The versatility of an Alabama rig makes it ideal for coaxing wintertime bass into biting. The multi-wired Alabama rig gives you the option of throwing swimbaits or plastic grubs in various sizes and color, plus you can alter the weight of the rig by using jigheads in various weights. The rig can also be effectively at various depths in the water column to catch suspended bass or bottom-hugging fish.
The multiple swimbaits attached to the Alabama rig gives the illusion of a smorgasbord meal that a lethargic big bass can feast on in one gulp to fill its stomach for a couple of days.
Cloudy winter days with a slight breeze and water clarity of 3 to 5 feet are ideal conditions for throwing the Alabama rig. Key spots to throw the A-rig for wintertime bass are bluff ends, channel swings next to bluffs, deep docks along channel swings and brush piles on main and secondary points.
State laws vary on how many hooks you can have on one line so make sure to check your state’s fishing regulations to see how many lures with hooks you can attach to your Alabama rig. The standard A-rig is equipped with five wires for adding lures.
Winter Fishing Means Changing Things Up
The A-rig allows you to mix or match the brands, colors and sizes of the swimbaits for your umbrella rig. If you mix the sizes of your baits, put the largest swimbait on the center wire and attach the smaller swimbaits on the surrounding wires to keep the rig balanced and prevent it from rolling during the retrieve.
Ball-shaped jigs in the 1/8-ounce size are ideal for the swimbait because the jigs allow the rig to fall slowly and can be retrieved at a medium speed for suspended bass at mid-depths of the water column. The rig with 1/8-ounce jigheads can also be fished slower along the bottom in deep water.
The Best Rods For Alabama Rig Fishing
A 7 1/2-foot flipping stick, like the Googan Squad Muscle Rod is my choice for throwing the cumbersome A-rig. I prefer a low-speed (5.2:1 gear ratio) baitcast reel to increase torque when I winching this heavy rig. I spool my reel with 65-pound braid line for fishing the rig in stained to murky water or 25-pound monofilament for clear water.
Slow And Steady
The A-rig can be retrieved a couple of ways to tempt sluggish wintertime bass. After scanning your electronics to determine the depth of the fish, make your cast past the fish and count down the rig until it reaches the desired depth. Start with a slow steady retrieve, but if this fails to produce a strike try stopping and pausing the rig for a couple of seconds. Pausing your retrieve sometimes triggers a strike from bass that have been following the rig.
Bass will sometimes hit an Alabama rig two or three times during a retrieve so be patient with your hookset. If you feel slight jerks on the rig wait until the rig stops vibrating and your line gets heavy before setting the hook to get a solid connection with the fish.
Watch How To Rig An Umbrella Rig
Feature image photo credit: Bassin’ Bill Matthews
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