Author’s Note: Paul Elias won $100,000 in October 2011, on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville by using a new technique and a new apparatus called the Alabama Rig at an FLW tournament. Elias will tell us how he discovered the rig, how he learned to fish it, and how this new technique can put more bass in your boat during November and December and particularly any months that bass suspend.
I was at Pickwick Lake on the Mississippi/Alabama/Tennessee border helping with a weigh-in at a cancer benefit, when one of the fishermen in that tournament called me over to his boat after the event ended. He told me he wanted to show me a new rig for catching bass, the Alabama Rig, which would hold five lures on five wires that came out the back of a hard plastic body. He had the wires rigged up with plastic grubs, and another Alabama Rig with five swim lures on it. I wasn’t very impressed with the rig, until the guy told me the weights of bass he’d been catching with it. Although he didn’t win the Pickwick tournament, he had won some 1-day tournaments with five bass weighing 5 pounds or more. Back in April, he won a 2-day tournament with 10 bass weighing a total of 57 pounds. I got really interested after I heard the weights of bass this rig had produced. He gave me two of the Alabama Rigs, but I never did fish with them until I reached the FLW Lake Guntersville Tournament in October.
The man who makes the Alabama Rig is Andy Poss of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and he’s been fishing with this rig for about 15 months. He has a patent pending on the Alabama Rig. At the top of the Alabama Rig is a plastic fish-looking body with five wires coming out of it that are spread out like an umbrella. Four of the wires are spread on 45- or 50-degree angles to the back of the body, and the middle wire comes straight out of the back of the body. This design allows an angler to put four lures on the outer wires and one lure in the center.
When I fished the rig at Lake Guntersville, where I won the $100,000, I used five Mann’s HardNose Swimbaits in the Tennessee shad color. At the Guntersville tournament, I was fishing the grass like all the rest of the anglers were, and I wasn’t catching very many bass. I certainly knew I wasn’t catching big enough fish to win the tournament. However, I did have the Alabama Rig rigged up and sitting on my casting deck. I had tested it in a pond behind my house and saw that when I rigged it with Mann’s HardNose SwimShads, cast the Alabama Rig out and reeled it in, the rig looked like a school of shad swimming together. I cast the Alabama Rig out on a bridge piling at Lake Guntersville, and immediately I caught a big largemouth bass. Next I cast the Alabama Rig on the other side of the piling and caught a bass that weighed almost 3 pounds. As I was bringing that bass in, I spotted four or five more bass following the Alabama Rig. I went to another bridge piling and caught a 4-pound bass. That’s when I said to myself, “Paul, this Alabama Rig has merit, and you need to learn how to fish it. You better practice with it the rest of the days you have left to practice.” So, I used the Alabama Rig the other 2-1/2-days of practice for the FLW Lake Guntersville tournament and learned how to fish it around grass, points, ridges and any-other structure I could find. The Alabama Rig caught those suspended bass that would be so hard to catch with any-other lure. That one discovery enabled me to win the FLW Lake Guntersville tournament.