The Umbrella Rig Basics: Make it Rain Bass

Wesley Littlefield

Umbrella rigs can help you significantly by mimicking a small bait ball, ultimately piquing a fish’s curiosity and luring them to your lure. 

The umbrella rig, or the Alabama rig, is a creation from Andy Poss[1], who started the inventing process in 2011. 

The wire rig looks exactly like its name, with five angled wires poking out from its base, similar to the skeleton of an umbrella. 

Fish cannot resist these fishing lures, and they worked so well that two U.S. bass fishing competitions banned their use. 

If you want to increase your fish-catching frequency as an angler, here is some helpful information on umbrella rigs and how to use them. Community Coordinator Wesley Littlefield shows you how to rig and fish the A-Rig in this YouTube video!

When To Fish an Umbrella Rig

umbrella rig for bass fishing

You can use umbrella fishing rigs in various depths, water clarities, and saltwater or freshwater.

With this in mind, you’ll probably need different weights and colors of soft plastic swimbaits to adjust to the various situations you’re fishing in. 

You can cast your umbrella rig from various places, such as docks, the shore, and boats.

The best time of year to use an umbrella rig is in the fall when temperatures start dropping, up to early spring. 

During these colder months, bass move to deep open water and feed on shad. Stripers, striped bass, and black bass, in particular, become sluggish from the cold, and food becomes less available.

How To Fish Umbrella Rigs For Bass

Largemouth and smallmouth are two of the most popular game fish. However, you’ll need specific gear when getting ready to catch them using an umbrella rig.

You’ll need the right tackle as you’re getting ready for your bass fishing trip. Umbrella rigs can get a little heavy, especially when you cast them. So, you’ll need a good medium-heavy or heavy-power fishing rod. 

You should also use the following:

low-gear atio reel for bass fishing
  • Strong braided fishing line with a fluorocarbon leader
  • A low-gear ratio reel
  • High-quality swivels
  • Jig heads
  • Your favorite curly tail grub, swimbait, or fluke

Before you even begin fishing, you should find where the bass congregate. Using the best fish finder to locate them might be beneficial if you can’t physically see them. 

Not only will this device help you find congregating fish, but it can offer you helpful information such as tracking your location and water depth.

Using an umbrella rig for the first time can be a little frustrating and difficult, but with practice, you’ll eventually get the hang of it. 

To fish with umbrella rigs for bass, you’ll need to first attach the swimbaits and spread apart the wires, so they don’t tangle. 

When you’re set-up, cast your rig and try out a few methods when reeling it back in. Slow retrieval is good for bass, as they’re on the slower side when it’s cold.

Slowly trolling the rig through their area will give them a reason to bite what looks like a school of baitfish. 

You could also throw some pauses in there to help antagonize the fish to bite.

Don’t troll a rig through the water too quickly, as this will deter the slow-moving fish from wanting to chase it. You’ll have to try out methods to see which one works best for you. 

There is no one-size-fits-all catching method. 

Types of Umbrella Rigs

umbrella rigs types - umbrella rig with 5 arms and umbrella rig with 3 arms

All types of umbrella rigs tend to work the same way. However, they may look a little different pertaining to the following:

  • Number of arms
  • Length of arms
  • The rig head
  • The weight of the rig, depending on the materials

Smaller and lighter umbrella rigs, such as the Yum Yumbrella Ultralight Flash Mob, are easier to cast but glide through the water faster. 

One of the best umbrella rigs for bass would probably be a five-armed umbrella rig with arms on the longer side, which is one of the heavier rigs, so it’ll give the bass time to chase it as it moves slowly through the water.

Best Lures For Umbrella Rigs

soft plastic swimbait

Here are some of the best soft plastics for umbrella rigs.

Using these three swimbaits or a mixture will help make your A-rig appear more like a pod of swimming baitfish.

3 Tips For Mastering Umbrella Rigs For Bass

Here are some tips to use when bass fishing with your umbrella rig.

Change Your Retrieving Style Often

Bass are more likely to strike at the umbrella rig when you change up your movements, as they are predators.

A Steady retrieve works for catching bass, but sometimes they want a slight variation, like random pauses and speed changes. 

Practice Often

Umbrella rigs are hard to use at first. Try out different swimbait sizes, weights, retrieval speeds, and fishing spots. Keep practicing, and you’ll learn what works best.

Once you get the hang of it, you can catch a lot of big fish.

Don’t Drag the Rig Across the Bottom

While bass tend to hang out on the bottom of bodies of water, the Alabama rig is more likely to get snagged when you drag it along the bottom.

So you can allow the rig to hit the floor when you cast, but keep it at least six inches to a foot above the bottom in the water column when retrieving. 

Final Thoughts

Umbrella rig fishing will take time to learn. You should try different umbrella rigs, casting, and retrieving methods to see what you like best and what works best for you. 

Use an umbrella rig to increase your angling chances of catching a fish in the cold months.

Do you think umbrella rigs should be banned in fishing tournaments?

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