Editor’s Note: At the end of October, 2011, when Dan Morehead of Paducah, Kentucky accepted a $50,000 check and the keys to a fully-rigged Ranger boat worth $40,000 for winning the EverStart National Championship at Kentucky Lake, he helped to write a new page in the history of bass fishing with the Alabama Rig. Morehead has been a professional bass fisherman for 17 years and has fished on the BASS Circuit and the FLW Trail. Today, he fishes the FLW Tour events, FLW Open events the EverStart Circuit and some BFL Tournaments. This win won him a berth in the Forrest L. Wood Cup in 2012. He won the tournament with a new technique of bass fishing with the Alabama Rig, which was created by Andy Poss of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
How Morehead found the Alabama Rig:
In May, 2011, Morehead and his friend Scott Suggs went to Pickwick Lake on the border of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee to pre-fish for an FLW Tour event to be held in July. “We were staying with a friend of ours who lived near the lake, and while fishing, we noticed he had an Alabama Rig tied on his rod. We purchased a couple of the rigs after our friend told us how deadly it was on suspended bass. I fished it off-and-on throughout the summer and caught a few fish on it, but it wasn’t the cure-all that I expected it to be. However, at that time of the year, the bass were more related to the bottom than they were suspending. I learned that when the bass started their migration from the deep water to the shallow water during the fall and started chasing baitfish and suspending in open water, the Alabama Rig was a deadly tactic for catching those suspended bass.
What is the Alabama Rig?
The rig consists of five wires coming out of a hard plastic baitfish body. These wires are spread out, so two wires come out from the top side of the bait, and two wires come out of the bottom. All of them stretch out to the side of the bait. In the middle of this spread of four wires, there’s a fifth wire that comes out of the center of the hard plastic body. On the end of each wire, there’s a swivel where you can attach lures. “I learned to fish the Alabama Rig by trial and error,” Morehead says. “I used several different types of lures on the wires, until I settled on the Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbaits.”
“I used two different patterns to win the EverStart National Championship,” Morehead explains, “I was fishing around the big rocks in the shallow water where the shad feed, using the Zara Spook, often in water only about 1 foot deep. If I didn’t catch the bass there with the Zara Spook, then I’d fish a little deeper on the 45-degree underwater banks that dropped off from 1 to 10 to 15 feet deep, using the Alabama Rig. The bass would be suspended off the bottom. I fished the Alabama Rig in the same places where I’d historically had caught bass using a jerkbait in October. I’d cast the Alabama Rig up to 1 foot of water and engage the reel as soon as the rig hit the water. I caught a few bass in water so shallow I could see the bass attack the Alabama Rig. But as the Alabama Rig came away from the bank, I’d slow down my retrieve to cause the rig to run through the depth of water where the bass were suspended.
“I was fishing lead-headed jigs produced by the same company that made the Alabama Rig. I liked these jigs, because the heads of the jigs were somewhat pointed to prevent the swimbait from rolling. The company made a jig with a No. 3/0 hook in it, and another with a No. 5/0 hook. I had two different Alabama Rigs on two rods. I had Berkley 4 inch Hollow Belly lures on the outside wires and a 5-1/2 inch Hollow Belly lure on the center wire. On the other rod, I had 5-1/2 inch Hollow Belly lures on all the wires. All the Hollow Belly lures were in the Tennessee shad color.” Out of the 20 bass that Morehead weighed in, 18 of those bass were caught on the Alabama Rig, and two were caught on the Zara Spook, totaling 61 pounds and 4 ounces. Morehead’s best bass weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces.
To read more about the Alabama Rig and see a video of it in action, click here.