UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Alabama rig mania hits a fevered pitch

EverStart Championship anglers line up for Alabama Rigs being sold personally by the rig's maker, Andy Poss, at a gas station in Buchanan, Tenn.

BUCHANAN, Tenn. - "They must be giving away iPhones over there," said a local man pumping gas at Dodd's Country Store and gas station on Highway 79 near Paris Landing State park on Wednesday afternoon.

"Either that or Miranda Lambert concert tickets," he added with a chuckle.

Finally curiosity got the best of the jolly man pumping gas.

"What in the heck are they standing in line for over there anyway?" he asked openly.

"Alabama rigs," answered another man pumping gas into his Ranger boat.

"Alabama what?" he retorted.

"Alabama rigs," the angler clarified. "They're fishing lures."

"Well, that beats all I have ever seen," the curious man said, shaking his head. "That many people standing in line for a fishing lure?"

As he cranked his car and pulled away from the pump to continue on his merry way, he rolled down the window and shouted, "Dang, I must be in the wrong business!"

It's official: Alabama-rig mania is now a full-blown fishing phenomenon that must be witnessed to be believed.

Just a mere three days after Paul Elias introduced the outdoor world to the Alabama rig with a commanding win at the Walmart FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville, the frenzy for these unique five-way wire harnesses that hold multiple baits is something few have ever witnessed in the fishing industry.

Shortly after the registration meeting for the EverStart Championship on Kentucky Lake Wednesday afternoon, Alabama rig inventor Andy Poss and his wife, Tammy, pulled into Dodd's filling station with a truck full of Alabama rigs and began doling them out three at a time to EverStart anglers eager to get their hands on one.

Within minutes a line formed, based solely on word of mouth at the meeting. First 20, then 60. Before long as many as 120 anglers waited patiently, cash in hand, to be the rightful owners of the fishing apparatus that has swept the bass-fishing world off its feet.The line only gets longer for the A-Rig.

For the last three days of practice at the EverStart Championship, the Alabama rig has been the only subject of conversation in restaurants, motel parking lots and boat ramps. Usual fall topics such as next year's tournament schedules, deer hunting and even Alabama football have taken a backseat to the Alabama rig.

The extent to which pros are going to get their hands on the wiry device that allows them to put five swimbaits on a single rig, thereby emulating a whole school of shad, is mind-boggling.

One contingent from Texas actually took a day off from practice to go on a scavenger hunt for materials such as wire, swivels, tubing and heat shrink in an effort to manufacture their own version of the Alabama rig. They eventually ended up purchasing egg beaters and stripping the thin wire from the kitchen utensils to make the imposter harnesses. Now that's called home cooking.

How Paul Elias' 102-pound, 8-ounce catch on Lake Guntersville last week has manifested into a run on eggbeaters at the Paris, Tenn., Walmart is unfathomable, but that very demand led Andy and Tammy Poss to hire additional help at their shop, keeping it running day and night, to make true Alabama rigs for EverStart anglers.

"We heard that our Alabama rigs were being sold on eBay for as much as $500 apiece," said Tammy Poss. "And we've heard that other people were coming over here to sell the rigs for $60 apiece. We decided that just was not fair to the fishermen. So we've worked around the clock, made about 400 extras and drove over here just to supply the anglers with Alabama rigs at the original price of $25 apiece."

"I'm running on about three hours of sleep," said Andy Poss. "The last four days have been an absolute whirlwind. No words can describe it. We are absolutely overwhelmed, but we felt it was only right to come over here and give these tournament anglers a fair chance to purchase an Alabama rig at a fair price without being fleeced. I'm a tournament angler, too, so I know what it's like to want what the fish are biting."

"Before last week the hit counter on our website was about at 8,000," Tammy said. "By Monday morning it was at 85,000."

The hit counter on www.thealabamarig.com now stands at 131,348.

As Andy and Tammy told tales of their last four frenzied days, both of their cell phones sang continuously. Andy carried a plug-in cell phone charger in his hand with hopes of finding an outlet to get his phone some more juice.

While in line, anglers who had been getting by on just a borrowed Alabama rig or a homemade "egg-beater rig" showed off cell-phone pictures of double bass, two bass at once, caught on the rig during practice.

