By Gary Dobyns
GYCB National Pro Staff
December 6, 2011
There are lots of ways to catch fish. Occasionally, something new like the “Alabama Rig” comes along to peak our interest. Is it a fad or a new technique that is here to stay? Will the fish become quickly conditioned to it and become wary? We won’t know this for a year or two, which is the same with any new technique.
When I first saw it, I recall thinking jerkbait fishing was the craziest technique to date. Throw the flashiest bait you could find, jerk and pause a time or two and catch one. It was about that easy. The latest big craze ( before this new ‘Bama Rig) has been swimbait fishing. When we first started throwing the big baits, it was stupid easy.
The Alabama Rig got national attention because of a big win which is how many popular techniques got their start. Heck, even Senkos got their jump start at a BASS event at Clear Lake in Northern California. But unlike the Senko, flipping, or jerkbait fishing, the Alabama Rig has some special issues. The first is variations in state-to-state regulations. Here in California, we are allowed only three baits with hooks on a line at one time. I’ve been told some states limit you to two baits per line. This is the first issue the new rig will have to overcome. Is it legal in your waters? Some states let you use “teasers”. These are baits with no hooks and are legal so far here in California. The guys throwing the FIVE rig “Umbrella” simply have to put two baits on with no hooks to be legal. It’s being done here in California and already has tournament wins to its credit here.
There are tournament circuits all around the U.S. right now making this technique illegal for their events. Most all tournament organizations will review this subject before next season begins. There are some rumors floating around that it will be illegal on some of our biggest stages.
I believe there are several reasons:
- Laws vary differently from state to state.
- Many waters border a couple one or more states which could pose a problem.
- Many laws, the way they are written, are open to interpretation.
We have some very creative fishermen out there. Some feel that throwing a rig that allows you to catch three or four bass on one cast is simply not good for our sport. Some organizations simply will not want to deal with all the questions, hassles, and protests involved with this rig. Did that guy really have two “unhooked” teasers on that rig or all live with hooks? It’s impossible to tell across a cove as an angler is tossing it. I can imagine there will be many protests. The sport does not need added negativity.
How about this: .I know an angler who is making a spreader rig to drag FIVE jigs behind his boat and another that loves to Senko fish and is working on a spreader of some kind so he can fish five Senkos at a time. The Yamamoto folks will love this one. How far, exactly, is the Alabama Rig going to take us?
Personally, I like it. I’ve always been a chuck and wind guy. Now I can catch two, three, or four on a cast … I love it. However, I really do see a lot of problems in the future for the Alabama Rig if it is involved in the sport of tournament fishing.
The tight school of baitfish that this technique imitates fools the wariest bass right now. Will they get wise? Will the Alabama Rig stay legal in state regulations? Will tournament organizations allow us to use it for the big win? Can this thing really last? Only time will tell.