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Home Club Bass-Jons Club Newsletter March 2012 Newsletter



March 2012

First, congratulations to Rick Burton for taking the top spot in the winter series tournaments.  Winter fishing is always challenging and Rick was able to bring in enough fish to take it all in the end.  A clean sweep for Rick in 2011.  Thanks to everyone who fished these tournaments and we hope to see you on the water next winter.


The regular tournament season is about to start…I know some of you are getting cabin fever and are looking forward to pitting your skills and knowledge against the rest of the club members, and learning to catch more fish…me too!


The schedule is posted. Our first tournament is at Lake Meade.  Last year Chaz took the top spot at the March 5th lake Meade tournament weighing 3 fish for 10lbs 2ozs (4-4 big fish).


Keep your eyes on the intent, message and club discussion boards for details and information. 


Just like everywhere else in the bass fishing world, the Alabama Rig is stirring up interest here in Hampton Roads.  During the February winter series tournament, one of the anglers reported catching a fish on the Alabama rig.  Once this was posted on the discussion board, of course some questions and comments arose.  Here are a few of them:


“Are Virginia and Bass Jons are okay with using Umbrella style rigs?”

“I want to make sure (they’re legal) before I go spend the money on one.”


“This whole rig is kind of ridiculous to me. The idea behind bass fishing and tournaments (as far as my interpretation) is that it is difficult. Want to catch a slew of fish on one cast, go croaker fishing with a bunch of bottom rigs. Want to troll for fish with multiple baits, go float around off of cape henry for a few weekends.  Bass are not the biggest fish in the water, nor the most prevalent, or the easiest to catch, and that seems to be why catching one and winning a tournament is so rewarding, because its difficult. I’d rather lock down a few consistent techniques than chuck a 5 lb rig over and over and hope for one lucky cast. The goal is to get a fish that otherwise might not bite to bite.”


“I view this rig as just another innovation, no different than the chatter bait, senko, drop shot or any other new bait/technique that has come along in the past 10 years.”


“Hopefully, I don't have to spend a half hour getting one of those $25 rigs (not including the cost of the plastics hanging off it) out of a submerged tree in 18) feet of water.”


“Better get in the weight room if you plan to cast that thing.”


I wonder if there was a similar discussion when crank baits with multiple hooks were introduced.  By the way, if your Alabama rig is hung and you can’t reach it, consider it gone, I’ve already lost one at Cahoon…and you’re right about the effort it will take to fish it all day, but I think that a fish on the end of your line is a pretty good pain reliever.


So, here is the deal.


Virginia has no regulation against its use and Bass-Jons will allow it to be used in tournaments, unless the state changes the regulation.


If you are already fishing one of the BASS trails (Region 7) or the FLW trails (BFL/TBF), make sure you are up to date on their tournament regulations.  Here are their positions.


January 18, 2012, B.A.S.S. imposes One-Lure Rule for the Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series. New rule affects The Alabama Rig

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S., upon the recommendation of its Bassmaster Elite Series Rules Committee, has amended its tournament rules to limit anglers competing in the Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series to the use of a single lure during practice and competition.

The rule change, which does not apply to Bassmaster Open, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, College B.A.S.S. and other events, clarifies the intent of long-standing rules permitting only one rod, one reel and one cast at a time. No longer permitted are double soft jerkbait rigs, drop shot rigs with jigs used as weights, double topwater setups and other multi-lure rigs, such as “umbrella rigs.”

The change becomes effective Feb. 1 and includes the upcoming Bassmaster Classic at Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Feb. 24-26.

Elite Series Rules Committee members, comprised of 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series qualifiers, seemed most concerned about new multi-lure rigs such as The Alabama Rig, which Bassmaster Elite Series pro Paul Elias used to win an event on Lake Guntersville in October. In the weeks since, tens of thousands of the multi-lure devices have been sold, and they have proved extremely effective in both recreational and competitive fishing.

