The Ned Rig: Proven Tactics You Need To Know
Learn all about the Ned Rig and how to catch more bass with it in this detailed video.
What is happening, fisherman friends? My name is Devon, coming to you today on behalf of KastKing and BassResource. Welcome to another episode.
What in the world do we have here today? Yeah, you guessed it. Hey, diddly-ho, neighbor. It's the Ned Rig. That's right. Fall is here. Winter is around the corner. This is a deadly bait this time of year. So what is it, what is the Ned Rig? I'm gonna take you through that. I'm gonna take you through some modifications that I've learned fishing it the past few years that have made me more successful with it. What you partnered up with, the rod reel line, how you approach presenting this, and the where you're gonna present it, how to fish it, and what happens when you get a bite.
So the Ned Rig simply explained, it's two pieces, the jig head and a soft plastic. Now, the jig head, there are a few different ones you can use. They're all gonna have the same qualities though, or the qualities that you should look for when you're selecting a jig head. They're gonna be a moon shape or a rounded shape, and those shapes lend themselves very well to standing up.
Now, probably the most popular soft plastic to put on these is the Z-Man ElaZtech Ned Rig, the Ned TRD. This bait is awesome because it floats and it will present your Ned Rig like that. Now, I'll get into it later, but you can also use a Senko style bait, but just be aware that a lot of those are not gonna float.
So, you want the rounded head, so on the bottom it lands itself to floating up, rocking on that head really well. There are also gonna be small light wire hooks. We'll get into that, but you don't wanna a big, huge, fat five-aught hook. You want a lightweight hook to go with your lightweight line and set up. Okay, so those are the jig heads you'll be looking for.
Now, the soft plastic, because I said I usually go with the Z-Man Finesse TRD. This is the two-and-a-half-inch but it also comes in a four-inch, the larger bait. Now, most people believe the bigger the bait you fish, the bigger the bites you're gonna get. I've had success both ways. I've fished the small one and caught, you know, three pounders. I've fished the big one and caught little, tiny fish that were just barely bigger than this bait. So, it really goes both ways. Really, it's gonna depend on what you have confidence in, your lake, your fishery, what works for you.
So those are the jig heads. Those are the plastics. So, what are some modifications I do to these? Let's take a look. All right, so modifications. There are two main modifications that I've been using that have helped me a lot when fishing the Ned Rig. So the first one isn't as much of a modification as it is a money and plastic saver. So this is the back end of a Senko, five-inch Senko. You know, normally, my four-aught hook would be up here and this is where the hook point normally would be coming in on my Senko and that part gets, you know, tore up, the top half of it where my hook has been tore from catching fish.
So I just take that back part of it, cut it off, and if you look, it's the perfect imitation for a Senko. Now, notice that these are made of completely different materials. The Ned TRD is extremely stretchy. The Senko is not. If you pull that, it's got so much salt in there, it's gonna rip apart. Now, this does have its place. When I get to ways to fish it, the Senko style bait works just as well, if not better, than this in some ways of fishing it, and I'll go over that. So that's the first little modification or hack that I use. Save your old Senkos and use them for Ned Rigs later in the year. So, that's number one.
Number two. This was something I learned from Brian Latimer. I wish I could take the credit, but I cannot. I saw it on one of his videos and it is awesome. So, the Ned Rig, when you fish it around trees or rocks, sometimes it can get hung up. So the way to fix that is to rig this weedless. Now, this only works with the Z-Man Finesse TRD, or you know, any of their TRDs with the ElaZtech because of how strong the plastic is. So, I'm gonna run my hook up through, just like that. Now, this is only to get the line threaded on. So I've got some eight-pound line here, I'm gonna put the line just under the barb of that hook. I'm gonna bring my plastic up over it, like that.
I will do some movie magic and get a knot tied on this. Just like that, we got a knot, thank you for some movie magic there. Okay, so the reason I've done this is because you will slide your Ned Rig down onto the top of that hook on your jig head, and you're gonna take the back part and rig it just like you would a Texas Rig, like so. What that gives you is a weedless Ned Rig. Now, this is awesome for rocks because when you're going along, it's not as apt to get stuck in the rocks when that soft part hits. The soft part hits and it just kinda rolls and pulls through.
Now, as far as sitting on the bottom, it's still gonna sit up like this, straight up, as long as you're using this ElaZtech. And as far as the bite, I've got that so it's just barely sticking out there. This is awesome for rocks. That head bounces off. It's a very cool little modification that will help save you some baits. Okay, so you've seen the two modifications that I use. Let's go ahead and move on to, well, what's my approach?
