The umbrella rig is one of my primary winter time baits. Actually it's 5 baits on one rig consisting of a head and 5 wires with swivels on the end of each wire. The original model was produced over 3 years ago by Manns Bait Company and is called the Alabama Rig, since then many other companies have come out with their own rigs. My personal favorite rigs to use no matter what brand are those that not only have 5 baits when fully rigged, but are also built with a blade on each of the 4 outside wires. The blades add extra flash and vibration, this is deadly for lethargic bass that need a little extra persuading in order to make them eat. There are a few different baits I like to use on my rig. The first is the Zman ElaZtech DieZel MinnowZ. The DieZel MinnowZ is a small profile slender swim bait that has a paddle tail which gives the bait incredible action. At 4 inches long it is a perfect cold water shad imitation and with 18 colors to choose from you will be able to match the hatch no matter where you are fishing. Now there are times when bigger baits might be necessary, for example if I’m fishing at a lake such as Lake Guntersville, I like to use 5 larger swimbaits such as the 6 inch Zman SwimmerZ. The bigger bait is going to be a better option for the simple fact that the average bass and baitfish at a trophy bass lake like Guntersville are going to be bigger than those in other lakes across the country. To keep selecting the proper size and color simple just focus on two key factors, what is the water clarity and how big is the average baitfish in the specific lake you are fishing. I rig my smaller 4 inch swimbaits on Gamakatsu Darter jig heads and I select my jig head weight based on the depth I am going to be targeting. My rule of thumb is, 1/8oz for 12ft or les, 3/8oz for 12-18ft, and 1/4oz for anything deeper than that. For my larger swimbaits I love the Zman JigheadZ. They have larger hooks and are offered in weights from 1/8oz to 3/8oz. Often the key to catching fish on the rig is letting it hit and drag on the bottom, so make sure you use jig heads that allow you to do that. When I'm fishing my rig I look for three main ingredients. One is bait fish, two is the wind, and three is an area of the lake that I know has a good population of bass such as a specific creek, deep pocket, or main river point. If you find those three things and work your bait properly through the school of fish you will be amazed at the success you can have while fishing with an umbrella rig.
I’ll see you on the water!!!