Mike Sweeney: Alabama rig a good lure to catch stripers

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With striper season upon us I have been wanting to try a new rig called the Alabama rig. This is simply a smaller version of the umbrella rig but has been used for large mouth for the last couple of years.

It has a weight in the middle with four to five arms that come out to the sides that hold lures.

For stripers you want to put swim baits on the arms then you add a second leader down the middle to put a larger bait such as a stick bait or a jig head.

You want to make the appearance that it is a swarm of bait fish being chased by a larger fish.

The difference between the umbrella rig and the Alabama rig is the size of the lures. The umbrella rigs have caught monsters off shore for years but the Alabama rig can be cast on a heavy rod or trolled behind the boat near bridge pilings and other structure.

I recently put a rig on one of my trolling rods and dragged the sound bridge by Edenton with five Storm baits on the edges and a blue Yo-Zuri in the middle about a foot behind.

This turned the fish on and I finished the day with a limit of stripers when everyone else was struggling for a keeper.

Try this technique and I am sure you will have the same success that I had.

What’s biting, where ...

The fishing report is looking pretty good offshore but the billfish that have been on fire all summer have finally slowed down. The reports are that they still are around and hitting, but the grand slams and the 20-fish days are gone until next season. The good news is that dolphin and tuna are in abundance, so if you want to fill up your freezer now is the time to head out.

The near-shore boats are still on the blue fish with tons being brought back. Spanish mackerel are still on the prowl also. The sound boats are hot on the speckled trout and with the north winds blowing, the flounder have started to run.

You want to drift the channel breaks with belly strips on flounder rigs or drop a speck jig tipped with squid for the flat fish bite.

The specks are still moving from deep to shallow, so the hunt is on, but once you find them it is pretty easy to limit out. Throw shrimp on popping corks in the flats next to grass and bump a Gulp grub or shrimp on the channels for the deeper fish.

The beach bite is really turning on with the changing of the winds. The water temps are still in the low 70s and high 60s but the big drum have moved into the area. They were up north a couple of weeks ago and are now in places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.

The piers are landing as many as 30 keepers a day on whole mullet or cut bait. I like to throw the heads of large spot or croaker just past the second breakers in the deeper water. These fish are migrating south, so head out this weekend and catch them before they are gone.

The local bite is buzzing about the stripers on the sound bridge in Edenton. They seem to be either short or really nice fish. On one bite the fish is 12 inches and the next it is 27.

The hot lure on the bridge right now is the Yo-Zuri in blue and silver or a stretch 10 with some yellow in it. You want to bump the pilings as much as you can, but watch your line or you could miss a nice fish.

The local ponds are starting to pick up with the cooler weather and all the big bites are on.

Local pond expert Shawn Palaszewski of Elizabeth City has informed me that lipless rattle baits like KVD or Rattle Traps are the hot bait as long as you have some red in the bait.

You can also try a worm on the wood or a crank bait to even out the bite.

If you have a fishing report or just want to brag about a fish you caught send your information to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com.

Editor’s note: Mike’s column next week will include information on local football coaching great Jerry McGee fishing from his balcony. It was originally planned to be part of today’s column.


No Chip 'n Dales

Ha ha ha...When I first glanced at the stories heading I neary choked. "Alabama rig a good lure to catch strip(p)ers." Oh dash that double consonant :)..heh heh

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