The Alabama rig, aka A-rig, debuted in 2012 after a pro bass fishermen used it to win a big tournament on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. Now, it’s used on almost every lake where it’s legal, mostly by fishermen targeting largemouth bass. However, striped bass love to bust a bait ball, too, according to guide Mitchell Blake, who has been breaking ground with it ever since.
Alabama rigs are basically miniature umbrella rigs, which are much larger and originally trolled for striped bass off the New England coast using wire line. They gravitated to other saltwater species and were also a hit when trolled for landlocked freshwater stripers. Alabama rigs are small enough to be cast and retrieved with conventional tackle.
Blake uses A-rigs he builds himself.
“I started using lighter wire while trying to make an A-rig that would catch speckled trout,” he said. “What I found is that lighter wire creates an undulating motion that adds to the action and effectiveness of the swimbaits.”
Despite its smaller diameter, this rig still stands up to the rigors of striped bass attacks, and Blake tests it often.
“The A-rig targets larger stripers in the 10- to 15-pound class and handles them with no problem,” he said.
Most of Blake’s rigs are made with three or four arms attached by snap swivels to a jigheads between 1/8- and 1/2-ounce onto which are threaded 5-inch Yee Haw swimbaits.
“I use a different color bait on each jighead to find out which color they prefer that day,” he said.