Dan Stephenson of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries division shared a recent communication he had with someone asking whether the Alabama Rig was legal in Illinois.
My friend and advisor on all things bass, Terry Brown of wired2fish.com, told me the Alabama Rig is a set-up that attaches five leaders, each with its own lure, to the main fishing line.
Seriously. Five lures. After an angler with strong biceps makes a cast, the lures swim back to the boat in unison.
“It looks like a school of shad,” said Brown.
Videos online show anglers catching two, three and more bass on a single retrieve. They’ve been credited with winning several bass tournaments.
The IDNR legal department said the Alabama Rig is illegal on lakes with regulations that limit each angler to two rods with no more than two hooks or lures per line. The law, which is in place on most IDNR-managed lakes, is designed to limit commercial gear like trot lines, bank poles and jugs used for catfishing.
The regulation does not apply at several IDNR-managed lakes, according to Stephenson. Surprising to me, the Alabama Rig is legal at places like Shelbyville, Carlyle, Rend, Coffeen, Governor Bond Lake-Greenville, Kincaid, Lake Sara, Lake Taylorville and most rivers.
Walleye/sauger anglers like me have long experimented with two lures on a single line. For example, the Dubuque Rig uses two lures on one line and the double-jig rig uses two jigs on one line.
Anglers on the Illinois River also use two lures on a line with a three-way rig. Hand-lining for walleyes and sauger is another method that uses two lures per line. Crappie fishermen sometimes use two lures per line in open water and while ice fishing. I know some people who cast two-jig rigs for white bass.
The only problem I see with people using a tactic like the Alabama Rig is the many fish that are hooked and released, raising concern about post-release mortality.
See a video of the Alabama Rig in action at www.thealabamarig.com.
• Illinois Fish & Feather Expo will be Jan. 28-30 at Interstate Center, Bloomington. Times are noon to 7 p.m. Jan. 28; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 29; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 30. The show includes tackle and boat dealers, representatives of resorts and fishing guides. Seminars speakers include area guides Steve Welch, Jerry Martoglio, Paul Center and Duane Serck and Jim Crowley. Cost is $7 for adults. Read more about it in Sunday’s Life section.
• Bass Pro Shops in East Peoria is hosting a free boat show Jan. 20-29. Boating and fishing seminars are available both weekends. Fishing pros include 2011 FLW Lake Oahe Champion Chase Parsons Jan. 21-22; Mark Zona, host of “Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show” and “Bassmaster Elite Series” TV show Jan. 21; and Keith Kavajecz, Pete Maina and Gary Parsons, hosts of “The Next Bite” TV show, Jan. 28-29. For more information, visit www.basspro.com/boatshow.