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A-Jay

The Umbrella Rig Adventure ~

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The past few seasons, the mid & especially late fall bass bite for me has been all about The Blade Bait.  After reading about how & where to present them I set out fishing it.  Wow, the initial result were pleasantly surprising.  The more I fished it the more I learned about them the better the results. Since that first time out, I’ve had some very memorable days on the water bouncing one of these little guys along the bottom of the local lakes.   But it’s time for a change. 

    This fall I’m going to venture into the Umbrella rig zone.  First making a major splash in bass fishing back in 2011 when Laurel Mississippi Pro Paul Elias, better known for kneeling & reeling, used it to crush the competition on Lake Guntersville in Alabama during an FLW event.  This rig was the center of controversy and even prompted Top Level Tournament rules changes as well as many state fishing rules changes.  

 Despite all of that, I've really never done much of it to speak of and really haven’t given it a fair chance to show what it’s capable of.   Hopefully this is the year that I can make it happen.   By all accounts, I have the right water and fish to do it.   

  There is no shortage of different versions of the bait and plenty of different ways as far as tackle goes to present it. The Rigs themselves have change quite a bit from the initial introduction as well.  Can’t do or fish them all so at least half this battle has been looking for which type / style of bait to throw and what gear to throw it on.    After doing some research (reading / videos) of the material that’s applicable to this part of the country, I came across some information presented by one Mark Zona.  I do believe in his methodology regarding the A-Rig (or as he calls it “The Widow Maker”).  Z’s ideas on when, where & how to fish this chandelier of a bait appear to fit what I’m hoping to accomplish here.  

  So armed with this info & full of confidence, I set out to put together a couple of A-Rig set ups.   In an effort to at least get me heading in the right direction, and not wanting to waste prime fishing time doing the R & D, over the summer I’ve been trying different rods & reels to cast & retrieve the bait.  Line choice, either nylon or braid, seems to be a point of contention as is jig head weight.   What I did read in advance and have come to believe, even with only limited experience at this point is this: A longer handled, stout butt, soft tip stick is the way to go.  Whether using heavy nylon or braided line, a larger capacity reel is helpful.  The Z Train highly encourages 20 lb fluorocarbon line, so that’s where I’ll at least start out. 

So for the rod, I’ve tried what I have, the heaver stuff, 7’11” flippin sticks, 7’6” H action casters, and 7’6” MH Swim bait rods.   For reels I tested my swimbait reel a Calcutta 300D and smaller 200D and my standard size casting reels in various gear ratios from 5.3:1 up to 7.3:1.  Didn’t like ANY of the rods as they all felt either too big, too stiff or both.  The 300D seemed like over kill and the 200D & standard reel’s line capacity went too low on a long bomb cast.  The line has been 20 lb Seagar InvisX fluorocarbon.   

     Lastly, I tried a ST Croix Rage rod 7’6”MH & Mod Fast I’d recently purchased (2) and that I’ve been happy with as a longer jig rod.  Although only rated to 1 ¼ oz, when using the lighter A-Rig bait jig heads I planned on using (mostly 1/8 – ¼) even with the plastics I didn’t feel like the rod was taxed.  So that’s the rods I’m going with.   Mounted to them I got a pair of QUANTUM EXO PT EX200SPT 6.6:1 reels that have the  20 lb line capacity that I was looking for.    

 As for the actual Rigs & baits, I’ve got a few different brands & designs.  Some I’ll be fishing as they come and a couple I’ve modified a bit – we’ll see how that goes.   Strike King Tour Grade Titanium Umbrella Rig (short arm), will be a main player and the other models I’ll be fishing were purchased a while ago, are no long available and I unfortunately don’t remember what they are called or who made them (CRS).   SK Rage Swimmers, SK KVD Swim N Shiner, Berkley Hollow Body Baits, Reaction Innovations Skinny & Little Dipper, Z Man Scented Paddlerz & Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke will all get their chance to show me what they can do.  They will get pinned to either a VMC Flat Shad Jig Head or a VMC Boxer Jig Head. Both have Premium 1X strong needle point hooks, complete with a forged shank, hi-carbon steel construction and traditional round bend that deliver excellent hooking capabilities and comes with a decent bait keeper.   

  The Plan is, starting next trip out & until further notice, to fish the Rig in the same areas where the Blade bait scored well.  Deeper, Steeper Clean bottom zones; hopefully spots that have some bait present. 

