Article by: Matt Luna
Posted: Nov 13, 2019
Years ago the umbrella rig
took the fishing industry by storm after Paul Elias destroyed the competition using an umbrella rig
. The fish didn’t seem to know the difference between a real school of shad and the school effect the umbrella rig
provided. As time passed, the umbrella rig
craze has slowed, but the umbrella rig
is still an effective presentation, and has come to be a great tactic in the fall and winter to get those cold water fish to bite.
The following information in this blog article will walk you through the process of building your own umbrella rig
To begin, there are some molds and other equipment you’ll need to complete the umbrella rig
build. Here is a list of items I used to compete my umbrella rig
When preparing your lead, umbrella rig mold, and wire forms, you will want to make sure you get your mold and wire forms very hot. This will assist you in getting a complete pour. There are 5 wires that are all grouped together and are surrounded by the lead when you pour, and if these wires are not hot, they can cool the lead too quickly and can result in getting incomplete pours.
A ladle is a great tool to have when making an umbrella rig, but it is not a must have item. I do not have a ladle , and found that pulling my lead pot to the edge of my workbench allowed me to hold my mold so the wires from the wire form that protrude out of the Ultra Rig mold could hang off the side of the table and down toward the floor. This allowed me to position the mold under the lead pot, and pour the lead into the mold.
Once you pour the lead into the mold, allow time for the lead to cool. Take the umbrella rig out of the mold and remove the spru. I like to take a file, and smooth out the area left over from the removed spru. If you are going to paint the lead head of the umbrella rig, now is the time. I prefer to leave it unpainted, but if you prefer the head painted, make sure to paint it prior to adding on the lure eyes. Choose a paint color that will compliment the soft plastic swimbait that will be added onto the jig head.
The next step is to take epoxy, or your adhesive of choice, and place lure eyes into the eye socket of the lead head. I like to use a pair of tweezers to place the eyes into the eye sockets. The tweezers also help me to position the lure eyes in the middle of the eye socket more easily. Let the adhesive dry, and move on to making the jigs heads if needed.
Making the swimbait jig heads is simple. In my umbrella rig build, I used the Shad Head Rig Jig mold. This mold allows you to use a very stout hook, and allows for a wire keeper to help secure your swimbait to the jig head. The wire keeper holds the swimbait in position and will not be pushed down the shank of the hook. Painting the jig heads is an option. Personally, I prefer the lead color, and don’t normally paint my heads. If you prefer to paint your heads, make sure to paint them prior to putting on the lure eyes and choose a color that will compliment the soft plastic swimbaits that will go on them.
Once the adhesive for the lure eyes has dried, you can attach the swimbait jig heads onto the included snaps of the umbrella rig wire form. I’d recommend waiting until all the adhesive has dried for both eyes of the umbrella rig and all the eyes on the swimbait jig heads. This will ensure none of the eyes are moved while putting the jig heads on the rig, and will also ensure that none of the heads are glued to one another while the umbrella rig is being stored.
There is only thing left to do before you go fish this rig! Go get your Ripper soft plastic swimbaits or other swimbaits of choice and rig them onto the swimbait jig heads. Make sure to choose colors that match the forage you trying to mimic, and fish the umbrella rig in areas where there is bait present!
The umbrella rig can catch numbers of fish, and can also catch giants, so get ready!
For a video version of this blog article, check out my YouTube video, How to Build an Umbrella Rig or Alabama Rig, linked here: https://youtu.be/di1tH75rro8.
Many states have differing laws about fishing multiple hooked baits on lures such as an umbrella rig. For example, California will only allow for 3 hooked baits on the umbrella rig. The Umbrella Rig Wire Form has 5 wires, so I need to make sure that the two remaining wires have “dummy” baits with no hook, or make a modification and add blades to the umbrella rig to increase the amount of flash.