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Bass Fishing with an A Rig Swimbait

Updated on January 8, 2013

What is the A Rig

Basic Bass Fishing with the A Rig!

The Alabama rig known simply as the "A Rig" has quickly become one of the most popular swim bait techniques to sweep the bass fishing community over the last two years. It is a very specialized technique using a wire based spreader to present the fish you are seeking a group of 3 to 5 swimbaits in a single cast. This gives the fish the illusion of a small school of bait fish swimming by a situation that is much more common in most lakes, rivers, and ponds, than a lone minnow out in the open. Bait fish have a tendency to school up as their is safety in numbers and so the A rig gives an angler the ability to present a whole ball of bait for the fish to choose from.

Using this technique gives an angler the opportunity to actually catch more than one fish and multiple hook ups are common when fishing around very active large mouth, smallmouth, or stripped bass. The wire spreader generally has a lead head near the front of the set up which is colored, so make sure to match the color of the swim baits that you will use. Some states do not allow you to use more than three individual hooked lures so if that is the case you can not rig up five swimmers in the rig, at least all with hooks. Some rigs also come with a spinnerbait blade in the middle to kick off a little flash and vibration in the water, so like any lure you will have to try a few different styles and color combinations to learn what works in your local waters. But a simple "A" rig with white big hammer swimbaits will imitate a ball of bait fish anywhere in the country.

While catching big fish on a topwater lure has been the highlight of the day for most anglers, the new best thing has been coming to the dock to tell the story about hooking and landing 2 or 3 fish on the same cast using this technique.

How To Fish with the Alabama Rig

Favorite Swimbait for Alabama Rig

Big Hammer Swimbait matches well with the A Rig
Big Hammer Swimbait matches well with the A Rig | Source

Additional Components

The A rig being a specialized technique requires specific tackle to be successful and these are a few guidelines to follow when looking for the right rod, reel, line, swimbaits, jigheads, and other trailers you may want to consider for your A rig set ups.

  • Rod - A heavy action rod is ideal for a swim bait set up in general and due to the heavy nature of the A rig when it is fully rigged with swim baits and lead head jigs. I prefer an 8ft Heavy Action rod and go with more of a sideways lob cast to get the lure out in front of the boat and on target. Overhand casts can work as well when you need to get really far out there but the umbrella style spreader can make it hard to be accurate depending on the wind.

  • Reel - Absolute requirement is a bait casting reel and preferably a little larger spool such as a Curado 300 series or better yet to go with a Calcutta or other larger Shimano round bait casting reel.

  • Line - I usually like to use braided line from power pro with 50 to 65 lbs test being best for the water conditions that I fish in. When fishing in clear water situations though I will go with 20 - 25 lbs fluorocarbon line to gain an advantage over the visibility of the braid.

  • Swim baits and Jig Heads - I like to use three styles of swim baits. A paddle tail swimbait and preferably made by big hammer, they have a great action in the tail kick and are very durable. I match these with a 3/0 - 5/0 jig head from big hammer. Hollow body minnow swim baits, that I will rig up before getting to the lake. Take an appropriate size jig head and open up the back of the lure and seal the plastic lure back up with superglue or soft plastic glue so that just the hook and eye are exposed from the bait. A different approach to the a rig is to use a large grub like a 5 or 6 inch Yamamoto single or double tail grub and traditional jig heads rigged like you would if just swimming a grub. This last technique can be reeled in at a snails pace allowing the wary fish time to make the decision to strike. Other options include brush bogs and lures with curly appendages that can entice a bite.

Do You Use Swimbaits

Do you like the Alabama Rig

See results

Stripers Love the A Rig


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    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 6 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks, maybe I will do another couple swimbait focused hubs, tossing a swimbait is one of my favorite methods for catching bass from small paddle tails to huddleston trout baits.

    • geokhris profile image

      geokhris 6 years ago from Stanislaus County

      This is a topic that really needs to be discussed more often.