Are you ready for the next big thing in bass fishing? It seems that every year there is a new technique or bait that hits the bass fishing scene with a vengeance. This year is no exception, 2012 will be the year of the umbrella rig. Late October 2011 Guntersville Alabama, Paul Ellias seals a FLW Tour win with a four day total of 102lbs 8oz. every fish was caught on the “Alabama Rig” from that point forward there has been a frenzy of activity from tackle vendors and fisherman alike trying to figure out what to do about this years “next big thing”.
So, for Oklahoma Fisherman what does this new rig mean for us, will this method work here in the Sooner State? Is it legal? What gear do I need? What baits work best?
All questions that I think everybody had after first hearing about this technique.
First things first. Does this method work in Oklahoma? The answer is a resounding YES, if you have any reservations about this method throw them out the window and get one of these rigs tied on now. We have had more reports of big fish(and I mean truly BIG fish) being caught this year than any other year since Bass Pro Shops has been here in Oklahoma, and yes the 5 wire rig is legal in Oklahoma; however, please consult regulations if you are fishing out of state, several states limit the rig to 3 hooks.
Gear – This rig is not for the feint of heart, after loading up all five snaps you could very well have several ounces of weight tied to the end of your line and your gear needs to be selected accordingly. 7 to 8 foot rods in medium-heavy to heavy actions are the rule, paired with a reel that can handle braided line in the 50 to 65 pound range. This line might seem like overkill at first but you will be thankful for it when you get snagged up and are able to straighten out your hooks or pop a snap free to save your rig.
As far as baits are concerned your only limit is your imagination. Most people we are talking with are using hollow body type swimbaits with a weighted swimbait hook or similar baits with lead heads and exposed hooks. Other people are using swim flukes, sassy shads, grubs, or pre-rigged type swimbaits. The thing is when you consider these bait options, size options, color options and rigging options you have hundreds of potential fish catching possibilities depending on the type of water you are fishing and what kind of mood the fish are in on any given day.
The best advice I have heard so far is to treat this rig as if you are fishing a big spinner bait. Vary your retrieve until you get a reaction from the fish. Try slow rolling it in deeper water, try burning it across the top, if you are feeling lucky try banging it into structure and cross your fingers you don’t get hung up. Most importantly hold on, because this rig seems to attract the big ones and when it happens you wan to be ready.
If you have any questions or want to hear the latest “Big Fish” story, drop by the fishing department here at your Oklahoma City bass Pro Shops.