Bama rigs are everywhere you look nowadays. For the first time buyer, the choices can be daunting. Which bait to use and in what size? Should one use 3, 4, or 5 arm rigs? How much weight should be used? I think some of these basic questions can be answered with knowledge most fishermen already possess.
Lure size and selection are species specific. To fish ponds and smaller rivers for smallmouth and largemouth bass, the lure size should match the size of the forage. For instance, if I were fishing a pond for largemouth, I would use 2”-3” shad rigged on a 5 arm bama in light colors, especially if there is schooling forage available. In ponds that have lots of sunfish available, a 3 arm bama would be more appropriate because sunfish are a more solitary fish.
In larger impoundments and rivers, a larger lure is better because the forage is so varied that bigger bait means bigger fish. I prefer to use lures that make as much sonic disturbance as possible such as a paddletail shad, or a curlytail grub. Part of the attraction of these types of rigs is the disturbance they create as they move through the water. Also, I have seen time and time again that rigging a larger bait in the center of a 5 arm that is “chasing” four smaller baits is effective. There is debate whether to use all of the same color, or to vary the color in the same rig. I will say that as a purveyor of the pre-rigged bamas, same-color rigs sell better, but I don’t think that they work better.
Weight is another point of contention, but there is a rule of thumb to follow here that most already know. If there is current, use heavier jig heads. Also, I prefer to rig grubs and shad both with ball-head jigs. My standard would be 1/16 to 1/8, with a heavier 3 arm for rivers using ½ oz heads.
Top 4 producers in no order:
-Five arm with Zoom Superfluke
-Five arm with 4”BerkleyRipple Shad
-Five arm with Zoom Fat Albert Grub
-Three arm with Kalin Lunkergrub