When I was growing up and upgrading my fishing from using earthworms to catch goggle eyes and mud cats on Molido Creek to trying out my rod and reel on bass, it was a simple matter.
Would I tie on a Hawaiian Wiggler or a River Runt? If the bass were hitting on top, maybe a Dalton Special or Lucky 13 would be the ticket.
For sure, things were much simpler back then. Over the years, I've added the latest thing to my tackle box to the point that my one box the size of a loaf of bread wouldn't hold it all. Last time I checked, I had at least a dozen tackle boxes; one for spinner baits, one for crank baits, one for topwater lures, one for plastic worms et al.
The hottest new bass fishing rig today is turning heads and causing some eyebrows to be raised. It catches fish for sure, but is it ethical to use? There are obvious concerns regarding ethics to the point that the big daddy Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) has outlawed the use of the rig in its tournaments.
The rig I'm speaking of is the so-called Alabama Rig. For years, saltwater anglers have used a "parachute" or "umbrella" rig to troll with success for big striped bass. An idea began forming in the mind of Alabaman Andy Poss; he dreamed up a similar rig for largemouth bass that could be cast instead of trolled. He put some together, calling his invention the "Alabama Rig", introduced them to pro bass angler, Paul Elias, who gave the rig a try in a bass tournament. Elias lapped the field with over 100 pounds of bass, and the bass fishing world took notice.
The Alabama rig features a hard body to which five wire arms are extended down and outward at angles to prevent tangling. Think of the mobiles often used over a baby's crib with a little doo-hickey attached to each wire and you begin to get the picture.
To each wire arm, a swivel is attached and the lures, all five of them, snap into individual swivels. The most popular lures used when fishing the Alabama rig are soft plastic swim baits although crank baits, grubs or small spinner baits can be used.
Fishing regulations in place in the states of Minnesota and Tennessee make the use of this rig illegal. Also, BASS has determined that the rig will be disallowed for use by anglers fishing their tournaments. The Alabama rig, though, can be used in other states and unless specifically noted, in other bass tournaments. Recreational anglers in the other 48 states can legally fish with them.
Anglers who have given the Alabama rig a test drive have noticed that the rig performs best when used with a medium-heavy 8 foot rod. You don't cast it as you would a single lure; you lob it and you bring it in on a steady retrieve. Heavy line is a must and most recommend 65 to 80 pound test braided line as the way to go.
A word to the wise is to try your best not to hang it up on an underwater obstruction. The rig itself without the baits sells from $15 to $20 each and five lures that are attached could run another $35 to $40. Breaking an Alabama rig off could set the angler back as much as $60. Talk about taking the fun out of a fishing trip.
Greg Terzia, owner of Greg Terzia's Bait and Tackle in Ruston, sells the Alabama rig but has yet to give it a try himself.
"I have talked with some fishermen who have used the rig and one guy told me that he fished around the bridge on Black Lake and tore the bass up with it," said Terzia.
Will the Alabama rig take its place right up there with the plastic worm, or will it eventually end up on the trash heap with the Banjo Minnow? I suppose time will tell but in the meantime, it looks like I may need one more tackle box, just to be on the safe side.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.