The Alabama Rig and similar setups from other manufacturers consist of a weighted head with five wire leaders trailing behind. Soft plastic swimbaits and similar lures are attached to the leaders, imitating a school of baitfish.

Rules Committee members believe the rig eliminates some of the skill that should be required in tournament competition at the highest level. “It doesn’t matter how you work it,” said one of the anglers. “The fish can’t help themselves.”

“The Alabama Rig has become enormously popular in recent months, and it has definitely had an impact on the tournaments in which it has been used,” noted Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. “Personally, I have enjoyed catching bass on umbrella rigs and found them to be very effective in some situations. I have witnessed first-hand the excitement this technique has generated in our sport.

“However, the Elite Series Rules Committee members unanimously asked to be held to a higher standard,” he added. “We have decided to honor their recommendation.”

The rule change follows a precedent of imposing more stringent restrictions in Elite Series and Classic competition than in other B.A.S.S. events. For example, landing nets are prohibited in the Elites and the Classic but not in other circuits. Additional rules specific to the Elites include off-limits periods, no-information restrictions and new limits on boats that can be used in competition.

B.A.S.S. officials emphasized that the decision should not be construed as disapproval of multi-lure rigs.

“We are as excited as the rest of the country about the new multi-lure rigs,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “We will continue to cover new ways to utilize these tools in Bassmaster Magazine and on Our Classic and Elite tournaments simply have a higher standard for the sake of competition. The rest of us will enjoy learning how to catch more fish with these tools.”

A Rules Committee member added, “I don’t have a problem with the use of umbrella rigs or multi-lure rigs to catch bass. If you are out fun fishing, there may be nothing more fun to use. However, our events represent the highest level of professionalism in our sport and I think as participants of these events, we should be held to a higher standard, as well. I like the idea of one rod, one reel, one lure.”


January 20, 2012, FLW releases their position:


The Alabama Rig has taken the bass-fishing world by storm. Every discussion about its use seems to generate an emotional response unlike anything I’ve seen in my more than 30 years in the sport.

For every passionate plea that it be banned from tournaments, there is an equally passionate plea that it be allowed. No matter which side of the debate you are on, one thing is undeniable: The Alabama Rig has generated a level of excitement and interest in bass fishing unlike anything that has come before.

Since their inception, tournaments have been the spawning ground for lure, equipment and technique innovations that help recreational anglers catch more and bigger fish. It’s the reason fans tune in to our television shows, visit our websites, read our magazines and attend our events. There are millions of bass anglers out there with an insatiable appetite for cutting-edge information that will make them better at their sport. To argue that the Alabama Rig and other castable umbrella rigs be banned from tournaments is to believe that we’ve finally reached the end of innovation; that the great equalizer has been found; that the only thing separating novice anglers from the world’s top professionals is a weighted head with five wire leaders and swimbaits. There is nothing more to learn.

We believe professional anglers deserve more credit than that. We believe their skill and intuition will not be undercut by a baitfish-imitating technique that helps less experienced anglers catch fish when otherwise they might not. Will it force some pros to elevate their game and adapt? Of course it will. Just like GPS, side-imaging sonar, sight-fishing, shallow-water anchors and countless lure, line and rod innovations have done over the years. Buzzbaits and ChatterBaits were once considered radical, as were flipping and sight-fishing. But they are all simply tools of the trade now. The same will hold true for Alabama Rigs. It’s not the end of fishing as we know it.

Anglers are still held to a daily five-fish limit. Tournaments are still catch-and-release. Our conservation ethic has not changed. We’ve taken the additional step of contacting wildlife officials in each state hosting an event in every FLW circuit to urge them to study the effects of castable umbrella rigs on live release rates. If conservation issues are discovered, we will reevaluate our rules accordingly. For now, we are leaving that in the capable hands of the experts within each state, and castable umbrella rigs will be permitted in our 2012 tournaments.


Again, good luck to all in 2012!!



Mike Peregrine

Vice President