The Ned Rig has gained popularity like a freight train across the bass fishing world within recent years. A Ned Rig is a pretty simple setup, made up of a short stickbait style worm that’s rigged on a light-weight jig head.
But don’t let the simplicity of this rig fool you, when it comes to putting up big numbers the Ned Rig is a bass producing machine. The rig was developed by Midwest fisherman Ned Kehde, who cares far more about catching a lot of bass than catching big bass.
Bass production aside, another big advantage to Ned Rigging is the longevity of the bait itself. Because the worms are so short and thick, you can catch bass after bass without doing much damage to them. In fact, Ned Kehde claims to have once caught 232 fish on a single worm before it needed to be replaced!
When fishing most rubber worms you can easily blow through a pack of them in a day like it’s nothing. So we’re talking about a long lasting bait that puts a lot of bass in the boat? It’s no wonder its become as popular as it has. Let’s take a closer look at the rig starting with the hooks.
Ned Rig Hooks
There are Ned Rig jig heads specifically designed for Ned Rigging. In fact it’s become a standalone category on most tackle sites now. The hooks themselves are typically a size 3/0 or smaller, and usually some sort of stand-up or mushroom style head.
Almost every jig and/or terminal tackle company has their own version of Ned head today. Because these are small, light-wire hooks one of the most important attributes to look for is hook quality. Below are the Ned heads made by BiCO Performance Jigs and they’re made with Owner hooks so you know you’re good there.
Ned Rig jig heads come in a range of different weights ranging from as light as 1/16 ounce to usually never heavier than a 1/2 ounce. Most of them are equipped with some kind of keeper to keep the worms from sliding down the shank. Some even come weedless now, equipped with a wire weedguard.
Ned Rig Worms
The worms used with Ned Rigs are usually short stickbaits, typically between two and a half and four inches long. Two of the best worms for Ned Rigging are the Z-Man Finesse TRD Worm and/or the Roboworm Ned Rig Worm. Let’s have a look at each of them.
Z-Man Finesse TRD Worm
The Finesse TRD (The Real Deal) Worm is probably the most well known Ned Rig worm out there. At 2.75 inches long they are absolutely perfect for a Ned Rig. And they float, so when they are at rest on the bottom the tail end of the bait will float up.
These worms come eight to a pack, and because they’re made with Z-Mans ElaZtech plastic these baits are extremely durable. One bag of these worms is going to last you a long time.
Roboworm Ned Worm
Another very popular Ned Rig worm is made by Roboworm, and simply called the Ned Worm. These worms actually come in two sizes, 3 inches or 4.5 inches, giving you some flexibility on the bait profile you want to present.
The 3 inch worms come eight to a pack and the 4.5 worms come six to a pack. These are made with a more familiar plastic material so won’t be as soft and stretchy as Z-Man’s plastics. So if you’re looking for more of a conventional rubber worm feel then these are a great choice.
Some fishermen, including Ned Kehde, like to rig a Ned using half of a five inch Senko worm. Each half makes a perfect Ned Rig worm, and you get two baits out of one stickbait. Since Ned Rig worms are so often used as finesse baits the more “natural looking” colors are very popular, like green pumpkin or watermelon.
Ned Rig Fishing
As you have probably guessed already, this is a finesse rig by all accounts. Actually, before the term “Ned Rig” became popularized, Ned Rigging was more often called Midwest Finesse style.
So in most cases you’ll want to be fishing a Ned Rig with finesse tackle. With that said, if you don’t have a finesse rod any spinning rod setup will suffice. The best rod for Ned Rig fishing is always going to be a spinning rod.
Baitcasting rods are too powerful, while spinning rods are better at handling lighter tackle and line. You want to be using monofilament line in the six to eight pound test range, perfecting for spinning gear.
How To Fish A Ned Rig
One of the most popular ways to fish a Ned Rig is to cast it out and simply let it sink to the bottom. Once the bait is sitting on the bottom, just slowly raise the rod tip up to cause the bait to drag along the bottoms.
This is as basic as a retrieve as it gets. From there, if fish don’t seem to be reacting, you can begin to mix things up. Start by making the bait hop up off the bottom by jerking the rod tip upward.
In addition to making the bait hop, try making the bait shake a little by lightly shaking the rod. After a hop let the bait sit for a few seconds and shake the bait in place for a few more seconds. This is a very natural looking presentation that can really be effective when bass are not very active.
When conditions really get tough try slowing things down even more. Ned Rigs are an outstanding option for fishing in tough conditions, like in ultra clear or cold water. This is when deadsticking can be extremely effective. Deadsticking means you are going to let the worm sit still for long periods of time. The term refers to the rod as the stick and dead meaning not moving.
These long periods of stillness capture the attention of sluggish bass, because it does not take much energy to stare at it. But it’s when you suddenly jerk the bait that triggers a reaction strike, a natural reaction that even the most lethargic bass cannot control.