5 Alabama Rig Tips to Put More Fish in the Boat with Tyler Anderson

Tyler Anderson can attest to the effectiveness of the umbrella rig, especially in the winter months. During the winter months, the bass fishing can be slow and daunting, but an Alabama Rig can change that feeling entirely. So, without further delay, here are 5 Alabama Rig tips from Tyler to help you up your umbrella rig game.

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Alabama Rig Tips #1: Use it as a Search Bait

In the wintertime, bass often feed and suspend at various depths. The umbrella rig gives an angler the ability to fish various depths of the water column better than other baits built to fish one particular depth.

“In the wintertime, I know fish are feeding on bait fish. But if I were to throw a crankbait, I’d be tied to that particular depth of water. The umbrella rig allows me to cover a lot of water columns and a lot of water quickly. It’s an excellent search bait to figure out what depth of water the fish are in. Once I get bit, I can throw a hair jig, a crankbait or a lipless to catch more of them but the umbrella rig just allows me to find them a lot faster.”

Alabama Rig Tips #2: Counting it Down

“To target fish at various depths with an umbrella rig, I count the rig down”

If you see fish on your electronics at a certain depth below the boat, you can ‘count’ your umbrella rig down to that depth by throwing it out and letting it sink before you start your retrieve. The rate of fall (ROF) depends on a number of variables including weight of the overall rig, slackness of the line, type and pound-test of the line, resistance of the baits and blades, etc.

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A good rule of thumb is 1-foot per second. So if you see fish in an area that are suspended 12-feet below the surface, cast the rig out and count it down 12 seconds. One thing Tyler notes,

“A bass’s eyes are on the top of its head, so they feed up.”

So, when you’re counting a bait down and are unsure of the exact ROF, it’s better to come over the fish than under them.

Alabama Rig Tips #3: Braid Versus Fluorocarbon

There’s a fair amount of debate on whether fluorocarbon is necessary for stealth when throwing an umbrella rig. The initial assessment of the gaudiness of an umbrella rig with its metal wires, swivels, and other accoutrement leads one to believe the fish won’t notice a little braid. But with more and more emphasis on blades to mask the metal arms and even some companies testing out clear arms in place of metal ones, who’s to say fluorocarbon couldn’t help a little in certain situations.

“I throw it on braid the majority of the time because it’s more of a reaction strike to me. But I do get more bites on 25-pound fluorocarbon if the water is gin clear. The water I usually fish in Texas just doesn’t get too clear very often. However, I could see using fluorocarbon more if I fished in a gin clear water more often. ”

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Alabama Rig Tips #4: Customize Your Alabama Rig

There’s not really a standard umbrella rig anymore. In the beginning, the actual Alabama Rig had 5 wires, each of which an angler would attach a jig head to and a swimbait would be placed on each jig head. That could still be viewed somewhat as the basic setup. But now, you can find an umbrella rig to meet any rule requirement or desire you have. There are rigs with blades, rigs without blades, rigs with over a dozen baits, rigs with dummy baits with no hooks and the list goes on.

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Each angler can build their own go-to rig and develop a little extra confidence knowing that his or her setup isn’t exactly like all the rest.

“I use a YUMbrella Flash Mob Jr with 1/16-ounce jig heads. But if I’m in a tournament situation, especially for the FLW, I can only have 3 hooks. But I still want 5 baits on there, so two of them have to be dummies. I’ll put two swimbaits on the top two wires with screw locks. The middle wire and the bottom two wires will have the jig heads on them and that makes it come through the water better with the weight on the bottom of the rig.”

Tyler also likes to customize his umbrella rig by altering the middle swimbait. He’ll either use the same size bait in a different color or use a little bigger bait on the middle wire.

“I have found that, especially when I do just a slightly different color, the middle one is usually the one that gets bit.”

Tyler also changes the colors of all the swimbaits defending on the water clarity. In clearer water, the more natural color baits work well. The more stained, the more he leans towards chartreuse and white.

Alabama Rig Tips #5: What to Throw Your Alabama Rig On

“I tend to throw it on a fairly long, stiff rod. I have found that as long I don’t slam into them, I can get a much longer cast with a 7-11 than I can with a little shorter rod. And it also puts a lot less strain on my wrist when I’m casting. I could probably make more accurate casts with a shorter rod but when I’m throwing an umbrella rig I’m just paralleling bank.”

You also need a heavy duty reel when lobbing an umbrella rig.

Tyler stresses the importance for the reel to be made out of strong, metal parts and not plastic like a lot of reels are these days. He uses a Lews Pro Ti which is made out of titanium. The rod he uses is a Lews Custom Plus 7-11.

See more winter Alabama Rig tips from Tyler Anderson here:

Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing – Keys to Finding Success with Matt Becker

As we just finished up the second stop of the FLW Tour on Lake Toho in Florida, I wanted to shed some light on my 38th place finish in Texas at Lake Sam Rayburn bass fishing and how I was able to find success over a thousand miles away from home.

Throughout my years of competitive fishing, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and fish new lakes across the country which can be one of the most exciting, but challenging things about this sport – especially when you’re going up against guys like Terry Bolton and Bryan Thrift (as well as many other FLW Tour pros) who have plenty of experience on some of these lakes. Our first stop for 2019, Sam Rayburn, is a legendary fishery and somewhere that I had no experience on going into the event.

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Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing – Research and Pre-Practice

One of my biggest keys to success in this event was my tournament pre-practice and research. Before I went to the lake for pre-practice, I did as much online research as possible to find productive areas and sections of the lake. This gave me a basic starting point to look at when I showed up to Rayburn and is something I do when approaching most new bodies of water.  

One of the key areas I found is called the Black Forest.

