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THE NEW SECRET How To Fish An Umbrella Rig [57 Umbrella Rig Fishing Tips On When and Where]

Do umbrella rigs work for bass? | Are umbrella rigs worth it?

How to Fish an Umbrella Rig for Bass

Everyone’s talking about how the umbrella rig catches a ton of bass, right? We all know that you should never fish the same bait, the same way, every time you hit the water, that’s just going to kill your chances of catching fish.  If you’re like me, you probably can’t stop feeling frustrated about learning something that should seem easy to use. 

But what almost no one understands about fishing the umbrella rig is it has to be fished with a very specific technique. It’s not just casting your lure out there just hoping a fish will eat one of the baits, it’s knowing and recognizing the lure’s strengths and capitalizing on those. Hardly anybody is talking about exactly how to fish an umbrella rig. It really comes down to knowing where precisely to fish the umbrella rig, and what size and type of umbrella rig to have at your fingertips, so you can then simply choose the correct swimbait trailer with the best chances of catching fish. 

This means no matter where you are you’ll have the confidence to use this lure, and you’ll see a huge difference in your fish catching ability, as long as you take advantage of these tips that have been given to you. The blueprint article I created for you is a legit shortcut on a topic that I have spent years learning about and perfecting. I have consumed hundreds of hours reading and watching instructional content so I can summarize and present it to you in the hopes of you can finally celebrate the gains and successes of fishing the umbrella rig.

What Does an Umbrella Rig Imitate and Why Would a Fish Bite it?

An umbrella rig imitates a small school of fish swimming in unison. The typical umbrella rig has five wires extending from the connection point, allowing you to add five baits.

Using more baits also increases your chances of getting a bite. Umbrella rigs are often set up with one to three hooked baits and the rest being dummy baits. 

The array of baits is easier for bass to detect and more likely to lure them. Going after a small group of fish increases their odds of catching a bite. 

The rig is also visible from a greater distance, helping to draw bass in from further away.

What Are the Different Types of Umbrella Rigs?

Due to the popularity of umbrella rigs, you can find a wide variety of options with different features and advantages. When comparing multiple types of umbrella rigs, pay close attention to the following:

  • Number of wires
  • Wire thickness and length
  • Head
  • Presence of spinner blades, size, and color
  • Swivel size and quality

The primary two types of umbrella rigs include three-wire and five-wire rigs. Using five wires offers greater versatility, as it gives you more options when selecting baits and dummy baits.

The thickness and length of the wires also vary. A thinner wire weighs less and is more discreet but is also more prone to tangling and damage. 

The wires come together at the head of the rig. Most umbrella rigs include a head made of plastic or metal. 

The head may include a swivel at the end, allowing the rig to rotate as it flows through the water. This tends to reduce the risk of tangling and makes the rig easier to set up.

Along with a swivel attached to the head, each wire typically includes a swivel. The swivels allow you to easily switch baits without constantly retrying knots.

3-Wire lures are great for:

  • Trolling at faster speeds, >2.5 mph (creates less drag)
  • Fishing small ponds (small ponds have less of a chance of having large schools of bait in it)
  • More subtle, great for fishing shallow structures, brush, standing timber

5-Wire lures are great for:

  • Trolling at slower speeds, 1-2.4 mph
  • Fishing larger lakes
  • Flashier presentation – with or without blades, a 5-wire umbrella rig creates a ton of vibration and will draw fish in quickly.
  • Open water when bass are chasing shad on the surface

Basic Presentations/Retrieval Techniques

To achieve a good presentation, which refers to the way that bass interprets your fishing rig, you need to ensure that the umbrella rig is properly balanced. The right balance helps add more movement to the baits and attracts more strikes. 

Casting the umbrella rig can be difficult due to the weight of the umbrella rig and you could injure yourself if not done correctly. Use your shoulder and upper body to cast further instead of simply flicking your wrist. If you cast out by using your wrist you could risk a severe case of tendonitis. 

A basic steady retrieve can catch fish while fishing the umbrella rig, but adding some variety will dramatically boost your results.

