January 09, 2014
The artificial lure presentation that creates its own bait ball.
It's the hot lure that's hit largemouth bass circles so hard that some tournaments are already forbidding its use, but not before tournament angler Paul Elias won the October 2011 Lake Gunterville FLW Tour Open throwing it. Since then it's been THE talk of freshwater TV shows, bass fishing press and online discussion. Old is new again as the 5-bait Alabama Rig is a look-alike to the umbrella-style setups used to target striped bass. It even resembles a mullet dredge used by sailfish tournament anglers.
If you're not familiar with the Alabama Rig, it consists of a hard center (sometimes made of lead or ceramic material) that protrudes 5 wires with swivels attached to the ends. The fisherman's main line ties to the center piece and the lures attach to the snap swivels. A number of companies are already producing the rig with various materials in slightly differing configurations. Expect the hardware alone to cost about $30.
This video details the Alabama Rig:
The success of the bait isn't surprising. This rig is vibrant and attractive when bass are schooled together—it's a bait ball practically. Anglers, so far, have attached plastic swimbaits, curly tails, grubs and frogs to the swivels, usually rigged weedless or with jigheads. Rig the bottom lure with a slightly heavier weight to prevent line twisting. Double hookups are not uncommon for anglers throwing the rig, plus single-hookups usually have the fish snagged to a couple different hooks.
But for all of its positive press, there are definite tackle-rigging considerations. Florida Sportsman members have already started a discussion mulling over its positives and negatives. Be careful where you fish this rig as some tournaments and even some states have outlawed the use of these umbrella-style rigs.
If you decide to throw the rig, tackle up with a stout 7- to 8-foot baitcasting rod laced with heavy braided line. The hefty tackle handles the casting and retrieving of a cumbersome rig that has more metal than your kid's braces. Try throwing the rig first in deep water to see what depth the baits swim. And hold on, when you get bit or snag weeds, your wrists will feel it! FS