The newest wave of artificial lures has taken the fishing world by storm within the past few months.

YUM Bait Co. is glad to be in the middle of the tempest created by the introduction of multi-armed, literally and figuratively, umbrella rigs. Look at one, and you'll see what looks like a spinnerbait head with five wires attached to the back of it, each ending with a barrel swivel and a snap swivel to affix a soft plastic of some sort imbedded on a hook.

Welcome to the newest concept in getting fish to bite. YUM Bait Co.'s general manager and others within and outside the company believe history is being made.

"It is exciting to see fishermen embrace new techniques. When James Heddon threw a chunk of wood in the Old Mill Pond in Dowagiac, Mich., in 1894, topwater bass fishing with wood lures was not even invented," said Bruce Stanton, the head of YUM Bait Co. "From there, he developed many wooden and plastic topwater lures. His Zara Spooks and Torpedoes are still staples in tackle boxes across the world nearly 120 years later."

Who can blame him for foreseeing the same fate for the YUMbrella Rig.

"Umbrella rigs have been around a long time in salt water and fresh water. But now people are embracing this method and idea of fishing. It looks like it could be around a while," Stanton said the first week of January. "Our product introductions in this category are being built around the 'Bait School Technology' theme in our YUM brand."

He also explained the reason the umbrella rig produces fish after fish, often at the same time. Any angler who has been on the water can envision what he said and what's ahead.

"If you have fished, at some point you have seen schools of baitfish being chased by game fish," the artificial lure manufacturing company's GM said. "With the umbrella rigs now being taken seriously by sport fishermen, we are bringing many solutions to the market. We will be introducing crappie YUMbrella Rigs soon and YUMbrella Rigs with many different components and ideas that mimic schools of bait."

That "Bait School Technology" is the driving force behind the YUMbrella Rig, said PRADCO Fishing Public Relations Director Lawrence Taylor.

"The YUMbrella is in a category of lures and techniques called 'Bait School Technology,' which uses a similar multi-lure presentation as that rig, with stronger wire and true coupler wire attachment, a rattle and two advanced head pattern choices," Taylor said.

The YUMbrella Rig allows an angler to throw, say, five YUM Money Minnows, grubs, swim baits, flukes, bucktail jigs, or, well, again, leave it to your imagination.

All in all, it's pretty exciting. So many bass anglers have expressed so many opinions on where this umbrella rig might trigger strikes from bass all around the Sportsman's Paradise. Imagine what it can do this year, all year, at Toledo Bend, the Atchafalaya Basin, the Red River, Black Lake, Caddo Lake, etc. The potential is enormous when you think about it.

And I can't wait to offer it to speckled trout and redfish in and around my home waters of Vermilion Bay (also consider what it could do at Calcasieu Lake, waters below Cocodrie, Venice area, etc.). Actually, umbrella rigs have been used for years for saltwater fishing. Saltwater fishermen trolled umbrella rigs for decades while targeting striped bass and bluefish off the coast of New England.

"The Bomber Saltwater Grade Mud Minnow is fantastic on trout and reds for the rig inshore," Stanton said. "It's also great with the bigger sizes of Money Minnows."

Pro Paul Elias used an umbrella rig to run away with a $100,000 victory at the Lake Guntersville FLW Tour Open in October in a tournament that saw the top five finishers tying on umbrella rigs at the lake in Alabama. Then Dan Morehead used an umbrella rig to win the Kentucky Lake Everstart Championship, as did Scott Brummett at the Walmart BFL Wheeler Lake Regional.

"After two major tournaments were won on the rig, I don't know of any bait manufacturer that wasn't sitting back and taking notice," Taylor said. "Hundreds of anglers made and sold their own crude versions since then, but our dedicated team stays on the cutting edge of bass fishing, and we've beaten many competitors to market."

It didn't take the company long to get the YUMbrella Tennessee Shad or Foxy Lady Rig available to anglers everywhere, either, according to Taylor, who said, "Since we're making them here in the USA, we were able to bring it out with the new year."

The YUMbrella Rig capitalizes on the multi-rig phenomenon with a setup manufactured with a 7-inch "super wire" stainless steel that has been heat-treated repeatedly for strength and flexibility. The five super wire arms are attached with a molded coupler for toughness and durability, thus ensuring the wire arms never break. Plus, the 45-pound-test snap and 75-pound test swivels ensure flawless action on big fish.

It features a choice of head patterns, which include Tennessee Shad, a realistic shad pattern with white sides, shad dot, gill stripe and touch of red under the mouth and tail, and Foxy Lady, featuring a chartreuse base with dark back, shad dot and splash of orange on the belly. Each head contains a rattle for added attraction and red 3D eyes.

The YUMbrella Foxy Lady Rig weighs less than 1 ounce. The manufacturer points out it is lead free as it is made of durable resin cast plastic with virtually no weight.

Wherever you throw it, check fish regulations to see if it is legal to use. For sure, Iowa, Minnesota and Tennessee outlaw umbrella rigs.

"Ethics-wise, I really don't see an issue," Stanton said. "A Heddon Super Spook has nine hook points (three treble hooks). A typical Yumbrella Rig has five jig heads, with five hook points. The key is you will have a chance at catching multiple fish at all times with the YUMbrella Rig. A double on a Spook, while it does happen, is an exciting rarity. Bait School Technology is focusing on mimicking bait schools to create multiple catches on one cast."

"At $14.99," Taylor said about the manufacturer's suggested retail price, "for a superior product. Our demand is fantastic. In this tough economy, it's a bright spot."

For more information on the YUMbrella Tennessee Shad Rig and YUMbrella Foxy Lady Rig and other PRADCO products, call (479) 652-2809.