Use a steady retrieve by slowly reeling the rig for 10 to 15 seconds. Pause for a second or two and resume reeling in the line. 

Another retrieval option you can do is rapidly reel for a few rotations (“burning”) every few feet as you reel in. Or as an additional option, you can quickly jerk the tip of the rod upward (“pumping”) as you are reeling the rig. Both of these retrieval options force the wires to contract and flair out as a result of these brief bursts of speed. This pulsing action resembles a school of baitfish panicked and school close together.  Bass take this behavior as the baitfish noticed them, and the bass are then forced to make a rapid decision about whether or not to strike.


  • Casting correctly prevents injuries and arm fatigue
  • A steady retrieve works only sometimes
  • Adding variations such as pausing, burning, and pumping may elicit bites
  • Pay close attention to what retrieve works and duplicate it.

Best Locations and Structures to Fish an Umbrella Rig for Bass

Finding the right fishing structure is crucial when searching for largemouth and striped bass. Bass use structures as reference locations and ambush points as they travel.

Structures are changes to the features of the bottom of the water. This may include changes in the profile of the bottom created by humps or pieces of land that extend from the shore. 

Here are a few locations you need to fish your umbrella rig:

Humps – A hump is an elevated area of land at the bottom of the lake. The edges of the hump often include ledges or slopes where bass and other fish may be found.

Points – A point that extends from the shore may include slopes or ledges that recede into the water. The areas around these slopes and ledges often provide a good starting point for bass fishing.

Ledges – A ledge is any drop in depth, where the bottom changes from shallow to deep in a very short distance (ie; >a 70-degree drop). Ledges can be found on steep banks, primary river channels, creek channels, and drainage ditches on flats.

Channel swings – A channel swing is a section of the primary river channel, or creek channels that demonstrates a significant change in direction. Most channel swings are associated with hard rocky structures. 

Jetties – A jetty is a long man-made point made from concrete and chunk rock. Best of all it can hold fish year-round. The tip (or “point”) of the jetty should always be checked for fish because it’s also close to deep water. 

Long rocky bank – A long rocky bank single long section of bank that consists of rocky structure. The size of the rock can range from small boulders to basketball-sized rock (also known as “riprap”). The tips or ends of these long rocky banks will either drop off into deep water, or transition into smaller-sized rock, such as gravel or sand.

The point is characteristically steep and crawfish, bluegill, minnows, and shad seek shelter in this area, which in turn attract bass and other predatory fish. 

It’s best to focus your efforts on cuts, piles of rock that create a ‘point on the point’, fishing the largest of boulders in that area, as well as, the transition areas from larger rock to smaller rock size.

Rock piles – Rocks are another source of cover for bass. However, they offer less cover and access to food compared to wood and weeds. Isolated rock piles on baren points tend to attract the most bass. 

Gravel is often a good place to look for bass, as the gravel holds more decaying matter, which can bring more baitfish to the area. 

Over brush and standing timber – Wood from docks, stumps, fallen trees, and other wood structures can also provide cover for bass and baitfish. Wood that has recently started deteriorating is more likely to attract baitfish, and in turn, bass.

Weeds provide cover and oxygen for bass. However, some weeds are more difficult to fish.

Slimy and stringy weeds with many filaments are more likely to snag your line. Look for lily pads, subsurface grasses, and green mosses.

Bridges – Bridges are one of the best man-made types of cover to fish. They offer everything a bass needs to feed on fish; a current break, a shade line, a sharp break in the side bank, and riprap piles close to or around the bridge piling created during construction.  Bass can be found suspended or will hold close to the bottom based on water clarity, current speed, and overall depth of water. Smart anglers will use their side image to identify shad holding close the piling in the shaded areas. Fall and spring are two of the best times to fish bridges. When shad and the bass migrate up the river to feed or to spawn bridges serve as a funnel. 

Docks –  Docks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and bass have a strong preference for certain dock characteristics. On certain days, the largest fish tend to congregate beneath the canopy’s boat lifts, while on others, the shallowest end of the walkway is the crucial zone.

Best of all, you can practically fish the entire lake that same way once you unlocked the pattern. 

