First, it was a lake record largemouth bass (12.3 pounds) being caught March 3 at Grand Lake on an Alabama rig to win a tournament.
Then, Billy Lemon of Sand Springs — the angler who caught that lake record at Grand Lake — won the FLW's Bass Fishing League tournament on Grand Lake the next weekend, catching almost 20 pounds of fish using the Alabama rig baited with Gene Larew Sweet Swimmers.
Now, Dale Miller of Panama on Wednesday caught the state record largemouth bass on an Alabama rig.
Before that, several double-digit bass from Arbuckle have been landed this spring on an Alabama rig.
“If you throw it at Arbuckle, something's going to eat it,” said Billy Read, a tournament angler from Mustang and part-time employee at Lucky Lure Tackle in Oklahoma City.
The Alabama rig was a popular seller before, but it will be even more difficult now to keep on the shelves.
Since Lemon's success on Grand Lake, sales of the Alabama rig have jumped 30 to 40 percent at Lucky Lure Tackle, Read said.
“They're getting picked over pretty good,” Read said. “It goes like wildfire.”
The most difficult thing for anglers to find has been the swim baits that are used on the Alabama rig, also known as umbrella rigs because of their appearance.
The rigs have a weighted head with five wire leaders attached for baits. It takes some practice to learn to cast with the rigs.
“It's like throwing a shoe out there, so you throw it sidearm” said Kenyon Hill, a pro bass angler from Norman. “It's primarily for a suspended fish situation, when the water is below 50 degrees.”
Read said the most popular swim bait being sold for the Alabama rig is the Gene Larew Sweet Swimmer as the result of Lemon's victory, Read said.
“That's the one we're out of,” Read said.
The most popular bait color is shad-based, something with a dark-colored back and white belly, he said.
Hill baits the Alabama rig with a Zoom Swimmin Fluke.
“It doesn't have to look realistic,” he said of the baits. “It just has to look like a minnow swimming.”
With five hooks in the water, an angler can easily get the rig hung up in brush if he or she is not careful.
“It doesn't do well in brush piles,” Hill said. “I have snagged every one I have come close to.”
Read, who uses 50-pound braided line with the rigs, said the best thing to do when it hangs is to not pull on the line.
“When it gets hung up, go to it, don't pull on it, and it usually will come loose,” he said. “It's better than losing $25 or $30 worth of rigging.”
Hill suggests using lighter hooks with the rig.
“I don't use a heavy grade hook. I use kind of a medium, wire hook,” he said. “It allows you to get it (the rig) back.
“With 66-pound braid, just pull on it and you can straighten that hook out and bring it back in and rig your stuff. That's the way to get it back. Use lots of heavy stuff and baby hooks.”
Hill fishes on the B.A.S.S. Elite Series where the Alabama rigs are banned because anglers have caught so many fish with them, but he wouldn't object if they were legalized on pro bass fishing's top tour.
“I think it's just another way to catch fish,” Hill said. “I have absolutely no problem with (using Alabama rigs) whatsoever.
“It absolutely has no bearing on being hard on the fishery. At one time in the state of Alabama, a legislator proposed outlawing the plastic worm because it was so deadly.
“If you want to do anything to protect the fishery, get rid of mapping GPS. It's made heroes out of zeros.”