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‘Umbrella rig’ legal if using only four hooks

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The Umbrella rig, also known as an Alabama rig, has garnered considerable attention since a U.S. professional bass angler used it to win a large bass tournament in Alabama in October, 2011.

The subsequent publicity has made it one of the most sought-after pieces of tackle in the bass-fishing community, both here in Ontario and the U.S.

The rig consists of a hard body with a line-tie followed by five wire strands in a fan design, each with a snap swivel at the end.

Anglers can attach a variety of lures to each swivel for a look that is meant to imitate a school of baitfish.

Since it functions like a wire leader, the rig is not considered a lure until hooks are added.

Most jurisdictions in North America have specific regulations on the number of hooks that can be attached to an angler’s line.

In Ontario, it is illegal to fish with a line that has more than four hooks attached.

As a result, the Alabama version of the Umbrella rig with five hooks or lures attached is not permitted for use in the province.

However, if modified to four strands or arms to accommodate only four hooks, it is allowed.

Ontario four-arm version of the Alabama rig already is being produced

Anglers can legally use these rigs in the province if no more than four lures—each with just one hook—are attached.

Attaching four crankbaits or other hard-body lures with more than one treble hook per lure to the rig is not permitted.

A treble hook is deemed to be one hook on an artificial lure.

Anglers also are reminded that all fish unintentionally hooked in a place other than the mouth must be live-released immediately.

For more information on catch limits and fishing in Ontario, see the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary at ontario.ca/fishing

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