 And so there it is – That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A-Jay

A Rig Set ups 2.jpg

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I don't think you"ll be disappointed. And while I also favor paddle tails for trailers don't be afraid to throw a grub on. I've had good results with them as well

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3 minutes ago, riverbasser said:

I don't think you"ll be disappointed. And while I also favor paddle tails for trailers don't be afraid to throw a grub on. I've had good results with them as well

Thank You for the support & the advice.

Care to share your personal Grub Preference ?

A-Jay

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You are not going to believe it but ( I´m not much of an A-rig kind of guy, besides, after 30 min of casting that old right shoulder is worn out ) I´ve had better luck with "grubs" than with paddletails, Zoom´s G Tail Ringer has performed very well for me.

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I have had success on Zoom swimmin super fluke jr's.

I have had bad luck with those SK rigs tangling, though. But I was using braid when having these problems, maybe that contributed. I've caught fish on it, but every few casts it'll come back tangled up a little, which ruins the presentation.

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13 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Thank You for the support & the advice.

Care to share your personal Grub Preference ?

A-Jay

I would have to look at the bag but I believe there BPS brand. they aren't anything special just smaller than the paddle tails I normally throw. I never have figured out the shad spawn but when I'm catching bass and they cough up the babies is when the grubs work better. 

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18 minutes ago, j bab said:

I have had success on Zoom swimmin super fluke jr's.

I have had bad luck with those SK rigs tangling, though. But I was using braid when having these problems, maybe that contributed. I've caught fish on it, but every few casts it'll come back tangled up a little, which ruins the presentation.

 

Try Sliding a 12 inch clear plastic drinking straw onto your line right are the rig tie on point.

Seems to reduce the line to rig tangles a bit whether using Nylon or braid.

A-Jay

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YUM Flash Mob Jr.  http://www.yumbaits.com/baits/yumbrella-rigs

Outside arms:  Rage Tail Menace rigged on Gamakatsu 3/0 EWG Offset Worm Hooks (no weight)

Inside arm: Johnson Silver Minnow   http://www.johnsonfishing.com/johnson-hard-bait/johnson-silver-minnow/1285602.html

Rod, reel and line:  Pinnacle Perfecta7 DHC7-761 CAHFS/ Pinnacle Primmus Xi/ #40Seaguar Smackdown with 4' Tatsu leader  http://www.bassresource.com/fishing_lures/DHC7-761-CAHFS-primmus-review.html

Best presentation: Trolling over and around structure and/or cover. Fish at the depth baitfish are holding or just off the bottom.

 

 

:fishing-026: 

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great write up, like the way u think & prepare!

hopefully get to meet u someday!

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On 9/22/2016 at 9:57 AM, Raul said:

You are not going to believe it but ( I´m not much of an A-rig kind of guy, besides, after 30 min of casting that old right shoulder is worn out ) I´ve had better luck with "grubs" than with paddletails, Zoom´s G Tail Ringer has performed very well for me.

I haven't fished them for largemouth much, but it's dynamite for spots in late winter/early spring. I've had way more success on 4" grubs than paddletails as well. 

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In California we are allowed to have 3 hooks, 1 lure with 3 trebles or 3 separate single hooks.

A-rigs with more than 3 spreader wires are allowed but only 3 hooks, so we use dummies or decoys on the other spreader wires. 

What have become popular are the smaller rigs with small willow blades as attractors like Yum Flash Mob jr and 3" to 3 1/2" Kietech minnows on jig heads.

Tom

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And there it is ~ The First U-Rig Bass.

The 20 kt ENE winds weren't making it easy but I hung in there.  Nice confidence boost too.

Because if I can make it happen in the mini-hurricane I fished in today there should be better days ahead.

29 Sept 2016 First A Rig Bass (2).png

A-Jay

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Yowser A-Jay - nice brown fish !!! :thumbsup:

I didn't see your post until just now (Saturday afternoon)...but I was thinking of this thread when I was packing gear for the boat this morning. I said to myself: "Self - you should try the u-rig again."  I had fished a 3-wire full-size Yumbrella for an hour or so a couple years ago and only got a couple dinks on it and didn't fish it much again after that. But this morning, based on the references above from @roadwarrior and @WRB, I remembered I also had a Tennessee-legal 3-wire Flash Mob Jr that I had bought and never used. Baits? I had nothing much in the way of jigheads on hand so I  grabbed a three-pack of the Storm pre-rigged swimbaits that I have had laying around forever. Got to the lake, plugged the baits onto the u-rig, and clipped it on the rod I was going to use that day for deep cranking (a coincidence A-Jay - the same rod you are using!). Picked a likely spot and tossed the rig into a couple feet of water and slow-rolled it down to the 15 ft contour line that I was fiollowing. On the 3rd cast in about 7 fow - bam - 19 inch LMB. Couple casts later - bam - 16 inch LMB. About 10 minutes later - bam - another 16 incher. Not giants but SOLID fish for my water.  After that, I hit the >20 fow part of the lake and went to a plan B.