There are two types of docks: floating and permanently fixed docks. Both have their place in attracting fish at different times and situations. For instance, bass hold closer to the bottoms of pilings on pier-style constructions when there is current. On the other hand, bass will suspend and hang more beneath floating docks when there is less current or when it’s cold

Boat rampsBelieve it or not, another great spot for bass are launch ramps and launch ramps. I call these areas “selfie central”. When anglers come back from the day, they tend to take a few pictures with the fish they caught, and release them at the ramps. 

This gives you an awesome refresh of bass, but quite often the largest catches of the day are the ones that get dropped off at the ramps.

Often the sides of the ramp are lined with riprap rock which is great for attracting bass. . Additionally, at the bottom of the ramp there tends to be a hole that is made from all the people throttling their boats onto their trailers. 

So when you see tons of fishermen on the shoreline, don’t think it’s all fished out; it might just be so heavily replenished from the “selfie effect” that there’s more than enough to go around!

Umbrella Rig with Blades or Without: Which Is Better?

People have success fishing for bass with umbrella rigs with and without blades. The original umbrella rigs did not use blades, but many options now come equipped with them.

The spinner blades are secured along the arms of the umbrella rig with swivels. The blades spin as the rig moves through the water, which creates vibrations that mimic small fish. 

The flash and vibration of the blades make them effective for drawing in bass from further away. Blades are useful in situations where the visibility of the bass is limited, such as stained or muddy waters,  or breezy or windy conditions.

An umbrella rig without blades is preferred when fishing in clear water with high visibility. Rigging both options can give you the ability to easily switch rigs based on the water and weather conditions.

Blades come in a variety of sizes and colors. The two most common varieties of blades are the Colorado blade and the Willow blade.

The Willow blade is by far the most common type of bladed umbrella rig that is sold. 

Willow blades have a narrower profile, which increases the speed of the blade, thus resulting in a faster retrieve.  In a situation with clear water with active feeding, you get better results with the faster Willow blade umbrella rig.

The Colorado blade has a wide, round shape, resulting in slower movement due to its larger profile. Colorado blades can produce greater vibration, making them useful in dirty or cold water where visibility is limited, or the bass move slowly.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not produce umbrella rigs equipped with Colorado blades, so most anglers will have them custom-made.


  • No blades = more subtle approach
  • Blades = more flash = more attraction
  • Willow blades – most common, create a ton of flash, can be retrieved quickly
  • Colorado blades – least common, create a ton of vibration, has to be retrieved slowly, great for stained water and night fishing

How Many Blades Per Arm?

You probably noticed there are manufacturers creating umbrella rigs with 1-4 blades per arm. As anyone getting into umbrella rig fishing this can create confusion.

Remembering that each blade creates Flash it is easy to then understand the more blades that are on your umbrella rig the more flash it will create, and vice versa. 

So if you are fishing in a lake with stained conditions more flash is potentially required. 

It’s also important to note that the more blades on your umbrella rig, as well as the more arms equipped on your umbrella rig also increases the lure weight. This means that you need to fish with specialized equipment.

For those who are new to umbrella rig fishing, most professionals recommend using a single blade per arm.


  • More blades = more flash = more attraction = heavier weight = needs specified equipment

Best Umbrella Rig Blade Colors

Umbrella rig blades are available in a wide variety of colors and color patterns. Some options work better in certain conditions compared to others.

Painted blades are often used in cloudy, windy conditions when visibility is limited. While some anglers use black and white blades in low-visibility conditions, some only use white blades. 

Black and white blades create a clear silhouette in low-light situations. However, white blades more closely resemble the silhouette created by baitfish swimming above the bass. 

Nickel and silver blades are often used in clear waters and under clear skies. The metal blades reflect more of the sunlight, creating a brighter reflection for attracting bass.

Gold blades are phenomenal in stained water conditions, in areas that are windy, and where dirty and clear water meet up. For example where a murky creek drained into a clear water lake. 


