The Alabama Rig

Ever wonder where bass go during the winter? Me too. But the reality is, they don’t go very far, literally. They are cold-blooded creatures, and they are smart. They fatten themselves up during the onset of fall because they knew what is ahead of them. Even after fattening up, they still need to eat in the winter, but they are more choosy during this time. Bass aren’t going to leave the comfort of the warm rock bed or stump field to chase something which doesn’t gain them high caloric value. Bass will, however, chase big balls of bait swimming close to their resting areas. I’m guessing, bass see a big ball of bait swim by, and with little effort run through it with their big mouth open and feast up quickly. Only to return to the warm area they left.

The A Rig

So, what do we do? Become the bait! Sure, anglers can throw huge single swimbaits and big spinnerbaits, but for some real fun, present a whole school of bait! Anglers can do this with an Alabama rig (aka the “A-Rig”). When Mr. Bass, open mouthed, runs through your bait ball, he has a 1 in 5 chance to get hooked.

There are several different versions of the A-Rig, and all fisherman have their favorite. I’m no exception. I fish with my spouse, Troy, and we often compete against each other from the same boat with two different brands. Mine is the Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. and Troy  uses Shane’s Baits Mini Blades of Glory. I rig mine with 20lb fluorocarbon line on a Powell Endurance 7’6 Med Heavy rod. A-Rigs are a heavy bait, much like trying to cast a wet beach towel. So, I depend on this rod to control the bait and get it as far or as close as I want. I rig the four outer arms of my Yumbrella with 1/16th-ounce jig heads with white 3.5 Yum Pulse Swimbaits, and the center arm gets a slightly larger 4.5.

Troy uses a similar rod with 20lb Silverthread fluorocarbon. Same jig heads but with 3.5 Keitech Easy Shiner on all arms.

In the world of A-Rigs, these are more compact and easily used where larger rigs can’t. As a general rule, A-Rigs are open water, bait chasing type baits. However, when it comes to bass fishing, anglers must think outside the box — these two rigs fish well in shallower water, along docksides, and in tighter spaces. For instance, anglers can cast into a foot of water, then turn around and cast out to a deep break without ever changing baits.

I must remind myself, bass use channels like we use highways. The places bass hang out off the channels are like neighborhoods. Bass continually revisit these same places year after year. Bass jump on their highways to get fast food and then quickly return to the safety of the neighborhood. In the winter, bass do not like to expel a ton of energy, so I revisit places I know they reside and pick it apart. These smaller A-Rigs are ideal for this. Typically, anglers can move through one area “being the bait” and pick up 1 to 5 fish in a single cast. Be ready for a day of fun! Now go catch a bass.

Girl Gone Fishing,
Michelle Armstrong

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