Fishing The Alabama Rig In Illinois

Mel Hedrick discussing tips and tricks for fishing local waters

“So is the Alabama Rig legal to use in Illinois?” During the Bolingbrook Bass Pro Shops Fishing Classic this past weekend I probably heard that question a few hundred times. Well according to the Illinois DNR, the Alabama or Umbrella rig may be used on rivers and lakes that do not have 2 pole and 2 line restrictions with the exception of the Mississippi river between Iowa and Illinois where it may not be used at all. Waters designated as 2 pole and 2 line restricted will require a modification to the rig. That modification is simple; just attach a willow leaf spinner blade to 3 of the wires in place of the hooks. So basically your modified rig will consist of 3 spinners and 2 swim baits with hooks. So yes the Alabama Rig is legal to use, however, you always need to remember to check the rules and regulations for every body of water that you plan on using it at.

The Alabama Rig is a very effective tool for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass, especially if the fish are suspended in the water column in open water. Use your electronics to locate schools of shad and bass to narrow your choices of where you should be throwing your rig. Remember to use a slow steady retrieve after counting it down to the depth that you have located the fish. Erratic retrieves or jigging the rig will more often than not cause your baits and line to entangle. The tackle you will need to throw this rig with should be designed for handling heavyweight baits as these baits tend to weigh 3-4 ounces. My recommendation would be to use a 7 ½’ flippin stick with 6.3:1 ratio baitcaster and at least 65# braid. You might need this kind of power if you have a couple of 5 pound hogs hammer this bait at the same time!

So if you don’t own one yet and you are interested in learning more about it, stop by the Bolingbrook Bass Pro Shops store and pick one up. If you guys have any questions about using this rig just ask! I’ll answer any question you might have. Tight lines and see ya on the water!

~Mel Hedrick