  • Silver blades – most common option available, great for clear skies, clear water
  • Gold blades – least common option, great for stained water and night fishing
  • Shad or baitfish colored blades – may work in clear water conditions, not strongly recommended
  • Painted blades – Bright orange, red, black, black/white = great for cloudy overcast windy conditions

Choosing the Right Umbrella Rig Trailer

Most seasoned veterans will encourage new anglers to use soft plastic trailers that range from 3.5-inch baits to 4.5-inch baits.  By far most will suggest using soft plastic swimbaits as the starting trailer however, some anglers say adding single tail grubs also works well. 

Since you are adding the swimbait onto either a hook or a centering pin spring (CPS) it needs to be a solid body swimbait or a hollow belly swimbait.

Choosing the color for your soft plastic swimbait isn’t as simple as picking the prettiest one in the pack. You need to consider a few things when selecting the color of your plastic swimbait, including water clarity, the geographic area you’ll be fishing in, and the forage species found native to the lake you are fishing on. 

For the most part you cannot go wrong with the standard solid white, translucent shad, and a shad with some chartreuse for extra color. 

The water clarity impacts color choices. If you’re casting into clear water, you’ll want to mimic the prey fish of the area and choose a more natural pallet, such as gray, white, or silver.  Darky, murky water calls for darker colored swimbaits such as blue, black, or June bug, or brighter colored swimbaits such as chartreuse or bubblegum. 

If you’re fishing at night choosing darker colors also can work very well.


  • Start by buying soft plastic swimbaits in both 3.5-inch and 4.5-inch sizes
  • With each size buy a pack of solid white, translucent shad, and a shad with some chartreuse for extra color
  • Murky water = dark-colored swimbaits
  • Night fishing = dark color swimbaits

Choosing the Correct Size/Weight Jig Head For Your Umbrella Rig

Most umbrella rig jig heads come in a variety of sizes, most spanning from 1/16th-ounce to ¼-ounce per jig head. 

Be sure to check your state and local laws to help you determine how many jig head hooks you are allowed on your umbrella rig. 

The size of the weight also determines the depth you are going to be fishing at. Most anglers will recommend using 1/16-ounce to ¼-ounce weights for jig heads. 

So one of the biggest questions you’ll probably want to know about is what type of jig head should you use on your umbrella rig?

After trial and error, a came across a phenomenal product to use as a jig head.  It wasn’t until I watched an episode of Fish The Moment YouTube channel, where Jonny talked about what he uses and it blew me away!

And that product is… (drumbeats)……

A lightwire shaky head jig!

I know it sounds crazy but hear me out, it makes total sense.  The weight of the jig head will get your umbrella rig to the depth you’re looking for, but with standard swimbait jig heads you run the risk of having to break off your umbrella rig when you get hung up because of the hook wire are so thick and stout. 

However, when you use a thin-gauge wire shaky head jig you can easily bend out the wire and save your umbrella rig if you get snagged!

But wouldn’t that allow the fish to bend it out too?  Nope! Big bass do not have the same leverage to bend out a shakyhead hook when it’s attached to an umbrella rig. Brilliant!


  • Lightwire shaky head jigs work the best. 
  • Have a variety of sizes available 1/16, ⅛, and ¼ ounces

Do You Need a Swivel for an Umbrella Rig?

Swivels are recommended for umbrella rigs. Umbrella rigs have multiple wires, which makes them more prone to tangling. 

Most umbrella rigs come equipped with swivels on the ends of each wire. The head at the end of the rig also typically includes a swivel for connecting to the wire leader, which is the length of line that connects the fishing rig to the main fishing line on your reel.

If you purchase an umbrella rig without a swivel on the head, consider adding one. The swivel ensures that the rest of the rig can rotate without twisting your leader. 

One of the biggest tips that you must know about is: ALL of the stock snap swivels should be removed. 

Stock snap swivels are notoriously flimsy and prone to failure. Because umbrella rigs frequently attract largemouth bass and striped bass, the smartest thing to do is remove the cheap stock snap swivels so you never have to risk losing a once-in-a-lifetime catch due to faulty equipment.

