Lake Lanier, Georgia
Bait Care for Summer | Lead Core Trolling | Umbrella Rigs | Barometer | Cut Bait for Stripers | Down Rod Fishing for Stripers | Targeting Big Fish | Flat Lines & Planer Boards 101 | Lowrance Tips & Performance HD | Fall Turnover | Fall Fishing (Ken West Presentation)
Fishing with umbrella rigs has been referred to as using a lure with training wheels. Umbrella Rigs are either loved or hated by fisherman. But when the fishing is tough, you will not find a better solution to catching stripers anywhere. Why do the professionals use them day in and day out? Because they catch fish!
The purpose of the umbrella rig is to simulate a small pod of bait, being chased by one or two larger baits. That's it, now picture 2, 3 or 4 or more of these Umbrella Rigs in the water at one time. That is a big school of fish chasing your boat. They are definitely attention getters.
You will need special equipment to use Umbrella Rigs. A heavy or medium heavy action fiberglass rod is in order. I prefer a 7 to 7.5' Tiger Rod. The reel needs to be big enough to carry a high line capacity of at least 50lb test mono. I prefer using the heaviest braid available. Braid from 80 to 130 lbs is my preference. I also prefer the reel should have a line counter. It makes controlling your depth easy. However, you can use a reel with a standard line leveler, and count the rotations. For example, on a Penn 330 or 320 GTI, each rotation is 10'. Trust me the line counter is easier.
To attach the line to the Umbrella rig you can either tie it directly to it or use a snap swivel. If you use a swivel make sure it is rated 100 lbs or better. I use large 150-200lb swivels. I have lost Umbrella rigs on lesser swivels with a multiple hook up or even a tree. I prefer using the snap swivel so I can change to other color Umbrella rigs quickly. Believe it or not, big gaudy hardware doesn't effect the bite. The fish are not biting out of hunger, but its more of a reaction bite.
When letting out the Umbrella rig, have your boat moving. Keep it at around idle speed, which should be between 2.5 and 3 mph depending on your boat. The rigs are heavy and will drop fast. I like to thumb my reel while letting them out. This ensures me they will not hit bottom or structure. Keep your boat moving once they are out. Even when catching a fish, keep the boat moving. If you stop the boat, any other umbrella rigs you have out will fall quickly to the bottom, unless you have a partner to reel them in.
They look more difficult to use than they really are. Do experiment around with your colors of jigs as well as boat speed and distance behind the boat. Remember, Lake Lanier is full of trees down below. Study your sonar carefully. If need be you can speed up your boat quickly to raise the height of these rigs. Most important, if you do hook a tree, and you will, make sure you back the boat to the rig. Get over it or beyond it and try to jig it loose. If you dive in a circle to it, you are likely to wrap your line around more of the same trees. I highly suggest you invest in an umbrella rig retriever. It will save your day as well as your wallet. Good luck fishing.
Below is a depth chart based on using a 3OZ URig with 8 -3/4 oz jigs + 1 1oz jig or 7oz of jigs.