This area is known, especially in the spring, for putting out big limits of bass and being a productive area of the lake. Knowing this, I was able to go into my pre-practice time with a limited section of the lake to dissect and find fish.

During the pre-practice period, I really focused on learning how to run around Sam Rayburn. Rayburn is notorious for being dangerous, especially in the Black Forest area, if you don’t know where you’re going and at normal pool, this would have been key to know when running these areas during the event. Also during my practice, I was looking for areas that could be productive during the tournament.  

Knowing that I’d have 13 days off-limits after this practice, I had to keep a somewhat open mind and anticipate what fish would be doing about 2 weeks now, so I focused on finding early pre-spawn areas where fish would position and stage up outside of spawning flats.

My key area that I fished during the event was found during my pre-practice.

Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing – My Key Spot

Going into the tournament itself, I had the one spot from the Black Forest area that I found during my pre-practice. The spot I fished ended up being a very small area – a one-cast sort of deal – where the hydrilla grew up slightly higher than the grass around it.  

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It was a very specific cast that you had to make on that spot – if you missed 10 feet to the left or right of the hydrilla clump, you wouldn’t get the fish to bite. Every fish was sitting on the edge of this hydrilla patch waiting to ambush the bait swimming through and around the grass.

Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing – Key Baits

I relied on two baits throughout the tournament – a ¾-ounce Z-Man Jack Hammer chatterbait and an Evergreen ZE lipless crankbait, also ¾-ounce. It was important to have that heavier weight during the event because my Sam Rayburn water levels were 9 feet high.

The area that I found in practice in about 6 feet of water was now 15 feet deep, so to stay in contact with the grass, I had to use heavier baits to keep the bait lower in the water column. As you can tell from my lure selection, all of my bites were reaction bites – coming as I popped the baits free from the grass.

The key to both of these lures, regardless of the depth you’re fishing, is deflection or varying the retrieve – I’d get the bait hung briefly in the grass and then snap it free; most of my bites coming right as the bait popped free.

Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing – My Rod and Reel Setup

My overall setup (rod, reel, and line) was important for these techniques. I chose to use a Favorite Emperor Rod, 7’6” Medium Heavy Model because it handled the heavier lipless crankbait and chatterbait easily, allowing me to make really long casts, but the rod still had enough backbone to pull the fish out of the grass if they buried themselves in it after being hooked.  

I paired this up with a 6.8:1 reel and 15-pound test fluorocarbon line. The 6.8:1 reel is what I prefer for reaction baits because it helps me slow down a bit when winding the bait and I chose the 15-pound test because the smaller diameter helped me keep the bait deeper.  

A rule of thumb when choosing line size – lighter line, or smaller diameter line, will help you fish a bait deeper because it has less drag in the water.

catch more bass banner 2Looking Forward

Overall, I consider my first tournament of the season to be a success. Finishing in 38th place got me check in the event, but more importantly gets me some good points to start the season. After a tough Lake Toho event, I’m getting ready to find some giant Georgia bass on Lake Seminole and keep this momentum rolling forward!

Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 4 | Fishing Motivation With Eric Faucett

On Episode four of the Fishing Intelligence Podcast, I’m talking with Eric Faucett of the BFLs. He is a tournament angler whom we also fished with on the ANGLR Tour. We started the podcast off by talking about how the bass fishing world has been completely shaken up. For those of you who don’t know, MLF announced it would be launching an 80 person field tournament series and people from BASS have been flocking to the new program. The MLF Bass Pro Tour has been a shakeup in the bass fishing industry!

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I get Eric’s opinion on whether this change up is going to be good for the industry or not and either way we looked at it, it was only going to bring more attention to the sport and would eventually be a win win for everyone involved. There will, of course, be hurt feelings one one side more than the other but after this initial sting, all it does is open more positions for more people to complete. After talking about this change up in the sport, we shifted to talking about positivity and motivation in Bass Fishing.

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Here’s a solid Lake Fork largemouth I landed during Episode 12 of the ANGLR Tour!

People sometimes will take themselves too seriously in this sport and we both thought that there was too much negativity in the sport. Eric does a lot of motivational, live and recorded talks on his facebook page and we talked about why he does these as well as how he thinks these talks help change people’s perspectives in fishing and life. We finished up by talking about stories from fishing together on the tour and me catching my first fish on a spoon on my first cast. Make sure to check out Eric’s Facebook page at Eric Faucett Fishing!

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Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 2 | Kayak Bass Fishing With Cody Prather

On the second episode of Fishing Intelligence, I am talking with Cody Prather of Yak 4 It. Cody is a kayak fisherman as well as videographer and has mastered the kayak fishing in his home state of Texas. We started off by talking about his recent bass that almost went over the 10 pound mark, weighing in at 9.7 pounds! Just to make the story even better, he caught that 9.7 pounder on a topwater lure which is something that every bass fisherman dreams of.

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Cody and I fished together during Episode 13 of the ANGLR Tour on Texas’s famed Sam Rayburn!

After telling me the story of this monster fish, Cody and I got into talking about some of the best gear that one can have with them while kayak fishing. We discussed all of the finer details down to line type and pound test. When you are kayak fishing, you don’t have the option to bring all of the gear you own, so it is important to work on keying into a few different setups that will allow you to throw the best variety of baits possible to get the job done.

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Another topic that we talked about was how kayak fishing forces the fisherman to learn the water better than a guy fishing out of a boat. When in a kayak, you don’t have the ability to pick up the trolling motor and run 15 miles down the lake to the next spot you think will produce. You have typically under 8 miles as a total range to really break down the area that you put in at. This causes the fisherman to hit each section of water and every possible fish holding location instead of just hitting the good looking patches and leaving. We finished up by talking some of Cody’s favorite lures and baits to use in Texas any time of the year. Thanks for listening and be sure to check out my ANGLR Tour episode with Cody!

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