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The Alabama Rig: Why It’s Banned from Fishing Competitions

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The New York Times

Fishermen dream of finding that certain lure that is so effective that “fishing” is more like “catching.”

There is a lure in that is so effective that professional organizations have banned it from competition. Known as the Alabama rig lure, it seems to be irresistible to bass, walleye, and northern pike.

The rig is made up of five wires that fan out like an umbrella. The lures attached to the end of the lines mimic a school of baitfish. Andy Poss, inventor of the rig, built a prototype in 2011, and that fall, pro angler Paul Elias tried the rig after a morning of zero bites.

In four casts with the rig, Elias caught 15 pounds of fish, and went on to win the tournament. Since that first use, the rig has been under scrutiny and was quickly banned from competition by BASS in 2012 and F.L.W. Outdoors in 2014.

“It’s a legitimate and ethical way to catch fish, but we hold professional anglers to a higher standard,” said David Precht from BASS. “The anglers feel that sometimes it can be too effective and it takes away from some of the skill in what is a traditional tournament.”

Not all professionals agree with the assessment of the lure. Casey Martin, who is on the F.L.W. Tour like Elias, says the lure works at the right time in the right conditions, but it’s not a guarantee of fish every cast.

Elias believes the organizations should have moved more slowly and studied the rig.

Poss, who has had a patent pending since creating the lure, had good sales of the rigs after Elias’s win, but the ban by professional organizations greatly reduced sales and competition from lower-priced, overseas models.

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The Alabama Rig: Why It’s Banned from Fishing Competitions