"I'd like to have those two tomorrow," grinned one angler showing off a pair of chubby largemouths sharing a mouthful of swimbaits on an Alabama rig.
Ranger pro Ramie Colson smiles as he shows off his newly acquired Alabama Rigs.
More big smiles emerged from the business end of the line as anglers marveled at their purchases, clutching the hand-made bundles of wire tighter than kids holding candy apples at the county fair.

While it has already been predicted that the EverStart Series Championship will be won on an Alabama rig, now with some 400 extra rigs hitting the water on Thursday morning, it's almost certain the A-rig is going to chalk up another W this week.

When local pro Dan Morehead was asked if the Alabama rig had revitalized some of his worn-out community holes on Kentucky Lake, his eyes got big.

"Two words: Freaking unbelievable!" Morehead exclaimed.

When the same question was posed to well-known Kentucky Lake pro Terry Bolton, he smiled wryly and said, "Oh there's no question, it's going to work ... but just how well remains to be seen."

So far, the Alabama rig has endured one small set back: Tennessee laws only allow a maximum of three hooks on umbrella-style rigs fished on Tennessee waters.

But anglers like Koby Kreiger, who plans to fish in Tennessee waters today, remained undaunted by the recent news of the restrictions.
Koby Kreiger plans to fish Tennessee waters with three-bait Alabama Rig.
"It doesn't bother me one bit," Kreiger said as he pulled his Alabama rig out with two baits missing. "I think they'll still bite it with just three baits on it."

After a sunny and warm practice period, EverStart anglers will have to endure rainy skies, breeze and much cooler temperatures today as a front passes through the area.

How will that weather impact the Alabama-rig bite? It's not even a question worth pondering; hundreds of Alabama rigs will be splashing down on Kentucky Lake today regardless of the weather as A-rig mania continues to sweep the nation.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Paris Landing State Park located at 16055 Highway 79 N. in Buchanan, Tenn., at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's weigh-ins will be held at Walmart located at 1210 Mineral Wells Ave. in Paris, Tenn., starting at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo provides the opportunity for fans to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. There will be a free concert from the John Henry Band on Sunday at 3 p.m. on the FLW stage at Walmart prior to the final weigh-in.

Thursday's conditionsEverStart Championship anglers faced a rainy morning at the day-one takeoff.

Temperature at takeoff: 49 degrees
Expected high temperature: 57 degrees
Water temperature: 70 degrees
Wind: N at 10 to 20 mph
Day's outlook: rainy, cloudy and cool

Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2011-10-27-kentucky-lake-paris-landing 

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Mother Nature will deliver a big part of the story this week as the 2018 Costa FLW Series season comes to a close on Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, will wrap up the Central Division and finalize the field for the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson was one of the more challenging tournaments in recent memory. Consider that with 115 pros fishing over three days, there were only 13 limits caught, and it took just 18 pounds, 2 ounces for two days to make the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

The final Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event of the year was a true grinder. In fact, both first and second place only landed 13 keepers all week on Fort Gibson. When it’s that tough, little differences between baits can sometimes make a difference. Below is what the top 10 threw to get it done. READ MORE »

First Top 10 is a Win for Burke

First Top 10 is a Win for Burke

For three years, Johnny Burke, a 63-year-old retired county commissioner from Creek County, Oklahoma, has been fishing the Costa FLW Series as a co-angler just hoping he might score a top 10. Today, Burke not only scored his first top-10 finish, but he took it all the way to the top spot for the win. READ MORE »

Dickerson Wins by Tiebreaker

Dickerson Wins by Tiebreaker

For the second time this season in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division, a tournament was settled by tiebreaker after the top two pros finished the tournament with identical three-day weights. Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, came into the final day at Fort Gibson in first place. Kyle Cortiana of Coweta, Okla., started the day in fourth. The two anglers finished the tournament with 32 pounds, 6 ounces. Because Dickerson was higher in the standings after day two, he was declared the champion. Dickerson, who is Ranger Cup qualified, earned a prize package worth more than $80,000, including a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Things got a little crazy in the final-day action of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson. First, falling water levels overnight threw a major curveball to tournament leader Tommy Dickerson and third-place angler Cody Bird. For the last two days both pros have been shimmying their way through a rocky shoal far up a feeder creek. Yesterday, both said if the water dropped just 3 or 4 inches, the small crevice they’ve been following through the shoal would dry up and they would be denied access. When they awoke and checked water levels this morning, indeed the water had dropped. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Fort Gibson Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Getting off the beaten path. Finding something off the wall. Thinking outside the box. Trying something unconventional. These have all been the common themes of the top pros facing a very obstinate Fort Gibson Lake this week for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury. To give some idea of just how stubborn Fort Gibson has been, only three pros have caught a limit both days of the tournament. Even more stunning is that the top-10 cut weight after two days among pros stands at just 18 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson dawned much sunnier and breezier this morning. Anglers had high hopes that the wind might help improve the bite a smidge, but it’s remained tough. Tournament leader Kyle Cortiana got off to a fast start in his primary spot with two immediate keepers, but then his action died. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Fort Gibson – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Fort Gibson – Day 1

