When fishing clear water, for pressured bass, or when you need to get a bite, it is hard to beat downsizing and use some finesse. The use of light line and finesse tactics have continued to evolve over the years in bass fishing, and more rigs have become common in the fishing world.
Finesse tactics play a significant role in bass fishing, and the Neko Rig, Ned Rig, and Wacky Rig are a must in every angler's arsenal when faced with challenging situations.
Perhaps the hottest technique in bass fishing, the Ned Rig has taken the fishing industry by storm and has proven that it can catch bass anywhere. In short, it is a small mushroom-shaped jighead with a three-inch soft plastic stick bait.
The simplistic nature of the bait is a surprise to many when they see how well it works. It may look like nothing, but it catches bass like no other when the fishing is tough.
Fishing a Ned Rig is pretty straightforward and moving it slowly along the bottom is all it takes to get bites sometimes. Advanced uses include utilizing more hopping it or slowly gliding forward by lifting and dropping the rod or slowly sweeping the rod towards you.
No matter how you fish it, the "do nothing" approach of the lure gets bites. There are many options for soft plastics now that the technique has become mainstream. Most are similarly shaped bite-sized plastics, and one of the most important things to consider is the bait's buoyancy.
The original Z-Man Finesse TRD is made of ElaZtech, which floats, and helps the bait stand up at rest. This is a critical component of the technique and will undoubtedly catch more bass than non-floating soft plastic baits.
Simply hooking a soft stickbait like a Yamamoto Senko in the center of the bait will give it a unique, slow wobbling fall as it descends to the bottom. Fishing a wacky-rigged Senko is a must-have when bass are shallow and around docks, laydowns, and weed lines. There is no way around it; a wacky rig is one of the best weapons for pros and weekend anglers.
While simply hooking the bait in the center will work, the details regarding hooks and other accessories can improve your hookup ratio and extend the life of your soft plastics.
Using O-rings and tubing can help save your plastics after multiple fish. Both of these accessories can extend the life of your plastics and help prevent baits from tearing or coming unhooked and flying off to the distance while making a cast.
With the technique's popularity, countless hook options are designed especially for wacky-rigging. Some offer thin metal weed guards or fishing lines that help reduce snags and keep some vegetation from getting stuck on your hook.
Fishing a wacky rig is heavily target-oriented due to the slow-falling nature of the rig. Casting it near docks, weed lines, or submerged wood will keep your bait in high-percentage areas.
Generally, bass will bite the bait as it falls, and paying close attention to the bows in your line will increase your chance of hooking fish. Using a high visibility braided line like Seaguar Smackdown in the Flash Green paired with a fluorocarbon leader will help you watch your line for subtle bites as the bait falls.
The Neko Rig
The Neko Rig has taken bass fishing by storm over the past several years and has proven that it can catch bass in many scenarios. The simplest way to describe the Neko Rig is a wacky rig with a weight inserted into one end of your soft plastic. This gives it a completely different fall as the bait will fall vertically and opens it up to many more situations.
Whereas the wacky rig falls slowly, a Neko Rig will drop much faster due to the added weight. This allows it to work in much deeper water than a wacky rig's traditional shallow water locations.
Fishing a Neko Rig can be done with any soft plastic, but straight tail worms and soft stickbaits are the most commonly used. The weights used to run the gamut, from hardware like nails and screws to specialty lead and tungsten weights designed for the technique.
Fishing a Neko Rig can be done in several ways, and often, the initial fall of the bait is the most crucial part of the entire process. Bass will often see the bait falling from a long distance and eat it as soon as it hits the bottom or after the first movement of the rod.
Since the bait falls vertically, your bait will stand vertical on the bottom, and a slight hopping as you reel it back to you is all that is needed for many instances. Because the initial fall is so crucial, you can replicate this high-percentage time by reeling quickly and then letting the bait fall again during your retrieve.
No matter how you fish the Neko Rig, paying close attention to your line is critical as many of the bites will be subtle, and you may not feel them with the rod itself.
The Neko, Ned, and Wacky are three popular bass fishing rigs that will catch bass in the most challenging fishing situations. Being comfortable with all three will significantly increase your chances of catching bass when nothing else seems to be working. There is a reason they have become so popular among bass anglers. It is because they work.
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