Umbrella Rig Fishing Guide


To a beginning fisherman, the umbrella rig may appear ungainly, especially when it is still on the dry land. However, when umbrella rig fishing with a perfectly configured rig, you increase your chances of reeling in a catch with less effort.

Once underwater, the umbrella rig will transform to look like a small baitfish school. To most saltwater game fish, the artificial baitfish school appears very realistic. To make sure you return home with fish every time you go umbrella rig fishing, we have crafted this article to help you understand how to use your umbrella rig.

How Are the Umbrella Rigs Constructed?

Originally, the umbrella rig was designed to be used by anglers who catch bass in freshwaters. However, umbrella rig saltwater fishing has proven to be extremely effective.

The umbrella rigs feature 5 rigid strands of heavy and stiff gauge wire, usually fashioned from titanium or steel. The wire generally has a smaller diameter when compared to a similar pound test of steel.

4 of the strands have the same length. The fifth is about 3 – 4 inches longer. The strands are connected to a plastic/metalhead that attaches to the end of the fishing line and reel.

The longer strand is placed in the middle. It acts as a teaser to the 4 shorter strands. To facilitate a short length ladder and clip swivel to which the lure or hook can be attached, each strand features a crimpled loop at its terminal end.

Targeting Specific Fish When Umbrella Rig Fishing

The target fish generally determines what you use your umbrella rig with. In some instances, you may need to festoon the rig with swimbaits on jig heads, flashy metal spoons, or plastics.

For example, if you are using a combination of the umbrella rig and your bass fishing rod to go after the striped bass inshore, you may need to use varying lengths of surgical tubing featuring varying colors. The tubing should be rigged on special hooks in a way that allows them to spin reluctantly as you pull them through the water column. The umbrella rig, in this case, will trigger a feeding response due to its eel-like look.

Even though the umbrella rig is generally a reaction bait, a large number of anglers prefer to use natural bait, including squid and small forage fish, when umbrella rig saltwater fishing. This can be advantageous considering that it will offer an olfactory enticement once the target fish gets close enough.

Ideal Trolling Speed When Umbrella Rig Fishing


Unlike when you are using the conventional rigs with your baitcasting rods, umbrella rig saltwater fishing makes it possible for you to hook up more than a single fish, all at once. The bigger the fish you hook up, the more exciting and challenging the battle will be. To hook more than one fish, however, the right trolling speed is necessary.

If after wearing your fishing shirt you decide to go umbrella rig fishing in the shallow waters, you will only need minimal weight to get the rig in front of the target fish when trolling at low speeds. As the speed and depth increases, more weight is needed.

If you determine that your target fish is in a certain depth, you can use a downrigger to make sure that the umbrella rig stays in the strike zone. It is worth noting that the multiple baits used when umbrella rig fishing present more drag than the single bait generally used with the downrigger.

For this reason, the release clip you use should be stronger than the normal clip. You should, however, ensure that the rig stays on the clip while you are trolling and releases smoothly once the target fish bites.

Selecting the Right Umbrella Rig Fishing Gear

Umbrella rig saltwater fishing won’t be easy for you if your fishing trip checklist does not include the ideal fishing gear. The 2 basic umbrella rig categories are:

  • Trolling umbrella rigs
  • Casting umbrella rigs

The trolling rigs are generally stronger, heavier, larger, and longer compared to the casting rigs. The casting umbrella rigs feature a high impact but lighter plastic central connector heads while the trolling rigs feature metal connectors.

Strong, medium gage saltwater tackles are necessary to troll the high resistance umbrella rigs. Fishermen generally require a sturdy trolling rod and a heavy-duty spinning reel or a high-quality conventional reel. The tackle should include a 25 – 40-pound test line.

A braided fishing line is more ideal because of its thinner diameter and strength. However, if needed, you can use monofilament lines.

If you compare the casting umbrella rig with the trolling rig, you won’t notice a lot of difference. The casting rigs are, however, lighter and smaller. You can use the casting umbrella rigs inshore and onshore. Medium gage to medium light tackles works perfectly with the casting rigs. You will find the spinning combos which help you avoid backlashes more ideal.

How Umbrella Rig Fishing Works

Casting the umbrella rig will allow you to let the bait fall slowly toward the bottom and then swim upward suddenly. This is something that a school of baitfish would do.

A slow and intermittent retrieve will make the umbrella rig irresistible for the predator fish which lie in their hiding spot waiting for their prey. When the bite is on, increasing the retrieve speed often draws multiple strikes from numerous predator fish. If you are lucky, all the strands can hook up a fish each.

Globo Surf Overview

Umbrella rig fishing has been embraced by most expert saltwater anglers. It makes their job much easier by making catching numerous fishes quicker and easier. Looking at the rig on land may not convince you that using it may be beneficial. However, when underwater, the rig looks like a school of baitfish.

It is worth noting that the umbrella rigs may not be useful in all saltwater fishing situations. However, when used properly, the rig can make your fishing trip more productive than when you are using other artificial lures.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!