Paul Elias teaches Alabama Rig fishing techniques

Submitted on January 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Andy Poss, a traveling salesman from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was watching an episode of Blue Planet on his motel room television after a long day on the road. Poss, an avid bass fisherman, watched tuna charging through schools of sardines. He noted that the tuna targeted the small groups of four or five sardines that scattered from the major school and easily consumed them. He thought there might be a bass fishing application here! Poss looked to create a bass lure that could simulate shad that have been scattered or separated from the major school. After considerable trial and error, and lots of wire bending, Poss came up with the rig that allows an angler to fish five shad imitations simultaneously on each cast. The Alabama rig, also referred to as an umbrella rig (it resembles an umbrella without the skin) was born.

Paul Elias, a former Bassmaster Classic winner, has used the rig with tremendous success. Paul will be teaching his Alabama rig tactics at the Bass Techniques event at Volunteer State Community College. This event will be held on February 13, February 18, February 27 and March 6 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

Joining Elias on the instructional staff will be two other Bassmaster Classic winners, Ken Cook and George Cochran. Also instructing will be local guide and outdoorsman Joey Monteleone.

In October 2011, in an FLW event on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Elias set a major bass tournament record landing 103 pounds of bass on an Alabama rig. Controversy immediately followed. Would this lure catch so many bass that it might endanger the species? Was it sportsmanlike to present five lures at once?

Since October 2011, these questions have generally been answered, and the lure has been accepted as another bait to add to your arsenal. The lure has not decimated the species. It is legal for use on area lakes, in FLW events and in the B.A.S.S. Open tournaments. B.A.S.S. does not allow its use in the Elite Series or in the Bassmaster Classic.

Paul Elias, describes the rig this way, "it's not the secret lure that will always catch fish. Like other lures, it's a tool that has a place in your tackle box. Given the right conditions it can be the tool you should be using."

Elias states that this is a rig that definitely requires the right equipment. Paul uses a heavy 7' 11" flipping rod and a high-speed bait casting reel spooled with 65 pound braided line. People ask me, "why do you use such heavy line? Well it's not to keep the fish from breaking your line. You get hung up some with this rig and the heavy line helps you pull loose."

Paul also uses jigs ranging from 1/2 ounce down to 1/16 ounce. These usually have a 4/0 hook to which he attaches a swim bait ranging from 3 1/2" to 5" in length. He points out that even with five 1/4 ounce jig heads and swim baits the total weight of the rig could approach 3 ounces, and can be a challenge to cast. Elias says this is not a rig you just cast anywhere and everywhere. There are definite areas on any lake where the rig is most effective. Elias will cover all that in the bass techniques class at Volunteer State Community College.

To learn more about this technique and numerous others preferred by the pro instructors, call Volunteer State Community College and enroll in the course. The fee is $99 dollars for all four sessions and the phone number is 615-230-3358. More info. available online at www.BassTechniques.org.

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