The Alabama Rig is still stirring up controversy in the pro bass fishing world. (Brad Wiegmann)
If you’re a fisherman who plans to visit the Birmingham Boat Show at the BJCC on its final day today, be ready to be confronted with talk of the Alabama Rig. More precisely, be prepared to be schooled on some of its clones.
Paul Elias stood the fishing world on its ear back in late October when he won the Walmart FLW Tour open on Lake Guntersville using an Alabama Rig. He demolished the field with a total weight of 102 pounds, 8 ounces. His margin of victory was an incredible 17 pounds.
The lure, which has five trailing wires to which five lures can be attached, appears to be a school of fish swimming through the water and drives bass crazy.
No lure has ever caused such a commotion in fishing. The $25 lure was so much in demand that it was selling for more than $150 on eBay. Stores were running out of the 50- to-80-pound braided line needed to fish the lure. For the first time ever, fishermen were gobbling up the 7A1/2-foot and 8-foot rods needed to fish the lure.
The inability of the maker to at first keep up with the demand sent lure makers across the U.S. scrambling to produce their own version. Those versions were prominent at the boat show Friday.
The lure’s success immediately began an avalanche of speculation that the lures would be banned by fishing tournaments. That indeed happened in recent days as BASS announced Wednesday that the lure could no longer be used in the Bassmaster Classic or its Elite Series. The lure is still legal in other BASS events.
I found former Classic winner David Fritts in the Ranger Boats booth Friday and asked what he thinks about BASS banning the lure in top events. He was obviously miffed by BASS’ actions.
“How does someone ban a fishing lure that is perfectly legal in every state?” Fritts asked.
McCalla’s Kyle Mabry, a regular on the FLW Tour, has produced his own version of the lure called the “Yellowhammer,” obviously a take on the Alabama state bird. He’s selling his version at the boat show.
Mabry said he wishes BASS hadn’t jumped the gun. He said tournament promoters should take a step back and look at the performance of the lure over a year’s period, not just a few months. The lure performed well in some late-season tournaments, he said, but he suspects normally they might not have. A mild winter left water temperatures warmer than usual and bass were active later than normal, he said.
It will be interesting to see if other tournament trails follow BASS in banning the lure. Will local tournaments and club tournaments ban them, too?
Mabry made a good point. If weekend tournaments ban the lure, how will promoters enforce the rule if they don’t give polygraph tests? “They’ll just be creating a headache for themselves,” he said.
Tournament fishermen might be thwarted by a ban on the lure but it will take state intervention to stop the enthusiasm by those who fish just for fun. Every booth selling the lure Friday was packed with fishermen listening to how to rig the lure and how to fish it. One person at a booth who was inspecting the lure told me he couldn’t care less if BASS banned it because he doesn’t fish BASS. He just likes catching fish.
Source : al