First, let's talk about trees and brush. The Ned Rig is a great bait to fish this stuff. You just have to be careful and remember your approach, "Vs for trees." I'm not gonna be throwing over real deep into, you know, the midst, the real thick stuff, because I'm only fishing if I can get away with it in open water, four-pound line, six-pound line is a go to, or eight, when I'm fishing around brush like this. But I'm gonna attack the Vs, so spots like this where I can throw between and get out. Especially if you're a bank fisherman, you don't wanna be throwing all the way over the top of this, you know, let's say it's just above the water here, you don't wanna throw all the way over top of this, have a fish catch it here and swim down. You're over this branch, he's probably got you under branches over here, so you wanna fish Vs. A V here, throw your little one here, a V, anywhere where you lure is gonna come straight back up to you. A V here.
You might have to now move around the cover, but trust me, it will make fishing brush and sticks a whole lot easier if you remember to fish "the Vs on the trees." The next big thing you wanna think about with this little bait is accuracy and presentation. So, on the brush, accuracy and presentation is gonna be big, you know, fishing in those Vs. But on grass lines, drop-offs, isolated rocks, that's where this is gonna shine, especially in the fall to winter transition, or late fall, fish love to be sitting on the drop-offs. That's a place where they can go out deep where the water is gonna be warmer and they can come back up shallow to feed.
Ned Rig, in my opinion, honestly, really shines in clear to just sort of stained water. Once you start getting into, you know, the dingier or muddy water, the Ned Rig just doesn't do as well. It doesn't displace a lot of water, it doesn't have any movement to displace water, it's just a stick. Stay in the zone, okay? I'm talking about the strike zone. So, for example, let's say this is a rock pile. I'm throwing it all around the rock pile. I'm gonna let it fall in slack line here, pop it a couple of times, then I'm reeling it back in. If I throw that out and that's 10 yards from the boat or 10 yards off land, I'm not gonna fish it the whole way back. That's not gonna be an area where I'm gonna catch a lot of fish. Focus on the strike zone, next to the grass lines, especially those drop-offs and around the wood. Stay accurate with it and I guarantee you will catch more fish on this.
So, how do you fish these? Well, there are a few ways that work excellent to fish the Ned Rig. The one thing that stays in common with all those is the fall. So, on your cast, you wanna make sure that you let the Ned Rig fall on slack line. That is important. When it falls down, it's gonna kinda give a spirally spin motion down, it's gonna look completely lifelike as it's spiraling down, as opposed to if you threw it over here and I'm trying to get it to fall straight down over here. If I throw it and right away engage my bail or don't let it fall on slack line, it's gonna swim like this and glide down. I don't want that. I want it to fall on slack line. So from there, you can do small hops after it gets on the bottom and work a little bit. Pop, pop.
Let it sit. Remember, it's gonna stand straight up. Pop, pop, pop. Okay, so you've got the pop. You've got the drag. After it hits, you're just gonna slowly drag it along and leave it alone. Slowly drag it along, leave it alone. And that's why earlier, I said that when you use the stick baits, this is a technique that works great for those because I'm not letting it sit and wanting it to stand straight up. I'm dragging along and it kinda falls. So it looks like a fish or a bait, you know, just barely holding on with just a little bit of life to it. So, with that rig, I like to have the rounded head and the stick bait, and it works awesome. As opposed to the actual Z-Man head, if I can find it here, the actual Z-Man head, when you drag it, it's at a 90-degree angle.
So when I drag that in the rocks and such, I've got a really high chance of having my knot get caught up in something, get some nicks on it and break when I'm just dragging it along. When you hop it, you don't notice that as much because you're bringing it off the bottom. But lift and drop. If you notice that you're really getting bit right on that initial drop, you can try lifting your rod tip up a couple feet and letting it fall on spiral down again on slack line. Very important, not taught line. Pull it up, let it fall on that slack point before you reel anything. As soon as you see it, you know, either do something weird or change motion, then you can reel into it and see if you have a fish, but you have to let it fall on slack lines.
When you get a bite, the Ned Rig, you don't wanna be setting a hook on these. All right? So, you throw it out, you feel a bite, all you're going to do is reel down on it. I lift it up over my right shoulder at a 45-degree angle and just start reeling into it. There's no popping, there's no hooks sitting, no jarring. I'm just gonna reel into that fish. These light wire hooks, notice I'm just barely touching my finger and it's biting into it. That's what's so awesome about these little tiny light wire hooks. You can imagine as a needle, a needle versus a big thick nail. If you're gonna get a shot, do you wanna get a shot with a needle or do you wanna get a shot with a big, huge, thick nail?
