Umbrella rigs are really effective in the Ozark mountain lakes I routinely fish, especially in late fall through early spring. These lakes typically have standing timber in them and when you snag an umbrella rig you’re often faced with one of two possibilities – either you’re going to lose the whole rig or you’re going to waste a lot of fishing time trying to free it.
To avoid problems like that, try using a light-wire jighead with heavy braided line. When you snag, slowly pull on the hook until it bends over and comes loose - just make sure the line and knot are stronger than the hook. Usually, you can bend the hook back with needlenose pliers and it’s good to go again.
Of course, you’re not going to be able to horse in a big fish on a light-wire hook, but in most highland lakes you’re not catching 10-pound bass – more like 6- or 7-pounders at the top end. With bigger fish, you just have to take it easier and not horse them in.
When I’m fishing an umbrella rig, I’ll keep two rods on the deck. One is rigged with jigheads that have double-strength superline hooks. The other has light-wire hooks. If I’m fishing open water, I’ll use the heavier hooks; if I’m fishing around timber, I’ll switch to the rig with the lighter hooks.
---- Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan, Rogers, Ark.