After 30 years, the goals of Imae and Ito came into serendipitous alignment. They wanted to create the “real thing”—competition be damned. Something that could showcase the theories, techniques, knowledge, and sensibilities of Japanese fishing for the world to see.
Drawing upon many years of challenges and innovations, Ito and Imae could see the ideal solution to bass tackle. That’s why the I x I is bass fishing newest answer, representing a fusion of knowledge. It’s a chemical reaction that is explosively expanding the potential of bass fishing. The skills and sensibilities of the two masters, Imae and Ito, come together in this fusion of experience, innovation, and passion. This represents a whole new potential in the world of bass fishing.
The IxI Shad. Challenge, accepted.