Fishing the Perfect Storm? Don't Forget Your Umbrella - Rig
Jerry Rago: While Jerry Rago’s spreader rig is certainly not the first to hit store shelves, it is the first we saw in person. It features a composite head that connects al the arms already pre-spread so there is no bending or reconfiguring necessary or even possible. The only odd thing about this rig is the center arm is considerably shorter than the for spread arms and the one product we purchased came with swivels but no snaps at the end of the swivels. We installed split rings, but for better flexibility, we recommend replacing the stock swivels with some type of snap swivel.
Jerry Rago joined the
fray with his interpretation featuring a composite head that holds the arms apart right out of the package.
The only awkward thing with the one we purchased is it came with swivels at the end of the arms, but no snaps. We attached split rings to facilitate the addition of baits.
Power Tackle: Power Tackle’s approach to the umbrella rig phenomenon is to also start with a shad shaped head but one that is much larger than that of the Mann’s product. This one is closer in size to the Jerry Rago
product but far thinner and more streamlined. The wires of this bait, out of the
package are all in one straight, vertical line making it a bit easier to adjust
into the desired spread, but for those with a bit of obsessive compulsive
disorder, the rig feels a bit unbalanced once adjusted, this is all perception. Once rigged up, it swims fine.
Power Tackle uses a flat composite head to hold their five wires together.
Unlike everyone else, Power Tackle's array of wires are all held in a straight line making it a bit easier to separate and spread out to your desired configuration.
The interesting feature of this rig is how Power Tackle decided to end each of the arms. Instead of looping the ends like everyone else, and fixing a snap swivel of their choosing to the end, Power Tackle fashioned their own duolock style snap at the end of each arm to which they installed an actual duolock snap swivel. If you don’t like their snap swivel, you can easily take it out and insert your own. This is very convenient for custom rigging.
Power Tackle also makes it easier to customize each arm with your own choice of snap swivel combos if you choose.
Picasso: Once a subdivision of Tru Tungsten, Picasso is now again independent and producing their popular jig head and bladed bait products. They enter the umbrella rig
fray with a rig featuring their familiar spinnerbait head design only this one appears to be made of tin or some other light composite.
Despite the size of the head on this rig, the overall weight of the Picasso umbrella rig is only three eighths of an ounce. It features the standard eighteen gauge wires, each finished at about five inches from the base of the head.
Recognize this head design? Yes, Picasso is back!
And yes, they have a version of the Umbrella Rig as well.
Swarmbrella: Heads and Tails Lure Company is a small jighead bait product
manufacturer out of New York. They are making one of the more affordable, no frills bass fishing umbrella rigs available on the market today. These $12 rigs feature a small, shad shaped head made of lead and 5 18 gauge stainless steel wire arms measuring five and seven eighths (5 7/8) inches in length. This rig is small, but thanks to the lead head, it weighs three quarters of an ounce out of the package.
Little known company, Heads and Tails is making the Swarmbrella that sells for only $12.
The Swarmbrella has a standard 5 arm array and comes stock with these duolock snap swivels.
These are but a small sample of the number of umbrella rig options available in the market today and the actual rig is only part of the equation. On the packaging for the Mann’s Alabama Rig, the manufacturer describes a number of different uses for their product ranging from crankbaits, to frogs, to spinnerbaits and of course, soft plastics. Creature Fever anyone? But the most common bait to place at the end this rig are the soft bodied paddletail swimbait bodies like
those from Basstrix, Netbait, Reaction Strike, Strike King, Yum, and Hippo
Tackle, just to name a few.
If you're fishing swimbait bodies on your umbrella rig, don't forget to choose appropriately sized jigheads.
Rigging a group of paddletail swimbaits onto an umbrella rig requires the use of appropriately size and weighted jig heads. The most important consideration here is to properly distribute the weight you’re adding to the rig so that it swims right. If each arm has the same total weight attached to the end of it, your rig will be prone to spinning in the water creating not only a tangled mess of baits upon your retrieve, but also twisting your line which can cause other problems later in the day.
For the decoy bodies, simply cut the hooks off your jigheads and glue the bodies onto the bait keeper.
Otherwise, use a heavier jighead on the bottom to properly keel your rig.
To avoid this problem what you want to do is weight the two bottom arms more than the top two. This way, your umbrella rig will adjust itself naturally, in the water, so that the heavier baits are on the bottom, lighter ones are on top, and the entire assembly will remain stable during your retrieve. How much weight you add exactly is up to you and dependent upon the depth you want to fish, but keep in mind, the cumulative weight of all your baits together with the umbrella rig itself will have a direct impact on the tackle you’ll be able to use to throw this rig.
Stay tuned for Part 2
as we go fishing with the A Rig...