It’s strongly recommended that you switch out to at least a 70-pound barrel and snap swivel. I really like the Gamakatsu Cross Lock Snap Superline Swivel 7 – 75-pound. The swivels have phenomenal strength,  the black coating resists corrosion, it’s easy to change jig heads, and it’s designed for heavy tackle and saltwater applications.

Then based on your state and local laws you can begin to customize your umbrella rig by adding upgraded swivels and additional jig heads.


  • All stock snap swivels should be changed out to upgraded swivels

Best Fishing Hooks for Your Umbrella Rig

Fishing hook sizes 2/0 to 4/0 are typically used for catching bass with single or double hooks. These sizes are large enough to hook most swimbaits. 

A larger hook may limit the movement of the bait, which can make it less attractive to nearby bass. Pro anglers typically use the smallest hook size capable of hooking the fish that they want to catch.

You also need to review the laws in your state to avoid using too big of hooks. For example, in Tennessee, if any of the hooks are larger than size 6, you can only use a single hook. 

The weight of the hooks should also match the weight of your fishing line. If you use a heavy fluorocarbon line, you should use a thicker hook.


  • Hook size should depend on the size lures you are fishing 2/0 for small 3-inch baits, whereas 4/0 hooks are great for 4-5-inch baits

How to Setup an Umbrella Rig for Bass

Here is what you need to start setting up an umbrella rig:

  • Umbrella rig
  • Jigheads
  • Weighted hooks
  • Center pin spring (CPS)
  • Soft plastic swimbaits
  • Fishing line

Step 1 – Review your state and local laws. 

Step 2 – You’ll need to decide what type of umbrella rig you’ll probably be fishing the most. 

If you cannot make up your mind it’s recommended that you buy at least (1) 3-arm umbrella rig for shallow structure fishing, (1) 5-arm umbrella rig without blades (for breezy clear water conditions), (1)  5-arm umbrella rig with silver Willow blades (for breezy clear stained water conditions).

Step 2 – Replace all your snap swivels that is going to have a jig head on it.

Step 3 – For the wires that are not going to have jig heads, take off the swivels and on a medium-sized CPS screw. 

Step 4 – Add the jig heads onto your umbrella rig. 

—-  If you’re fishing a 3 or 4 arm umbrella rig start with ¼-ounce jig head the heaviest in the lowest wire, then surrounding arms can be 1/16-ounce or ⅛-ounce jig heads.  

—-  The best umbrella rig setup that has 5 or more arms, starts with ⅛-ounce jig heads on the outside wires, and a heavier ¼-ounce jig head for the center wire.

—-  If you cannot use hooks on every arm use weighted jig heads on the bottom two wires and the CPS screws on the top wires. It will keep the rig from twirling as you’re reeling it in and it drastically reduces the frequency of tangled casts because it rights itself as it’s being retrieved

—-  Jig heads are often used with smaller swimbait while weighted hooks are often paired with larger swimbaits. A 3.5-inch or larger swimbait can leave less of the weighted hook exposed. 

—-  Weighted hooks are also often preferred for shallow waters while jig heads are typically preferred for fishing in deeper water. The jig head or weighted hook is secured to the umbrella rig using fishing swivels. 

Step 5 – Secure the swimbaits using jig heads, weighted hooks, weightless hooks, or CPS screws.

—-  For the outer hooks use the smaller 3.5-inch swimbaits

—-  For the center wire hook use the larger 4.5-inch swimbait

It is critical to put the swimbaits on straight while rigging them. The rig could become imbalanced and twist, twirl, and roll if there is any fluctuation.

What Is the Best Rod for Umbrella Rig Fishing?

Casting rods are the preferred choice for umbrella rigs, as they offer greater casting distance and work well with heavier fishing lines and fishing rigs, such as an umbrella rig.

If the fishing rod you choose cannot handle the weight of your rig, you increase the risk of your rod snapping. Using too heavy of weight also makes the rod more difficult to cast a long distance.

The average unrigged umbrella rig weighs between two and three ounces. A rigged umbrella rig with multiple plastic swimbaits and jigheads can weigh up to a pound in some cases! 

