with BreNt ehrler & Fred rOumBaNiS
country has been abuzz with thoughts of five wire splendor since the fall. Tournament wins and tales of huge results have people talking about what the future could bring with these “new to bass fishing” rigs. As soon as word spread about the rig’s effectiveness, multiple companies launched their own versions. The concept is simple, a set of five wires encased in a single head with snap swivels at- tached to the trailing end of the wires. But, knowing how to produce one is not the same as improv- ing upon a concept, and Picasso Lures set out to do just that with their pro staff. Picasso pros Brent Ehrler and Fred Roum- banis have found a place for it; they partnered with Picasso and developed the new School E Rig Junior and the Finesse School E Rig. Even though Roumbanis cannot use it in Elite Series com- petition, he has found his experimenting to be distracting to his preseason preparation for the season. “I can’t put it down,” Roum- banis said. “I’ve spent a lot of time on my local lakes with it, and I’m having so much fun with it that I’m not doing anything else; even though I can’t use it in the Elite Series.” Ehrler on the other hand knows that he will likely be using it a lot for the coming year. “I’ve been looking at the schedule and I’m betting that it will be a major factor in at least six of the ten events this year,” said Ehrler. “For that reason I’ve spent some time with it.” Both of the pros said that they are more comfortable with the rig because they know how much effort that Picasso has put into improving it. “The School E Rig is better because it adds action to the lures,” Roumbanis said. “The School E Rig Junior has a longer center wire, and it makes for a more natural presentation.” Ehler likes the fact that Picasso uses stronger wire. “I’ve heard stories of guys hooking two good fish on the same cast on other rigs and having wires break,” said Ehrler. “Picasso put better wire into the School E Rig family, and that means I will not only get more fish into the boat, but I’ll also be able to control the bigger ones as well.” Picasso didn’t stop at just creating a beefed up rig; they add- ed features to it as well. The line tie on the lead free, polycar- bonate head is actually a swivel; which eliminates line twist and assures true running. The rigid rigs that were first available had a problem with twirling through the retrieve. With that problem solved, Picasso decided that they could make several versions for different applications. The School E Rig is actually a family of three. The original School E Rig is eight inches, and is great for open water and schooling fish. The School E Rig Junior is smaller than the original with the longer center wire being an inch and a half longer than the rest to simulate a stray from the school to entice a strike. It offers greater accuracy and easier castablility which makes it ideal for targeting docks and blowdowns. The Finesse School E Rig is the smallest of the Picasso rigs with 3.5 inch wire length for smaller swimbaits, paddle tails and grubs. It is light and compact for very accurate casts and makes a great alternative to a spinnerbaits.
Going to school
Roumbanis loves the School E Rig Junior because it offers him versatility. “I use my 7’5” iRod Magic Stick Ardent Edge with the Junior,” Roumbanis said. “I can even use 20-pound-test P-Line Fluorocarbon. I like to roll cast the Junior with five, three inch Op- timum around boat docks - it’s deadly.” Ehrler has found the original School E Rig Junior to be deadly on open water fish. While filming at Clear Lake, Ehrler said he was shocked by how much he could call fish to the rig. “I was using a slow, steady retrieve on flats with rocky ridges,” he said. “The fish would come up from deep water to blast it. I really like to keep it above their heads, because with five Roboworm EZ Shad, it mimcs a school of baitfish swimming overhead.” Ehrler said he felt most comfortable with the rig on swimbait gear; opting to use an 8-foot Lucky Craft Big Bait rod and an Abu Garcia Revo Premier with 60-pound-test Sunline FX2 braid. Picasso has created a true work of art in their School E Rig Family, and their pro staff is using it to take bass in their lakes to class. Look for Picasso School E Rigs and Smartmouth Jigheads at fine tackle dealers nationwide. BWU