4 of the Strangest-Looking Fishing Rigs

There are some fishing rigs and lures that might appear just plain odd to the average observer. With multiple hooks, strange configurations or unusual colors, it's not uncommon for people to look at these rigs and start scratching their heads while thinking, "how in the heck do these things actually catch fish anyway?" Just remember not to judge a rig or lure based on appearance alone. There can be a difference between "angler baits" that look attractive in the package at the store and strange-looking rigs or lures that have been proven to catch fish when used in the right situations.

Here are four fishing rigs that top the list when it comes to strange-looking, but effective:

  1. Alabama Rig. The Alabama rig is a multi-armed, umbrella-shaped metal rig that gives an angler the opportunity to fish with up to five lures at once without the use of a leader. With the Alabama rig, you can land up to five fish on a single cast. There are both freshwater and saltwater versions of this rig. The freshwater version is used for largemouth bass, while saltwater versions are either used for inshore species such as redfish and trout or for offshore species like mackerel and mahi mahi (also known as dolphinfish).

  2. Butterfly Jig. The butterfly jig was developed in Japan during the 1990’s by anglers fishing for saltwater species such as bluefin tuna. This jigging system has been said to beat natural bait in certain situations when the bite is tough or the fish don't seem all that interested. There is a spiral darting action produced by the butterfly jig that often triggers a reaction strike from a number of saltwater species such as snapper, grouper and amberjack.

  3. Sabiki Rig. A sabiki rig is a set of small hooks with simple pieces of metallic film attached and connected to one individual dropper line that is used to catch baitfish. The individual dropper line is then tied to a longer leader with a weight tied to the end. The size or type of sabiki rig used will depend on water conditions and the species being targeted.

  4. Wacky Rig. When a soft plastic stick bait or bass worm is rigged sideways on a hook so that the ends wave and flow to create maximum movement, this is referred to as fishing with a wacky rig or "wacky style." Fishing with a wacky rig used to be reserved for those areas with little to no cover since the hook is exposed; however, these days there are special weedless wacky rig hooks on the market that can be used when fishing with this technique.

What types of unusual-looking rigs or materials have you used to catch fish? Share your funky rig stories by commenting on this post or by starting a new thread in the TakeMeFishing.org community forum. If you want to get more practice with different rigs, don't forget to visit the saltwater fishing rigs page.

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.