TONY LAIN shows a couple of umbrella versions...

I thought we’d put that umbrella rig thing behind us.  It’s not going to soil sportsmanship, innovation or professionalism–and shouldn’t that be enough? Obviously, the bass fishing world doesn’t think so and continues to spin in assorted directions–like so many dangling wires and snap swivels.

Yet, the one area that surprised me the most has been within the fishing industry–read, manufacturers. While the original Mann’s Slick Lures Alabama Rig, continues to sell at roughly 30 bucks, there are all kinds of “alternatives” for as little as $11 and by my count, as high as $35.

But hey, nothing new there.

The tackle industry (from cottage to corporate) has never been shy about mimicing (copying, knocking off, stealing) a hot item, but didn’t it seem that within weeks, if not days of Paul Elias winning an FLW event with an inordinately heavy catch,  y0u could purchase an original, or at least a couple of clones on eBay or other outlets–for a chunk?

This very morning, I would say the number of folks making umbrella rigs for sale may rival the number of people pouring plastic worms. And that’s saying something.

But within the corporate realm of tackle makers, I’ve discovered there is already some push back. According to Ronell Smith, no one has figured out (other than Mann’s) if the copycat production is a good thing or not. In the latest issue of  his Tackle Insider, Smith suggests: “The latest issue surrounds price, with some consumers asking an all-important question: “How can a product capable of being made in a garage cost $25 to $30?”

Lanny Deal of Mann’s responds as does Smith, but clearly there are undertones of legal action, possibly the same as took place with the ChatterBait and it’s several incarnations, most which have been litigated out of business.

True, this one might be a little easier for the small lure-maker (regardless of how shameless a copy built) to defend. After all, the “Rig named for a southern state at the front of the alphabet,” already existed as “the umbrella”–so everything out there is a modified version–right?

But you know what’s wrong with that argument. If any one of the upstarts had unveiled their own versions even six months ago, they would be having their name in lights today. Of course, then everybody else would be copying them.



3 Responses to “The rig that just won’t go away: Ummm…..”

There is a way around this controversy and that is to innovate right past the current offerings as I have done.

I am currently testing and will be marketing an umbrella rig of umbrella rigs. Why fish 5 baits simultaneously when you can fish 25? I call it the “A-squared” rig.

The real secret however, is the baits that I rig it with – helicopter lures. Another great invention from the mighty Fred Ward – the man who invented Arizona – then sold it!

Next up – the “A-cubed” rig.

cc: You get an “A” for the class!

Damn I feel old! The A-rig is a spreader rig. It is just another chapter in the fishing annals of re-inventing the wheel and pretending it’s something new. I’ve said it for more years than I will admit to – go buy an antique lure catalog and see if that latest, greatest innovations are really new. In 99.9% of the cases, they’re not. Some poor schmuck in 1909 already thought of it!