The water all over the country is getting colder every day. Surprisingly, that has me looking forward to throwing something finesse again that I only fished a little last year late in the winter, the Ned rig.
The sports new cleanup hitter isn’t a secret anymore by any means, but the Ned rig is still deceptively effective.
I had heard a lot about it, so last winter I put it to the test one day. “How could this thing really be any more effective than a shaky head.” I pondered as I rigged both baits up for a little head-to-head showdown.
Ned Rig: Why It’s Effective
I rigged the baits up on identical setups: line, reel, and rod. I wanted to eliminate all the variables that might affect the bite. Then I set out on the lake and caught 12 or so small spotted bass on a shaky head in a couple of hours. But when I swapped over to the Ned rig, that number doubled, if not tripled in the same amount of time. A lot of the fish were small, but where I would pull up on a point and make two or three casts with a shaky head before I got a bite, I’d get three bites on the first three casts with the Ned rig.
The reason this bait works so well… is still unknown to me. But hey, I’m not one of those guys that have to know how a microwave works, I just want my mac and cheese. And the Ned rig nukes my pasta well.
Last season, I would do the same thing I saw most anglers do when rigging a Ned rig, cut a Senko in half and run the tail section up onto the jig head, leaving the hook exposed about halfway down the soft plastic. It’s a very nothing looking deal. But maybe that’s what the fish like about it. It’s very subtle and non-threatening. But then again, so is a shaky head.
I’m interested to see this year if I can target bigger fish with the Ned rig. Fish that, for whatever reason, won’t bite anything else. I had fun last year catching a bunch of little ones on it a time or two, but as a tournament fisherman, I really want to take advantage of the baits uncommon effectiveness and dial in a pattern where the Ned rig unlocks a larger bite.
Ned Rig: New Offerings and Options
Another thing that has me excited about the Ned rig is the new offering of baits that have been specifically designed for the setup and released to the market over the last year or so. One, in particular, the Ned Bomb from MISSILE Baits.
These little guys come in a lot of cool colors, several with tails that differ in color from the body.
Another great thing, the Ned Bombs are 10 for $3.99 and should stay on the hook better, which is a little easier to bear than cutting the head off a Senko that cost twice as much and the fish tossing it on the first fight. Though to be fair, Yamamoto does offer a Ned rig specific 3-inch bait now, but it’s still a bit pricier.
Then for anyone who is particularly worried about burning through baits, there’s the Finesse TRD from Z-Man. Only $3.99 for eight, and they’re made with Z-Man’s ElaZtech Plastic which is super stretchy and won’t tear off the hook until you want to tear it off the hook— and sometimes not even then. But those are a little shorter than I like at 2.75 inches and the stretchy plastic can be a little difficult to get up over the bait keepers of some jig heads. They do make a Ned head specifically designed with this in mind, however.
So yeah, I’m a little excited about venturing deeper into the finesse world this winter.
Surprising I’m sure for some of you familiar with my style of fishing. But the fact that I’m not a good finesse angler is kind of what has me fired up about it. I feel like the Ned rig is so effective, it can help boost my finesse confidence and help me locate a lot of fish that I can then try to target with some other finesse techniques to hone my skills this winter. That’s the game plan anyway, check back in later to see how it went!
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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