Breaking News: B.A.S.S. Outlaws the Alabama Rig in Elite and Classic Tourney Events

If you follow trends in the bass world, you've surely heard of the Alabama Rig (left). If you don't, this controversial "lure" is a play on the classic saltwater umbrella trolling rig, simply made compact and castable. A weighted head sprouts five wire arms with snap swivels on each end. To those swivels you can pretty much add any soft-plastic you'd like. Bass pro Paul Elias used an Alabama Rig in a tourney on Lake Guntersville back in October and won. Now, as companies scramble to make and sell their own versions of the rig, B.A.S.S. has taken another look at them and decided, you know what? This isn't going to work for us.

From the B.A.S.S. press release:
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..."

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 Bassmaster.com. 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."

Personally, I have never been excited about the Alabama Rig (which, by the way, is already outlawed in some states). Perhaps I'm biased having grown up striper fishing on the East Coast, but I have equal disdain for umbrella trolling rigs. Both rigs are highly effective fish catchers, however, I agree with B.A.S.S. that using an Alabama Rig takes very little if any skill, just as I'd say filling the box with stripers by towing an umbrella rig is lackluster and something I never do on my own boat. Where's the challenge? What do you think?