When looking out across Fort Gibson Lake on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury, one word came to mind: stagnant. For the last couple of weeks, the late-summer doldrums have set in across northeastern Oklahoma with warm, humid conditions. Current is virtually nonexistent in the lake. Aside from a couple of showers this morning and a little afternoon breeze, the lake was calm for much of the day. In all, things were pretty stale. During the day, anglers struggled to crack the stagnant code. Local pros leaned heavily on their home field knowledge, pulling out all the stops by fishing brush piles, obscure rock formations and anywhere there might be a breath of current. Local pro Kyle Cortiana compounded his home court edge into the tournament lead with 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Behind him, 11- and 12-pound limits were enough to earn a top-five spot on day one. READ MORE »

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The last event of the 2018 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division kicked off under rain clouds this morning out of Taylor’s Ferry Landing on Fort Gibson Lake. The event, which is presented by Mercury and hosted by the Wagoner County Chamber of Commerce, includes a field of 116 pros and co-anglers who will be scouring Fort Gibson’s highly pressured waters during the doldrums of late summer, trying to find an overlooked pattern or technique. READ MORE »

Cortiana Leads the Pack at Fort Gibson

Cortiana Leads the Pack at Fort Gibson

Kyle Cortiana has the early lead at the Costa FLW Series event presented by Mercury at Fort Gibson. The Oklahoma pro weighed in 15 pounds, 8 ounces on what was a very challenging first day of competition. He leads Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, by 1 pound, 1 ounce. Tulsa’s Robin Babb leads co-anglers with 8-7. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson is testing the pros and co-anglers alike on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern event presented by Mercury. Morning reports indicate very, very few fish being caught. Lots of pros were sitting on zero or with just one fish by the noon hour. The biggest catch discovered belonged to local angler Ryan Wilbanks who had boated four keepers with at least one of them being sizable. READ MORE »

Promising Tides on Tap at the Cal Delta

Promising Tides on Tap at the Cal Delta

It’s kind of a good news-bad news deal on the California Delta this week as anglers take on this vast and storied fishery for the final event of the Costa FLW Series Western Division. READ MORE »

Summer Not Over at 1000 Islands

Summer Not Over at 1000 Islands

It has been the year of the smallmouth in the Northern Division of the Costa FLW Series this season and the third and final event on the 1000 Islands will certainly showcase that. The event, which is presented by Navionics and hosted by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, is expected to have big weights especially due to the recent results of the Bassmaster Elite Series event and the Renegade Bass Tour Thousand Islands Open held back in early August. No doubt it’ll take over 20 pounds a day to win, however, conditions aren’t as ideal as anticipated for a major smallie smackdown to happen. READ MORE »

Studio Notes: Cup edition

Studio Notes: Cup edition

After two days of rather anemic action from the water at Ouachita, I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get any fireworks. Finally, Clent Davis delivered on the final morning, mounting a dream charge from 10th place to win and providing fishing fans with the most stunning comeback in Cup history. READ MORE »

Costa Smallmouth Derby Begins on Erie

Costa Smallmouth Derby Begins on Erie

Stop two in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division got underway under clear skies this morning on Lake Erie out of Buffalo. The event, which drew 169 boats, is presented by Polaris and hosted by Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission. The field features some of the top smallmouth sticks in the Northeast. The big question at game time was not whether anglers would catch plenty of fish, but how many and of what size. READ MORE »

Suggs Cracks 24-6 on Barkley

Suggs Cracks 24-6 on Barkley

Andrew Suggs of Cunningham, Tennessee, caught five bass weighing 24 pounds, 6 ounces, to win Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his win, Suggs took home $3,945. READ MORE »

Studio Notes: Lake St. Clair

Studio Notes: Lake St. Clair

While the first six tournaments of the season were quite a ride, FLW saved the best for last with the season finale at St. Clair and I must say, it was the most impressive event of the year. READ MORE »