Umbrella Rig: How To Catch The Alabama Rig Correctly


The Umbrella Rig (also known as Alabama Rig) is considered to be particularly catchy compared to traditional predator rigs. It has its origin in the USA where it is sometimes fished with 5 hooks at the same time. There it was mainly used for black bass fishing.

And the principle is relatively simple: The montage guide imitates a shoal of fish that immediately attracts many predatory fish. And therefore the chances of success tend to be higher.

The criticism is justified: the fish were repeatedly injured during assembly. As a result, it now has a rather “muted” reputation in Germany and the surrounding area. After all, fishing in accordance with the rules of the sword is still very high up in Germany when it comes to angling.

Therefore we want to show you in this article if the Umbrella Rig is allowed in Germany at all or if it is prohibited. We also show you how it works, what materials you need, how to set it up and where you can buy it ready to use.

This should give you a first overview of the legal situation and the practical use.

By the way: If you feel like it, take a look at our book “The best fishing assemblies”. Here you’ll find a lot of inspiration and a lot of target fish mounts that are also very suitable for predatory fish in German waters.

And now we hope you enjoy reading the article.

The way it works

The way it works is quite simple: A lead head is normally used to drain 5, sometimes 3 or 7 wire hangers. This makes the rig look like a broken umbrella to many people at first sight.

Baits are attached to the end of the wire hangers to attract predators. These are mainly predatory fish baits such as spinners, spoons, wobblers, natural baits, worms or rubber fish. Because of the symmetrical lure guidance and the symmetrical arrangement of the lures, they give the impression of a shoal, which has a very attractive effect on the predatory fish.

On the following picture such a rig with the corresponding running behaviour is illustrated:

The catch rate is therefore much higher than with conventional rigs. Because the 5 wire arms with their hooks can cause injuries to the fish (because they get caught in the Umbrella out of panic, for example) it is advisable not to equip all baits with a hook, especially since you also come into conflict with the fishermen.

For example, we only fit the main lure with a single hook. This gives you the effect of “swarm bait” but at the same time you fish as if you were using rubber jigs.

The whole assembly reminds you a bit of a simple paternoster assembly which is also equipped with several hooks for sea fishing.

Is the Umbrella Rig allowed or prohibited in Germany?

Due to the risk of injury of the fish and the high catch rate, the typical Umbrella Rig is highly controversial in Germany. It is nevertheless regulated in the fishing law. But fishing law is a state matter and is therefore handled differently by each federal state. Nevertheless, there are many overlaps.

For example, in the “Verordnung über die Ausübung der Fischerei im Bodensee (Bodenseefischereiverordnung – BoFiV)” of December 1, 1995, the following applies

Ҥ 15 Fishing gear (1) The fishing rod (biting point and line with or without rod) may have a maximum of two biting points (fishing hooks), which must be provided with natural or artificial bait when catching; artificial bait and systems are considered to be one biting point.

In principle, club waters can tighten these regulations and adapt them to the current conditions (and fish stocks).

Because in many (club) waters, fishing with a bite mark is permitted. This does not necessarily make it easy with the Umbrella Rig, as up to 5 hooks (biting points) are usually placed there.

But you don’t have to place every bait with one hook each. The attraction for the bites is mainly caused by the rig and the fake swarm of (artificial) lures. And that is what makes the rig so catchy. A fish usually doesn’t come by because the hook looks so attractive. It is always the lure.

Nevertheless, fishing with more than 2 biting points is not allowed in Germany according to fishing law. In addition, the water regulations of the individual (club) waters can make the use of the typical procedure even more difficult.

But if you get rid of that and for example limit yourself to only one hook in Germany instead of 5, the Umbrella Rig is a catching alternative to conventional fishing rigs.

What you need for the Umbrella Rig

Here is a list of the materials you really need for the construction of the Umbrella Rig

  • Head for clamping the wires
  • 5 wire hangers – length approx. 16 cm per wire
  • 5 karabiner swivels
  • hooks: 1 in Germany
  • suitable bait like spinner, spoon, wobbler, natural bait, worm, twister or rubber fish

Best is to buy the rig ready to use (dealers can offer it legally in Germany) and then “only” place the bait in the rig. This includes for example spinners, spoons or rubber fish.

We can recommend to buy e.g. the assembly display of Free Fisher. This is very well rated and also not so expensive.

How to build it up

The following illustration shows you how to build up the whole rig optimally:

First the 5 wire hangers are connected to the head. The carabiner swivels are clamped to these wire stirrups.

These have the advantage that you can change and exchange the lures at any time. So it is possible to vary the lures and test different variations.

You attach the hook to one of the lures (in Germany) afterwards (e.g. to the twister or the rubber fish). Additionally you have the possibility to vary the wire arms. For this there are the following ideas:

  • fan-shaped arrangement
  • Umbrella arrangement (orientation like an umbrella)
  • V-shape

The following overview shows the different arrangements:

Finally you can bend the wires as you like. But we have had the best experience with the typical arrangement like an “umbrella”. This means that there is a central (anchor) point from which up to 5 wire hangers are connected.

Lure guidance & further tips

The lure is pulled through the water as usual in spinning fishing.

It also makes sense to use pear lead to keep the bait close to the ground. This way it comes very close to the bottom feeler.

Baits with hooks (if you choose the version with a 1 hook) should always be offered on the outside of the mounting. This is because the predatory fish in shoals usually target the weaker outside fish. The outside fish are often the first choice because they have the shortest distance to the attacking fish.

In general 5 wire arms are best suited for “trolling”. This is because there is usually no need to cast and the rig can simply be lowered “into the water”. Nevertheless, you can cast it in the classic way, if you like.

If you have problems (with the 5 construction) with the ejection, you should perhaps reduce from 5 to 3 side arms. Because otherwise it can happen that the lures get caught in the leader line during casting.

You also have a particularly good chance with a multi reel. This makes reeling easier because the line always remains taut. So the classic twist of the line is less frequent.

YouTube Video

The following video from BLINKER shows you how to spin with the Umbrella Rig. The whole video is about 4 minutes and 24 seconds. It is worth to have a look:

Conclusion on the Umbrella Rig

Legally the Alabama montage is one of the many fishing methods, in any case controversial. It is not without reason that the many arms have been banned for spinning anglers in the USA. In a federal republic where normally (depending on the state) even live bait fish are allowed, such a sharp regulation is very surprising.

Because the bite rate is usually significantly increased, which is mainly due to the fake swarm behaviour. We therefore use it very gladly (with a hook).

What experiences have you had with the Alabama-Rig? We would be very happy about your comment under this article.

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