So - THANKS A-Jay for posting this thread and giving me the motivation to try the u-rig again. Looks like I need to toss this rig a bit more in the coming days...and perhaps buy some different baits and jigheads...;)  Lots of luck involved to be on the fish so quickly this morning but no doubt the rig is effective and made them want to get one of those "school fish" for breakfast...:lol:

I was so jazzed on the first fish (19 incher) that I didn't get a photo. This was one of the 16 inchers:

2016-09-30 16in1.94lb LMB Kirkstone A-Rig.JPG

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3 hours ago, Goose52 said:

Yowser A-Jay - nice brown fish !!! :thumbsup:

I didn't see your post until just now (Saturday afternoon)...but I was thinking of this thread when I was packing gear for the boat this morning. I said to myself: "Self - you should try the u-rig again."  I had fished a 3-wire full-size Yumbrella for an hour or so a couple years ago and only got a couple dinks on it and didn't fish it much again after that. But this morning, based on the references above from @roadwarrior and @WRB, I remembered I also had a Tennessee-legal 3-wire Flash Mob Jr that I had bought and never used. Baits? I had nothing much in the way of jigheads on hand so I  grabbed a three-pack of the Storm pre-rigged swimbaits that I have had laying around forever. Got to the lake, plugged the baits onto the u-rig, and clipped it on the rod I was going to use that day for deep cranking (a coincidence A-Jay - the same rod you are using!). Picked a likely spot and tossed the rig into a couple feet of water and slow-rolled it down to the 15 ft contour line that I was fiollowing. On the 3rd cast in about 7 fow - bam - 19 inch LMB. Couple casts later - bam - 16 inch LMB. About 10 minutes later - bam - another 16 incher. Not giants but SOLID fish for my water.  After that, I hit the >20 fow part of the lake and went to a plan B.

So - THANKS A-Jay for posting this thread and giving me the motivation to try the u-rig again. Looks like I need to toss this rig a bit more in the coming days...and perhaps buy some different baits and jigheads...;)  Lots of luck involved to be on the fish so quickly this morning but no doubt the rig is effective and made them want to get one of those "school fish" for breakfast...:lol:

I was so jazzed on the first fish (19 incher) that I didn't get a photo. This was one of the 16 inchers:

2016-09-30 16in1.94lb LMB Kirkstone A-Rig.JPG

Very Cool ~  You're Welcome my friend.  Those results pale my own u-rig results so far - but I'm due. 

On the other hand, I WORE TEM OUT today with a lipless bait & a squarebill. 

Water temps at 59 and I could not get a bite on the rig.  But the hard baits were getting CHOKED.  Good times. 

I'll be posting some thing about the day in the reports thread later . 

Congrats again.

:)

A-Jay

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Interesting write up! The A/U-rig is one that I constantly struggle with confidence-wise. The research and preparation only go so far with me, once I start lugging the heap wires/baits out on the lake, it's gone.

Have you yet used rigs that have blades, and if so, any significant results?

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Just now, corn-on-the-rob said:

Interesting write up! The A/U-rig is one that I constantly struggle with confidence-wise. The research and preparation only go so far with me, once I start lugging the heap wires/baits out on the lake, it's gone.

Have you yet used rigs that have blades, and if so, any significant results?

Me too - that's why I'm making a concerted effort to give the rig a fair chance - still have some work to do.

And no blades for me - I'm starting out with & sticking to the basic rig.

A-Jay

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On September 29, 2016 at 7:03 PM, A-Jay said:

And there it is ~ The First U-Rig Bass.

The 20 kt ENE winds weren't making it easy but I hung in there.  Nice confidence boost too.

Because if I can make it happen in the mini-hurricane I fished in today there should be better days ahead.

29 Sept 2016 First A Rig Bass (2).png

A-Jay

Did you get a length and weight?  That is a monster!

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5 minutes ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Did you get a length and weight?  That is a monster!

Yes ~  Long & Heavy . . . .(kidding)

I didn't measure / weight her.

Thumb & Eyeball Scale read as "Good One"

:)

A-Jay

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