Alabama or umbrella rigs in the Missouri Ozarks
December 22, 2011
Scott Myer of Springfield, Missouri, wielded a prototype of Luck "E" Strike USA's umbrella rig a number times at Stockton Lake, Missouri, this past fall, and he was impressed with its effectiveness. Consequently, he has ordered six more of them, which he will receive in a few weeks when Luck "E" Strike will have them available for all angler to purchase at http://www.buehlersales.com/
Myer experimented with a variety of configurations of the umbrella rig. Some were garnished with six jigs; some with as many as eight jigs.
The most effective jigs weighed 1/2-ounce each.
He found that the most fruitful dressing on the 1/2-ounce jigs has been 5 1/2-inch swimbaits in a gizzard shad hue.
He works the rig on a seven-foot, medium-heavy rod and 20-pound-test Trilene XL monofilament.
Since Missouri's angling regulations limit the number of hooks that anglers can employ to three, only three of Myer's jigs and swimbaits have hooks; the rest are hookless. He says the bulk of the bass that he has landed were hooked on the swimbait in the center or middle of the rig. He has had bass strike the hookless ones, and he almost landed one of those bass.
So far, he has used it only around areas of flooded timber adjacent to creek and river channels that are embellished with schools of shad.
When his sonar pinpoints the whereabouts of a massive school of shad that looks as if it might be entertaining some black bass, Myer will either work with a vertical presentation or a horizontal one.
Throughout this past fall his favorite presentation was the horizontal one, which was accomplished by casting and swimming the rig through and around schools of shad.
Here's how he worked it: After executing a cast that landed well past a school of shad, he allowed the rig to descend to the depth of the shad. Once it fell to the correct depth, he began to rotate his reel handle and swim the rig through and above the shad. When the rig was several feet above the shad, he stopped reeling and let the line to roll off the reel so that the rig fell into and then slightly below the shad. When the rid was about a foot under the shad, he began the same scenario again until the rig inveigled a bass or two, or it was retrieved several yards beyond the school of shad.
He said the rig's effectiveness on Stockton's bass was exhibited the third time that he used it. During this short outing, it allured 34 bass of which 14 were longer than 15 inches and one was a five-pounder.
He exclaimed in an e-mail that it has been "a fun learning experience," and he is eager to experiment with it throughout the winter.
Similar to Myer, Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring, Missouri, whose methods for catching bass were posted in a December 20 blog entitled "Recreational bass fishing: How Brian Snowden fishes Table Rock Lake from January through December" has been impressed with the way that the rig works at Table Rock Lake, Missouri.
Snowden's rig and methods of using it are different than Myer's.
When Snowden is casting and retrieving his rig, it is dressed with either 1/8- or 3/16-ounce jigs. His rig consist of five jigs; thus two of them are hookless.
For the past two months, Snowden's jigs have been adorned with a variety of soft-plastics baits, such as Zoom Bait Company's four-inch Super Fluke Jr, Zoom's 3.5-inch Swimming Super Fluke Jr, Bass Pro Shops' four-inch XPS Single Tail grub or Zoom's Salty Fat Albert.
Snowden wields the rig on a seven-foot, 10-inch heavy-powered, fast-action St. Croix Legend Tournament Swim Bait casting rod with a Bass Pro Shops' Johnny Morris Signature Series Baitcast Reel with 6.4 to 1 gear ratio and spooled with 50-pound-test Bass Pro Shops' Magibraid.
Snowden has been surprised at the versatility of the rig. He notes that he and several other Table Rock Lake's bass anglers have discovered that it works incredibly well on the same shorelines that spinnerbaits do in November, which is along bluff banks that are endowed with flooded timber and wind. Likewise, they catch bass in December along 45-degree, chunk-rock and windblown shorelines on the main-lake or in a major creek arm, where Table Rock anglers often wield Storm Lures' Wiggle Warts. Snowden said what's remarkable about the umbrella rig is that it catches bass on those shorelines when the weather is sunny and calm, which he notes is extremely difficult to accomplish with a spinnerbait or Wiggle Wart.
On Table Rock's many deep-water lairs, Snowden has also caught suspended bass with it, using it the same way he works a spoon or drop-shot rig. For these deep-water bass, he has been experimenting with either five 1/4-ounce or 3/8-ounce jigs.
According to Snowden, the umbrella rig has already accounted for several tournament wins at Table Rock.
Snowden is curious to see how the Ozark's bass will react to the rig as winter continues to unfold and during the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn periods.