Jay Yelas – FLW Guntersville

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YelasBlogWhat a fantastic week we had at Lake Guntersville, AL for the FLW Open. This week will always be remembered as the week the Alabama Rig made its debut on the National tournament scene.

Paul Elias showed up at an otherwise tough Lake Guntersville and blew the place up with his Alabama Rig. He caught 102 pounds of bass from a lake where we thought 65 pounds might be the winning weight before the event started.

New lure categories are only introduced in the sport every decade or so. Think Fat Gitzit, Senko, Hollow Swimbaits. They are so rare, but when they show up they just dominate for a while. The Alabama Rig is now here and man, does it catch bass.

I saw something this week I had never seen before in my 23 years on the tournament trail. The final day, all top 10 guys threw only the Alabama Rig all day! That is incredible dominance by a new bait.

I think it is wonderful for the sport. It’s like this new “magical” bait has come on the scene. It gets me fired up to go fishing because it catches so many bass.

All year, everyone thought there was something wrong with Guntersville. The catches had been way down all year. Some said there had been a fish kill, others reasoned it was the massive fishing pressure. The truth is, Guntersvillle bass are as plentiful as ever. They had just become to smart to get caught. The fishing pressure at Guntersville is mind boggling. 365 days a year, the ramps are packed. These bass have all been caught several times over.

Enter the Alabama Rig. Not just one bait, but a school of 5 swimbaits on one big wire harness. Something new to fool the bass. And boy, does it have them fooled! They just hammer this rig. bass have no inhibitions when they approach the AL rig.

I experienced the power of the AL rig firsthand this week. On day 1 of the event, I caught 11 pounds out of a creek on a Berkley Hollow Belly. On day 3 of this event, I fished he same creek with 5 Berkley Hollow Bellies on an AL rig and caught 21 pounds and 3x as many keepers.

The first 2 days of this event, I fished the Hollow Belly solo, the old fashioned way. I rallied for 18# on day 2, making the top 20 cit in 15th place, at the day 2 weigh-in, Paul Elias let everyone know he was blowing the field away with the AL Rig. I scrambled around and my friends came to the rescue loaning me some AL Rigs. Days 3 and 4 all I did was throw Hollow Bellies on the AL rig. I had 21# and 18# the last day to finish 7th.

I found the 5″ Hollow Belly the best on the AL Rig for good bites. I used five 5″ Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad Hollow Bellies. I also had an AL rig made up with 4″ Hollow Bellies. It got bit like crazy, but my bigger bites came on the 5″. I used 1/4 to 1/2 oz jigheads. You can fish it deeper with heavier jigheads. I found that 70% of the fish bit the middle swimbait on the rig. I tried mixing 4″ and 5″ on the same rig and that worked too.

I used 65# Fireline Braid, it was the perfect line for the AL Rig. The ABU Veritas 7’11” Heavy rod is the rod for the AL rig. I tied a palomar on the rig, it is tricky but just use a big loop.

It was a fun way to end a good season. I can’t wait for 2012!