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Print

Don’t get tangled up in Alabama rig rules

March 07, 2013 at 04:41 PM

The State Journal-Register

As fishing tournament season kicks off in central Illinois, anglers are reminded the Alabama rig is not legal on all lakes.

The Alabama rig is an umbrella rig with five wires trailing from a single lead lure with a lure attached to each wire.

Lures attached to a swivel at the end of each wire give the appearance of a whole school of baitfish.

It exploded in popularity in 2011 when some professional anglers began using the Alabama rig’s five-lure presentation to win bass tournaments.

However, the multiple-lure setup is not always legal.

Some large Illinois lakes allow the Alabama rig, but many lakes limit anglers to only two poles and two hooks (or lures) per line.

Dan Stephenson, asst. chief of fisheries for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said previously the rule is intended to maintain fisheries as sport fisheries, not commercial.

The rule disallows the use of commercial gear, including trotlines, bank poles and jugs.

Stephenson said the rule has been around for 30 years.

On lakes with the two poles, two hook or lure limit, the Alabama rig can be used if it is modified.

If the angler clips the hooks off three of the lures or replaces those lures with spinning blades to attract fish, the rig is legal.

That way, anglers retain the advantage of creating the illusion of a school of baitfish moving through the water without violating lake rules.

Some fishing clubs may decide not to use the Alabama rig, even if a modified version is legal.

Rod Cooke of the Sangchris Bass Club said members banned the rig from club tournaments to prevent any confusion or misunderstanding.

Check site rules or consult with fishing tournament directors if you are unsure the Alabama rig is legal where you are fishing.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has released a new Fishing Information Guide for 2013 – 2015 that is effective as of April 1.

To download a PDF copy, visit: http://tinyurl.com/ilfishrules.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528. Follow him at twitter.com/ChrisYoungPSO.

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