Heck no, you want the little needle. Because it goes in easier, there's less resistance, less friction. It's a tiny, tiny, little diameter piece of wire that's going in that fish's mouth. Once you've done that, you wanna make sure that you keep a bend in your rod. That's the big reason for fishing a medium or medium-light action rod with a light line is, I'm gonna use my line, my rod, and my drag to play that fish. So, you wanna have your drag to where if that fish starts to pull a little bit, it's gonna take out your drag. I'm keeping the bend in my rod the whole time. Very important.
What setups do I recommend? Well, generally, I'm always going to throw these on a medium-light or a medium action spinning rod. It's gonna have a good parabolic bend. It's gonna stay bent and allow me to fight that fish, as opposed to a heavy action rod that is very stiff. With the line, I'm gonna be using a light line. If starts to bend that rod, it's just gonna be too powerful and it's gonna break your line. That's why you want a medium-light to a medium action spinning rod. I always, on my spinning reels, run for a Finesse application like this, 15-pound braid to my leader. The leader is the most important. If I am in real clear water, without any sort of obstruction, no big rocks, no brush, I usually go down to a four-pound line.
If I'm fishing around any sort of vegetation or anything where I'm, you know, gonna possibly get a little bit of stuff on my line, I go up to a six. I go up all the way to an 8 or 10, if I'm fishing around brush. Now, it's not gonna be as much of a Finesse application then. When I start getting up to that heavier line, the fish can see it. It does make a difference. You fish 4-pound all day and switch up to 10-pound and you will notice a difference in getting bites. So, don't be afraid of the light line.
One thing that does matter with your reel is it has to have very good drag. Smooth drag is not herky-jerky, smooth drag that pulls out. Now, with the medium-light or medium rod, you're not gonna bend this hook out. You can see, this is just me grabbing it with two little fingers, I can bending that hook out almost. All right? These are not strong hooks, but they will hold and they will not bend if you're not using a powerful rod. As well as coupling that with a reel that has really good drag, so if that fish does turn its head and going to make a move and try to pull that out, your line's not gonna break, it's just gonna start letting drag off your reel. Very important in fighting a fish in the Finesse application.
Can't stress that enough. Don't horse the fish in. Tire the fish out. So he's gonna make a run, reel up your slack, bring him in the boat. If he makes a run again, reel up your slack. Not horsing him. You can't fish this like a frog, throw it out there and as soon as you get a bite, set it hard and start cranking him in. You're either going to straighten the hook or break the line. Remember those modifications, the weedless modification and your stick bait. They work really well, and it will save you some money in the long run too.
Make sure that your approach is accurate. You hit those high percentage areas, grass lines, wood, and especially the drop-offs this time of year, as well as any sort of isolated rocks. Those are gonna be awesome, especially if you're up North fishing smallmouth once you get onto the main lake or out onto some of those flats. Oftentimes those flats are just big, huge flats of land and the only thing that's down there is gonna be a little clump of rocks. If you can find those isolated rock piles, this is killer. You will get lots of fish on it. Use it as a follow-up bait, you know, if you're running a moving bait through there and catch a few. Don't be afraid to go back over that exact same area with a Finesse Ned Rig because you can get some of those cleanout fish that you wouldn't have caught before.
So, how to fish it. Remember there's always gonna be a slack line presentation no matter what way you're fishing it. Throw it out there and let it fall on slack line so it kind of corkscrews down. Very important. You can hop it. You can drag it. Just gotta find out what works for you. Sometimes you can even reel it real slow over the rocks so it kinda pops and hits those things. You just gotta listen to the fish. Listening to the fish means you have to try different, new things for them to tell you what they want. Once you get that bite, remember just reel into it. Don't set the hook. Reel into it, lift the rod up, keep the rod bent. Make sure you've got your drag set so if the fish does make a run for it, he peels drag and doesn't break your line.
So that's everything in a nutshell, guys. I hope this helped. Drop a comment below if you find these helpful. I really appreciate it. And leave any sort of comments for new videos down there. I love getting comments from people and hearing what they have to say. Drop that down there. Remember, no matter what keep casting, guys. You can't catch the fish if you're not casting. Until next time, take care.