When bass gang up in fall and early winter, I know a storm is coming.

How do I prepare? I get my Yumbrella out!

Winter is the best and hottest time for the YUMbrella Rig and other multi-rigs. The other day I caught three bass on one cast. One was over six pounds. The others were 3 1/2- and 4 1/2 pounders. That’s more than 14 pounds of largemouth bass on one solitary cast, thanks to the YUMbrella!

That’s pretty amazing! I have caught maybe 700 or 800 bass on umbrella rigs in the last few years, and I’ve caught two at once a lot of times. But that is the only time I have taken three at once.

What’s more, I’m catching a lot of 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-pounders this time of year, too. There’s never been a wintertime technique that produces quality fish like this.

Before bass move up into shallow water for the fall feed, which is when water temperatures get to about 55 to 58 degrees in the South, a lot of those fish suspend in creek channels.

Now, suspending fish can pose a challenge, and that challenge is why fishing can seem so tough in October and November before bass move to the tail ends of the creek channels.

We spent years trying to figure out good ways to catch suspended fish before we caught on to the umbrella rig. It’s one of the best things anyone has come up with to catch suspended fish. I mean, it’s amazing how many bass you can catch by fishing that rig 15 feet down when they are suspended over creek channels 20, 30 or 40 feet deep.

Right now, that 15-foot depth is where I’m catching them, but obviously the “dial-in” depth changes as the water temperature shifts. Eventually I will be fishing my Rig right on the bottom in creek channels or on points or other structure, depending on the kind of lake I am fishing.

My point is that you don’t have to wait for them to move up the river or the creek channels to catch them. This technique works great on suspended fish early in the winter before the bad weather settles in. And sometimes you can find a creek channel where the bass have really loaded up.

Gearing up

A lot of answers have come my way since I started using the YUMbrella Rig and smaller Flash Mob Jr. Basically, this rig spreads five arms out just like an umbrella, with a snap swivel at each end. Usually, I clip a 1/8-ounce YUM Money Head Jig at the end of each, but I go up to ¼- or 3/8-ounce jigs if I need to get the rig down deep pretty quickly.

More often than not I use a Yum Money Minnow or a combination of the Money Minnow and a Mud Minnow. I use the Mud Minnow on the outside arms and put a 5-inch or 7-inch Money Minnow on the center lure arm, which extends back the furthest.

I fish it on 50-pound braid. I know a lot of guys who prefer 65- or 80-pound test, but I fish 50-pound because it casts and performs so much better. You can make longer casts with its extremely small diameter.

Now, I understand every man’s fear of getting hung up with the YUMbrella and its five jigs and five baits. Yes, it IS the “hangin’est up” bait in the world. No lure has ever hung up as bad as this one if you fish it near a lot of brush. But it’s easy to get “un-hung” if you can get over the top of it. You can pop it loose or straighten the hooks out, and most of the time you will get your rig back if you don’t use too heavy a hook.

If you use a relatively light wire jig hook, 50-pound braid will straighten it out easily. I catch so many fish that I wear out the wire on my jigs and, after a while, start breaking them off. But the truth is, I seldom lose the whole rig.

One complaint I hear everywhere is that the umbrella lure is heavy to cast, pulls hard and will wear you out. But in truth, it doesn’t pull hard at all – not nearly as much as a big deep-diving crankbait.

Most fishermen fish it with a rod that’s too heavy. I use a 7 or 7-foot 2-inch medium heavy Power Plus rod. Most guys cast it with a 7 ½-foot pool cue rod, and that is what wears them out. You’ll tire yourself out even if you’re throwing a ½-ounce spinnerbait on that rod.

It’s like when I go deep sea fishing and use a 50 or 70 size reel that weighs so much that you get tired reeling the fish in.

A lot of guys are throwing umbrella rigs on catfish rods. Those aren’t made for casting either. Those are made to throw once, then let your bait sit and soak all day.

Another thing that often suits both the fish and fisherman just fine is to downsize. The Flash Mob Jr is a smaller profile multi-rig with four small willowleaf or Colorado blades to go with your five soft plastic lures. If you use 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jigs with it, it is not tough at all for anyone to fish all day long.

You don’t need a great amount of talent, fishing experience or knowledge to catch fish in the winter on this bait; it’s just a fish-catching lure!

One tactic that I have had great success with as winter temperatures tumble is fishing a YUMbrella rig over submerged grass like Eurasian milfoil or coontail. Lakes like Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Lake Guntersville in Alabama are among the many that have submerged grass. In winter, that grass gets relatively deep, and you have seven to nine feet of water over it. In some cases, it may be only four feet.

In the coldest months of January and February, some people will be fishing over 50-foot treetops. But if you have a lake with relatively deep grass and seven or more feet of water over the top of it, a YUMbrella rig can get you not only more bites, but more quality fish as well.

Notice I said “over the top” of the grass, not in it. Work it too deep and you will reel in five lures with grass trailers. But milfoil and coontail moss is pretty easy to shake off.

An amazing thing that a lot of anglers don’t realize about bass is that they will stay shallow all winter under the right conditions. A largemouth bass is a shallow water fish. Yes, he will go 40 or 50 feet deep in winter or summer, but that is mostly in lakes where bass don’t have the capability or right conditions to stay shallow.

In my limited experience fishing through the ice in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we have caught large bass in five, six or seven feet of water under a foot of ice! In the coldest part of winter, you can still catch them shallow. That’s proof.

You don’t want to work your Yumbrella rig too high over the moss, and it is hard to keep it barely ticking the grass like you would with a spinnerbait. But if you can run it right above the moss you will find this is one really good wintertime technique.

A canopy of grass will keep them shallow, too. Once bass set up in the grass, they will stay there all winter.

I’ve also caught some really big stringers fishing it, too. In fact, I got frostbite on my fingers last February because I was catching so many big fish working the Yumbrella over the top of the moss that I couldn’t bring myself to quit.

I paid the price, but I would probably do it again!