Fishing for the answer? Alabama Rig growing in popularity

Fishing for the answer? Alabama Rig growing in popularity

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 3:00 pm

I mentioned last week that I would touch on the new bait that is taking the bass fishing world by storm — the Alabama Rig.
This bass bait actually falls under the same category as a “umbrella rig” in some aspects.
What brought all of this on and notoriety is a tournament that was won by veteran bass fishing professional Paul Elias, followed up by a national championship win by another bass pro (Dan Morehead) the following week on a different body of water.
Elias fished — leading from start to finish — and claimed a check worth $100,000 while fishing a bass tournament last fall on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. This lake is known to be one of the best and the Alabama Rig helped in proving that. Paul’s four-day total weight was 102 pounds, 8 ounces.
Then, the following week about 150 miles to the north on a different lake (Kentucky Lake), Morehead won the FLW Stren National Championship held out of the Paris Landing State Park Marina located on Kentucky Lake. Dan’s four-day total weight was 61 pounds, 4 ounces. This very tournament, eight out of the top 10 on the final day used the Alabama Rig bait.
It all boils down to a single bait that can hold up to five individual bass baits or any lure you would like to fish with. The only thing is, this lure is somewhat illegal in state of Tennessee.
Here is what the Tennes-see law says: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency would like to clarify the existing regulation concerning all apparatus classified as umbrella rigs for fishing. TWRA is taking this proactive step in the best interest of the entire fishing community.
Umbrella rigs can be legally fished in Tennessee waters as long as they comply with the regulation as described in the proclamation. An umbrella rig is defined as an array of more than three artificial lures or baits (with or without hooks) used by a single rod and reel combination. Each blade of a spinner bait would be considered a lure. If the hook sizes are 8 or smaller, all lures or baits may have hooks (single, double or treble).
If any hooks on the umbrella rig are hook size 6 or larger, then only one lure or bait in the array may have a hook and that hook must be a single hook.
The Alabama Rig can legally be fished in Tennessee waters following the restrictions set forth for umbrella rigs. If an angler reduces the number of baits attached to the Alabama Rig to three or less it would not meet the definition of an umbrella rig and could be fished with any size or style of hook.
“We didn’t just make this regulation up to ban the Alabama Rig in Tennessee. It’s been on the books for almost 10 years,” said TWRA chief of fisheries Bobby Wilson. “In effect since 2002, it was established over concerns about catching too many fish at the same time and foul hooking large sport fish, primarily striped bass and hybrid striped bass.”
One of the primary goals of the TWRA is to protect Tennessee’s resources on behalf of all its residents and non-residents alike. While protecting resources is TWRA’s No. 1 responsibility, in doing so it also wants to promote tourism plus enhance business initiatives. Having clear, well-defined regulations help create such an environment. The agency, in conjunction with local governments, welcomes individual fishermen as well as national, regional and local fishing organizations, regardless of angling species preference to enjoy fishing on Tennessee’s waters. These baits can be rigged to its fullest potential when fished in Kentucky and Alabama waters.
I have one of these baits myself and plan to try the thing out. Many of my friends who have already tested this bait say it will do everything they said it would do and that is catch bass. I have not had mine in the water yet and plan to do so this upcoming fishing year.
To find out more about this Alabama Rig, I suggest simply going into a search engine on your computer and type in Alabama Rig. You will find out all you want and even see what the bait looks like.
A pretty good cool-down has taken place for our area but nothing like what we have seen in recent years at this time. Looks like for the next several weeks we will experience more cool-downs that will last longer in time with the length time of the cold weather.
I continue to talk to several hunters from around the area who are mixed luck. It seems that several blinds on Reelfoot Lake in the past week and a half are doing well; others, not so good. I have also talked with folks who are hunting in Arkansas and they are having good hunts.
This all still boils down to the number of waterfowl we have in our area and now with the season getting ever so close to being over, the outlook does look a little better if weather has been the problem.
The bulk of the late-season migration continues to be north of this area.
While the bulk of migrating waterfowl are and have been on their southernmost wintering grounds, the absence of duck-moving weather continues to hamper hunter success in most areas except coastal hotspots.
Just how odd is this year’s migration? According to waterfowler.com and other waterfowl surveys, in Illinois, mallards are nearly six times the five-year average and the duck season has been out for nearly a month. Of the four flyways, the Atlantic Flyway has struggled the most during these unseasonable temperatures. In short, in a year where a record number of birds are migrating, hunter success is at all-time lows in many areas and late season states are not experiencing the success the upper Central and Mississippi Flyways did during the onset of the season.
While the hunting may not be easy in the south and our area, there are still birds to be had. Filling the strap will take extra time, scouting and tenacity. You can wait for arctic winds and very cold temps that may never come or play the hand that’s been dealt.
But at the end, there is never a bad day of fishing, hunting or being in the outdoors. It for sure beats most anything else.
CENTRAL FLYWAY
Goose hunting remains good to excellent in eastern Colorado and Nebraska. Mallard numbers are on the rise in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma with hunter success improving over previous weeks. Bird numbers along the Gulf Coast remain substantially above aver and hunter success is good to excellent at this time.
MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY
A substantial number of mallards remain scattered across Iowa and northern Illinois and portions of the upper Mississippi River. Mallard numbers in Arkansas increased over previous weeks in localized areas with hunter success good to excellent. Duck numbers are up in central Indiana and the Ohio River Valley. In Louisiana, duck numbers remain good to excellent on all species except mallards.
On Monday, my dad and one of his fishing buddies, Jimmy King of Tiptonville, had a pretty decent day in catching crappie — and weather for that matter. They managed to catch close to their limit with most being caught on minnows.
Also on Monday, Austin Hopper and Kelsey Reed, both of the Obion County area, kept 41 crappie fishing Reelfoot Lake.
On Tuesday, Larry Isbell and Gene Crabtree both of Obion County kept 40 while fishing up on Kentucky Lake.
Most of this fish were caught on a variety of different baits.
Other reports of several crappie being caught but not everyone being as lucky. Knowing the lake and past experience on Reelfoot helps during this time of year and the way the bite has been.
Johnson Outdoors Inc., the parent company of Humminbird electronics, has announced in a press release earlier this week it’s reached a settlement in its suit against Navico involving Humminbird’s patented Side Imaging technology. In the suit that was filed in early 2010, Johnson Outdoors claimed that Lowrance (a Navico subsidiary) infringed on the Side Imaging patent with its StructureScan technology. The press release stated that the companies have mutually agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.
Coming up on Feb. 3, 4 and 5, the Eighth Annual Eagle Festival will be taking place down at Reelfoot Lake.
You are invited to come out and join in on the festival during this weekend event.
There will be guided bus and van tours two times per day for the rate of $5 per person.
This will allow you to have chances to view the majestic Bald Eagle nesting or anywhere else around the lake.
Reelfoot Lake is known for one of the largest populations of Bald eagles anywhere in the United States outside of Alaska. That Saturday the 4th, John Stokes will be featured speaker with a live birds of prey program.
For more information, you can contact the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council at (731) 253-2007 or email them at visit@reelfoottourism.com.
Reservations are required for the bus or van tours and for that call (731) 253-9652 or 538-2277.
I want to remind each of you that if have any photos, outdoor information or anything else pertaining to the outdoors and want to share it with others, give me a call or email me and we will put it in the paper for you. My number is (731) 446-3678 or brentcallicott@gmail.com.
Thanks for reading and til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Brent

Published in The Messenger 1.13.12

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