Alabama Rig Regulations
The Alabama, umbrella and similar rigs may be fished in Missouri so long as they use only three lures or baits. The remaining attachment points can include similar baits so long as their hooks have been removed or other hook-less attractors such as spinner blades are used.
The Wildlife Code of Missouri is written in a manner that can address most, if not all, fishing innovations as they come along. This is the case for the Alabama, umbrella and similar rigs. This rig is intended to be fished using a rod and reel, referred to as pole and line in the Wildlife Code.
NOTE: Please see Regulations and Permits Definitions under Related Information below for a full list of the terms used in the Wildlife Code of Missouri.
Pole and line is defined in rule 3 CSR 10-20.805 (44) in the Wildlife Code:
Pole and line: Fishing methods using tackle normally held in the hand, such as a cane pole, casting rod, spinning rod, fly rod, or ice fishing tackle commonly known as a tip-up, to which not more than 3 hooks with bait or lures are attached. This fishing method does not include snagging, snaring, grabbing, or trotlines or other tackle normally attached in a fixed position.
What is important to note is that this definition limits the pole-and-line fishing method to no more than three hooks. We all have a picture in mind for hooks.
However, we also have a definition for hook in the Wildlife Code 3 CSR 10-20.805 (30) to establish what we consider to be a hook for regulatory purposes. The use of a definition allows us to address various fishing innovations through time without specifically having to name everything that comes along.
Hook: Single- or multiple-pronged hooks and the ordinary artificial lures with attached single- or multiple-pronged hooks and dropper flies. A multiple-pronged hook or 2 or more hooks employed to hold a single bait, shall be considered a single hook in counting the allowable total in use.
The Alabama rigs we have seen have more than three wires and attachment points. These rigs may be used but only with up to three hooks. (Each bait or lure counts as a hook.) The additional wires and attachment points can be used. However, whatever is attached may not include a hook. You may also clip the extra wires and attachment points off or not use them at all.
Discussion of the Alabama and similar rigs often includes a discussion of the absolute maximum number of hooks one angler is allowed to use.
Rule 3 CSR 10-6.410 (Fishing Methods) sets the number of poles and hooks.
(2) Number of Poles and Hooks.
(A) Not more than three 3 unlabeled poles and not more than 33 hooks in the aggregate, for any or all methods, may be used by any person at one time.
(B) On the Mississippi River, not more than 2 unlabeled poles and not more than 50 hooks in the aggregate may be used by any person at one time. While fishing concurrently on the Mississippi River and other Missouri waters, not more than 50 hooks in the aggregate may be used and not more than 33 of those hooks may be used in waters other than the Mississippi River.
While the absolute total number of hooks is either 33 or 50, depending on whether you or not you are fishing on the Mississippi River, the number of hooks allowed for pole and line is further restricted by definition in the Wildlife Code.
The current interest in the use of Alabama rigs is noteworthy. Some of the conversations would lead one to believe they are always fish magnets. Time will tell. Plastic worms and electronic fish finders have not produced negative impacts to our bass populations. Fortunately, we have length and daily limits to protect such sport fisheries. We will continue to monitor the use of Alabama and similar rigs and will take action should it be warranted. In the meantime, we will appreciate the excitement this new rig has brought to fishing.