Archived Story

How to use umbrella rigs to bring’em in

Published 7:17pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

Umbrella rig, spreader rig, Alabama rig, whatever you like to call it, this new spin on a rather old piece of tackle has turned the fishing world upside down.

An umbrella five rig.
An umbrella five rig.

If you fish on a regular basis you know what an A-rig is, but for those who don’t, an umbrella rig is a piece of terminal tackle usually involving a five wire system attached to a head, that allows an angler to fish many lures at the same time.
While five is the common number, spreader rigs can fish anywhere from three to 16 baits on common rigs for sale today.
Umbrella rigs have been used for many years mostly by striper fishermen who trolled a rather large spread of baits on it. The trouble was the large version was very impractical to cast, thus the introduction of the smaller, castable version most commonly known as the Alabama rig.
It pains me to think that 10 or more years ago I toyed for a while, with the idea of making a striper umbrella rig into something I could cast, a day late and a dollar short I guess.
Introduced just a couple years ago, the A-rig dominated many cool water bass tournaments. The first tournament it was used in, the top five finishers used the A-rig, and four day tournaments have been won with weights over 100 lbs. per 20 fish, a healthy five lb. + average.
The success of the rig has got it banned in some tournaments, and rather tough restrictions in some states such as Tennessee, where you better have a law degree to understand all the applications. Generally it limits most A-rigs to 3 baits.
The Alabama rig is a good bait any time fish are feeding on baitfish. It mimics a small bait ball, and it seems to be a favorite of bigger fish.
The rig is good at catching suspended fish, and fish that are pulled up on banks to feed or are early prespawn. Although one or two is the norm, it is possible to catch five fish at a time on a five bait rig.
The good news is it’s a great way to fish, but the bad news is about every bass fisherman you see is throwing one in cooler water. Fish can be educated when they see a lot of the same things, and catch ratios are lower for most folks this year than last year.
That being said, all the attention anglers are giving the A-rig is opening the opportunity for more conventional baits to be effective. Baits that everyone used to be throwing like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits are now a sight for sore eyes to fish.
Whether you get on board with the Alabama rig craze, or use its popularity against itself, the next three months is a good time to catch a fat prespawn female, choose your weapon and get after ‘em.

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