I was hoping it would happen. It did, and that's fine by me.
The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society has followed the recommendation of their rules committee and outlawed Alabama rigs for practice and tournaments.
To bring you up to date, Alabama rigs became the new rage in fishing when Paul Elias won a Bassmaster Elite Series event utilizing an Alabama rig last October. Alabama, or umbrella rigs, consist of five wires leading from a single jighead. A lure is attached to each of the five wires.
File Photo - - Alabama rigs, sometimes called umbrella rigs, have proven successful for bass fishermen. Multiple catches on a single cast are common.
One comment heard by the rules committee was that "the fish can't help themselves" when an umbrella rig is pulled through the water mimicking a school of baitfish. Elias proved the rig ridiculously effective en route to his big win and $100,000 payday. Sales of Alabama rigs immediately went off the charts. Plenty of anglers wanted them. The few manufacturers producing them couldn't keep up with demand.
I believe the concept for the multi-lure rigs came from saltwater anglers who routinely use multiple presentations when trolling for large gamefish such as marlin. It is not surprising that enterprising freshwater fishermen could see the advantages and find a way to implement them. As successful as the enticing rigs are, they were not always legal. Most states, including North Dakota, have long had rules prohibiting multi-lure presentations on a single line. That's a good thing.
B.A.S.S. officials agreed that "one rod, one reel, one lure" is the accepted method of sportfishing. I agree. Bassmaster Elite Series rules also no longer permit double jerkbait rigs, jigs used as weights on drop shot rigs, double topwater setups or any other presentation considered a multi-lure rig. In other words, they are telling fishermen to get back to basic fishing and quit looking for ways around the rules.
To many, the essence of fishing is finding fish and finding a lure presentation that will work at a certain depth, water clarity or at a certain speed. When an angler gets all the variables to come together successfully, he takes great satisfaction in the catch. That is a big contrast to the guy who tosses out an umbrella rig and reels in a three- or five-fish limit on a single cast. That's how effective the Alabama rig has been documented to be.
Like other fishermen intrigued by the success of umbrella rigs, I've been trying to learn from the rig's effectiveness. If it works on bass it certainly would work on other fish. Certainly five flashy baits are better than one on most days. It is something to think about when choosing lures. Sometimes flash is everything -- maybe the only thing.
Ever stare into the water along the shoreline and see a small flash like sunlight reflecting off a mirror? Closer observation will usually reveal a school of minnows swimming past, some flashing their bright undersides as they turn to feed. Predator fish are programmed to react to those tiny flashes. Crankbaits should be chosen accordingly.
Obviously Alabama rigs can reflect five times what a single lure can do. Or, in the case of tipping them with swimbaits, put five times the movement in the water. Is it any wonder that fish respond? Salmon fishermen routinely use flashers above their lures. They do so because it works.
The lesson here is, I think, is that it is important to pay close attention to the action of any crankbait you toss into the water. Sometimes it is the motion of the crankbait, wide or tight, that seems to trigger fish. At other times it may be the flash. If an angler can find a lure that puts the two together, I would think that's as good as it gets.
I enjoy trying out new lures as much as anyone, but I do hope sportfishing doesn't go beyond the "one rod, one reel, one lure" concept. I think that's the way fishing is supposed to be.