How to Use an Umbrella Rig for Stripers

How to Use an Umbrella Rig for Stripers
Umbrella rigs are complex contraptions using multiple jigs or lures to help simulate the movement of a school of baitfish. Because stripers frequently prey on the type of baitfish that travel in small schools, umbrella rigs are frequently used to try and catch them. Umbrella rigs are good for fishing while trolling or using downriggers--they use a varying number of arms, with each holding one identical lure or jig. An umbrella rig is one of the harder rigs to put together and its popularity varies from angler to angler, but there's no arguing that if you get it trolling properly through the water, you'll draw the attention of stripers in the area.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Umbrella jig
  • Fishing rod
  • Boat with trolling motor
Step 1
Get out to the best depth for catching striper and begin trolling the boat. The depths where stripers tend to spend their time varies depending on the season--in the spring and summer, stripers are most commonly found at depths around 35 feet. During the fall and winter stripers will rise higher in the water column, but they can still be found at all depths.
Step 2
Let the line run out and drop the umbrella rig to the proper depth, then set the drag.
Step 3
Troll the waters in an S-shaped pattern, replicating the movements of baitfish in the water. Let the rig run through the water without reeling in.
Step 4
Periodically slow down and speed up the trolling motor quickly. This results in a quick, jerking motion by the baitfish in the water that looks similar to a school of fish getting scared. If there are stripers in the area, they'll assume the baitfish are scared of their presence, which may prompt them to get aggressive and strike before their prey escapes.

Tips & Warnings

Many anglers using umbrella rigs run two out of the back of the boat at one time--one off each side.
It's recommended to use different colors on the baits to give the fish more options.
Avoid using too many umbrella rigs at once. Unless you're fishing out of a pontoon, more than two umbrella rigs increases the likelihood of tangling your rigs together. With so many individual lures in the water at once, this can get real messy, real fast.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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