Look for casting rods that are made specifically for bass fishing or swimbaits. Common lure weight ranges for casting rods are 3 to 10 ounces, which offers the support needed for an umbrella rig.

The next consideration is the length of the rod, which is often 7’6” to 8’ for an umbrella rig. A longer rod gives you a longer cast.

Moderate-heavy to heavy power is also recommended. A stiffer rod can handle heavier lures and lines.

You can use a spinning rod to fish an umbrella rig, but it’s really hard to cast accurately and not recommended in my opinion. However, you can certainly use a heavy-duty spinning rod for trolling. 

If you are deadset on using a spinning rod anyway, look for an option with the highest lure weight and line weight and pair it with your umbrella rig.  A good catfishing rod or a surf fishing rod are good choices to consider.


  • Use a casting rod for casting an umbrella rig. 
  • Use a casting or a heavy-duty spinning rod if you’re trolling an umbrella rig.

What Line to Use For Umbrella Rigs?

When fishing the umbrella rig, it’s critical to use a thicker line to prevent it from breaking or snapping.

Listen you probably paid a lot of money for your rig, and you don’t want it snapping off your first cast or bite. 

The common consensus is to use a 65-pound braided line with a 25lb monofilament leader. The braided line helps you to cast larger distances while maintaining sensitivity. Most anglers will add a 3-5-foot monofilament leader for a couple of good reasons. 

The monofilament is not as “bendy” as a braided line, so the line avoids wrapping around your umbrella rig during the cast.

The monofilament also works as a shock absorber in the event that you hook a monster fish (remember that braided line does not stretch). 

Some say that it also hides your bait. However, in my opinion, if the most aggressive bass attacks a single bait on a giant wire lure contraption, chances are they don’t care about the line it’s attached to. 


  • Use a 65-pound braided line for your mainline
  • Use a 25-pound monofilament for your leader line

Best Season to Fish an Umbrella Rig

Along with using umbrella rigs in all types of water, you can use an umbrella rig in any season. However, people tend to use umbrella rigs more frequently during the colder parts of spring and fall.

Just before and after winter, bass spend more time feeding on shad and other baitfish. Bass are more active during these periods. 

You are more likely to find bass near shoreline areas and around structures during the cooler parts of spring and fall. 

Bass and other fish are less active during the winter, but you can still get bites using an umbrella rig. Fishing during the middle of the day is often the best choice during the colder months.

If you are fishing for bass with an umbrella rig during the summer, you may have better luck going deeper, especially at midday. Head for open water and allow your rig to travel through the lower depths of the lake or river. 

The early summer can also provide a prime time for catching bass as they chase shad along the top of the water column. The waters are cooler in the early mornings of the summer before the sun starts shining, sending the bass to shallow water to feed.


  • You can fish the umbrella rig all year long but it really shines in the fall and spring

Best Time of the Day to Fish an Umbrella Rig

The best time of the day to fish an umbrella rig depends on the weather and season. During colder weather, the bass may come toward the surface and shorelines in search of food at midday.

During the winter, wait for the air temperature to reach its warmest point, which is often the early afternoon. Shallow fishing is also recommended, as you may lure bass in from colder depths. 

Early morning and late afternoon are often the ideal times for fishing for bass in the fall, summer, and spring. Avoid fishing in the middle of the day in the dead of summer, unless you plan on casting into deeper, cooler waters.

Night fishing is also a popular choice during the summer. You may have success on cooler nights with a bright moon. 

If you plan on fishing at night, consider using larger baits. Larger baits can make more noise and attract more attention. 

You also need to select the right color baits for night fishing. Darker colors tend to stand out more at night, as the profile of the swimbait is easier to spot. 

Blue, black, and purple are common colors for fishing for bass at night. These colors create a clear outline against the moonlit sky.


  • The best time of day to fish an umbrella rig is the early morning and in the evening.

How to Set the Hook When Fishing an Umbrella Rig for Bass

Setting the hook involves waiting to ensure that the bass has indeed taken a bite of your bait. Here are a few signs that you have a bite:

  • You feel resistance as you reel in your line
  • You feel a thump or sudden pull in the rod
  • Your reeling in the lure and your line suddenly goes slack
  • Your line moves unexpectedly

The most common sign that you have a bite is resistance on the line during retrieval. As you reel in your line, you may notice that it suddenly feels heavier or you’ll feel a thump or sudden pull in the rod.

