How to Fish an Umbrella Rig for Bass

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An exciting venture filled with lots of bass biting is what every angler wants. To achieve this, you should know some important rigs for bass such as the Umbrella rig. However, utilizing an umbrella rig when you’re completely inexperienced can be downright dangerous. So, the first step would be to learn how to fish an Umbrella rig for bass.

How to Fish an Umbrella Rig for Bass

There are a good number of rig options when it comes to fishing bass. Most of these such as the Texas rig and the Carolina rig are well suited to various fishing conditions. However, the umbrella rig boasts a versatility that is only rivaled by a few other rigs and is an excellent rig option to know.

Three men riding on a small boat were fishing together in a lake

Tips for Fishing an Umbrella Rig for Bass

From using the right jig head to knowing when to use your rig in shallow waters and deep waters, you must know how to use this rig to your benefit. Here are seven tips to successfully fish this rig for bass:

Use the Right Jig Head

Round jig heads can be used with the Umbrella rig while fishing in open water. When fishing the Umbrella jig in thick covers, such as weeds or brush, be sure to use jig heads equipped with weed guards. It is not necessary to use heads of equal mass. Each leg of your umbrella jig should have a total of four distinct weight heads.

A school of baitfish in varied sizes can be simulated in this way, giving the illusion that your rig is loaded with fish. Most bites occur when the jig is presented to the fish in this manner.

Attach the jig heads to the tips of the arms using snaps or split rings. You shouldn’t bother with leaders since the extra length will cause the jigs to become entangled as you cast or retrieve them.

Extend the Arms Out to the Sides

Leave enough room so the arms can move without catching on one other while ensuring that it is not so much that they can get hung up on rocks and stumps. Also, the tight arrangement is a better representation of how a school of baitfish might swim.

However, while not in use, the arms of your rig should be kept close together to save space in the tackle box.

Use a Steady Retrieve

Bring in the rig by using a retrieve that is irregular and steady at the same time. Take it easy for the first ten to fifteen seconds of the retrieve before you pick up the pace. After that, pause for a short while.

When the lures suddenly change their direction, fish frequently strike. If the rig starts to rise as you get closer to the conclusion of your retrieve, you can also get some strikes. If the retrieval is unsuccessful, you might try altering the speed in either the forward or reverse direction.

Whisk the Handle Back With Your Free Hand

Casting with a normal rod and reel requires less work than casting with this rig, which requires more effort. It is necessary to cast using the shoulder, the forearm, and the upper torso to free the rig and lures.

If you are using a fishing rod with a long handle, you should whisk the handle back with your free hand, which is typically your less dominant hand, while you whisk the remaining portion of the rod forward.

A man holding a tri-colored fishing rod with a white fishing line and a black reel is catching fish in a lake

Use the Grub or Worm Secret

Each jig should have a grub or worm with a wriggling tail affixed to it. A worm or grub with a tail in the shape of a ribbon or sickle can be recovered with the tail flapping, making it look like a swimming baitfish. A downward swoop from the tail is appropriate.

Colors that look like the local bait species are effective when selecting fishing lures. You should always rely on the old rule of thumb, which states that:

  • You should employ shiny bait in transparent water and brilliant sunlight, and
  • A soft lure in murky water and gloomy weather

In murky water, spinner bait may be utilized if a jig and grub won’t work.

Recall ‘the Deeper the Better’

During the warmer months, it is sufficient to simply cast and use rigs baited with chum while trolling in the shallows and bays.

However, as the water temperature drops fast, bass migrates away from the edges of channel breaks and instead go deep to join the massive schools of shad that were seeking warmth in the colder depths of the lake.

Due to this, you should cast out from the beach and cast to the base of the waters where these fishes are known to congregate.

Spin Out the Bass

As is the case with any other kind of fishing rig or lure, umbrella rigs are available in a broad range, with the willow leaf-bladed variation typically proving to be the most successful.

Spinner flies tend to be very effective when used in water that is quite chilly for bass fishing. A spinner can assist by slowing down your rig and drawing the attention of bass that are swimming between 20 and 30 feet deep to your bait.

Top Fishing Gear for Umbrella Rigs

Before you fish for bass with an umbrella rig, you need the correct gear to better your chances. They make using these rigs more efficient and facilitate easier bass fishing trips. These are the best three you should look out for:

Fishing Rod

Formerly, this bait was only cast with a special rod designed for it, and at its inception, many anglers were using 8-foot-long fishing rods, most times swim baits.

While some anglers still benefit from this technique, however, most now opt for a more standard rod, often 7 feet or 7 feet 6 inches in length, and moderate-heavy line weight. The size of the rod and line weight is hinged on the size of the rig being cast. You can fish all day with far less hand difficulty using these shorter rods.

A grandfather and grandson both holding black fishing rods standing on a brown wooden platform in the lake

Fishing Line

When fishing with an umbrella rig, most anglers prefer to use fluorocarbon or braided lines. Braids are desirable because of the control and nuance they offer. It can give you a sense of the fish that swim by your baits without really hooking up.

A fluorocarbon leader is used by the vast majority of braided fishing line anglers. Anglers in the north often use fluorocarbon while fishing for smallmouth bass in clean water. Since these fish are sometimes line hesitant, it’s crucial to use the clearest, slimmest line possible to give these fish every advantage to want a bite at your hook.

Fishing Reel

Some anglers enjoy using fast-spinning reels with a high-gear ratio to keep up with bass that reacts and swims directly at them, while others find that slow-moving reels which offer a greater force are more effective with the rig.

If you want to get the most out of your casts, pick a reel that can hold more lines.

Umbrella Rig Fishing Hotspots

An umbrella rig’s beauty lies in its versatility; while it is most successful in places with an abundance of bait, you can use it practically any place. This rig is not effective amid thick vegetation, however, it can be set up:

  • By a pier
  • Between bridge pilings, or
  • Out in a break on the main lake

Umbrella rigs are quite effective for smallmouth bass in the north when fishing near the current, where there are concentrations of smallmouth bass, or where marked bait is suspended. In the south, it is usual to shoot atop:

  • Bluffs
  • Bridges, and
  • Steep banks

To get the most out of an umbrella setup, the water clarity must be high. They could catch fish in the dirt if they wanted to, but their best luck has come from the clear waters.


You have it now. How to use an umbrella rig for bass fishing, with helpful hints. Although it may seem daunting at first, mastering the rig and catching bass with it eventually becomes second nature over time.