FLW Fishing Report - Alabama Rig

Murray, KY – The Alabama Rig is heating up fishing on Kentucky Lake. Hear more in this week's FLW Fishing Report by Scott Ellison.

Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Weekly Report. Cold weather, hot fishing is the way to describe January on Kentucky Lake.

I hate to keep harping on it, but the Alabama rig is still the most productive setup on Kentucky Lake. It's chilly, it's windy, but 3- to 6-pound bass are just going nuts for swimbaits being pulled on Alabama rigs. One of the FLW pros, Stacey King of Missouri, tried his luck on the lake the other day and really loaded the boat. Stacey was using one of the three-bait models that are compliant with Tennessee regulations.

Eric Benson, at Benson's Sporting Goods, says the five-bait rigs that Mann's bait company markets, and a locally made three-bait unweighted model, are his best sellers now. Guys are rigging them with eighth-ounce heads and 3 - to 5-inch swimbaits or even swimming grub tails, and fishing them on rocky points or gravel bars. Cast it out, wind it in, that's all there is to it. Oh, yeah, there has to be bass where you're fishing it, but hopefully you already figured that out.

Some states ban the Alabama rig because they have restrictions on having more than one lure at a time in the water. Other states, such as Tennessee, allow only three baited hooks at a time. And still other states, such as Kentucky, don't put any limitations on it. Instead it limits the number of bass you can keep per day, and figures that's got all the important bases covered.

Grassroots fishermen have mixed feelings about the Alabama rig. Some think it might hurt fishing, while others think it's just another approach to try at certain times of the year. I've heard those stories of some guys catching two or three bass at a time on it, but mostly you just catch one bass at a time. The fact remains that the Alabama rig works great wherever it's legal and wherever shad are the main forage. Because that's the case, either everybody should be able to fish with the Alabama rig, or nobody should be able to fish with it. Use it or don't use it; your choice. At present, the jury is still out on the effects of the Alabama rig on bass populations, but if fishery managers aren't too concerned about it, why should fishermen be? If it's okay to put out a lot of baits at one time on a spider rig for crappies, what's the big deal about the Alabama rig? And that's my two cents' worth.

Switching over to crappies and spider rigs, some good catches are coming in from the 12- to 16-foot depths around brush piles. As has been the case for several weeks, small tube jigs and grubs are producing some nice 20-fish limits. This is shaping up to be a really good crappie-fishing season this year, if we don't have the bad flooding like we had last spring. Keep your fingers crossed.

This is Scott Ellison, signing off for FLW, and reminding you that the world is full of great starters, but poor finishers. Whatever you start well, finish well.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW College Fishing Promotions Manager.