You may also notice a slight vibration in the rod when a bass takes a bite. The strike from the bass sends vibrations through the line to the rod.

Along with the feeling of the line or rod, you need to use your eyes and look for unexpected movement, such as your line suddenly moving in a different direction.

When you notice one of these signs, instead of immediately yanking the line, start reeling in any slack line. If the line has too much slack, you may not create enough force when you yank. 

After reeling the slack, point the end of your rod toward the water before quickly snapping it back like a sideways sweeping motion toward your side or elbow. Resume reeling as soon as you snap the rod. 

Following these steps can help ensure that the bass gets hooked on your umbrella rig. However, knowing when the bass has bitten is not always easy.

After casting a new fishing rig, pay attention to the weight and feel as you reel it in. Knowing the weight and movement of your umbrella rig can help you detect when something feels different, such as a bass biting one of your baits.

You also need to watch your line, especially when fishing with friends. It is easy to get distracted and miss the moment that a bass takes a bite.


Can an Umbrella Rig Use Live Bait?

People tend to use umbrella rigs with artificial baits and lures. However, you can use live bait with your umbrella rig.

Live baits offer several advantages, including lower prices. Live baits are also more natural, thanks to their smell, texture, and appearance. 

You do not need to worry as much about your presentation when using live bait. Using live bait can easily draw the attention of nearby bass without much work. 

Common live baits for bass include:

  • Minnows
  • Shad
  • Crawfish
  • Bluegill
  • Nightcrawlers
  • Small frogs
  • Salamanders

Minnows and shad work well with an umbrella rig due to their smaller size and tendency to swim a school. Larger bait, such as crawfish and small frogs, are useful for attracting bass in murky or choppy waters. 

While live baits are more realistic, artificial baits are also very effective when used properly. Artificial swimbaits are also more convenient, as you can simply switch one out as needed.

Live baits require proper storage and care to keep them alive throughout your fishing trip. If you do not want to deal with the hassle of live bait, stick with artificial swimbaits.

Can You Troll for Fish Using an Umbrella Rig?

Trolling is a common technique when using an umbrella rig, as it involves casting far away from your boat in open waters and allowing the speed of the boat to drag the rig. However, you need to use caution to avoid tangling your wires and swimbaits on debris.

For example, you may want to avoid weedy areas and spots with heavy vegetation or structures. 

You can troll the surface or troll in deeper water. Surface trolling is recommended during cooler weather and overcast skies. 

When surface trolling for bass with an umbrella rig, gradually wave your rod side to side to create movement on your line. The side-to-side movement keeps the umbrella rig from trailing the path of your boat, which could partially obscure your swimbaits. 

Deepwater trolling typically works best during warmer weather and days with clear skies. The warmer weather causes the bass to swim deeper.

Avoid using a holder to hold your fishing rod when deep water trolling. You may not see any movement when a bass strikes your umbrella rig.

Instead of using a holder, keep your rod in your hands. Holding your rod allows you to feel movement on the line.

What Would I Use to Make an Umbrella Rig Float or Not Sink as Much?

Using a lighter tackle can help keep your umbrella rig from sinking as much. You can change the swimbaits, jig heads, hooks, and even the umbrella rig itself to create a lighter rig.

Most umbrella rigs include 3 to 5 wire arms and may include blades on each arm. Removing the blades or switching to a non-bladed umbrella rig can lighten the load.

You can also use an umbrella rig made with lighter gauge wire. Starting with an umbrella rig with an unrigged weight of 2 ounces instead of 4 ounces makes a difference in how quickly your rig sinks.

Another option is to switch to smaller jig heads. Weighted jig heads vary in size from 1/64-ounce to 3/4-ounce. 

For example, switching from several 1/2-ounce jig heads to 1/4-ounce jig heads can significantly decrease the weight of your umbrella rig and keep it from sinking quickly.

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