The Ned rig is a simple and versatile fishing rig used for catching crappie, panfish and black bass species. But it’s particularly effective for hooking largemouth bass.
The Ned rig performs well in challenging fishing conditions and in areas with higher pressure due to it very natural appearance and action. When bass aren’t biting, try a Ned rig.
- Ned rig setup
- How to fish a Ned rig?
- Ned rig fishing techniques
- The best hook size for the Ned rig
- The best jighead weight for the Ned rig
- The best fishing rod for the Ned rig
Ned rig setup
A Ned rig is a finesse fishing rig and technique that uses a soft 2-3 inch plastic bait (worms, crawdads, creatures) paired with a 1/16oz to 1/4oz mushroom style jighead. Originally the Ned rig was constructed using half of a soft plastic Senko threaded onto a mushroom jighead.
The Ned rig can be fitted with a large variety of soft plastic baits such as Senkos, shakey worms, craws, grubs, shinners and leeches to name just a few. Two time tested and proven go-to Ned baits include a standard 2.5″ stick bait or small creature bait with its legs removed.
As effective as the Ned rig is, it can be prone to snagging. To reduce snagging and improve performance in cover such as grass, rocks and brush, replace the mushroom head jighead with a brush guard head.
How to fish a Ned rig?
I recommend fishing the Ned rig with a light 5-8 lb monofilament or fluorocarbon line using a spinning reel with a medium-light action rod. With the Ned rig it’s important to use light weight tackle so you can feel the bottom with your lure and the slightest nibble of a fish.
The Ned rig can be fished using a variety of popular angling techniques. The easiest way to fish a Neg rig is to cast it into the water and let it fall to the bottom. The weight of the jighead will carry the Ned rig down. However, the bouyancy of the soft plastic with cause the free-floating parts of the rig to stand up off the bottom. This creates a very natural presentation. (You’ll find more advanced Ned rig fishing techniques in the next section.)
When settled on the bottom, a Ned rig that uses a craw bait will appear like a crawfish defensively positioned just off the bottom. A Ned rig with a plastic worm will look like a real worm wiggling around on the bottom. When set up and fished correctly, the Ned rig is irresitible to bottom feeding bass and panfish.
Ned rig fishing techniques
The following are more advanced techniques for fishing a Ned rig.
Swim-Glide-Shake – One of the most popular techniques for fishing a Ned rig. Effective when fish are actively feeding. Cast and allow the rig to settle on the bottom. Retrieve the rig by reeling in. Pause and allow to sink to the bottom and shake the rode as the bait is falling. Repeat.
Straight Swim – Use a Ned rig with a soft plastic that provides some tail action. Cast and retrieve at a slow pace as the rig glides just above the bottom. Keep the tip of your rod down as you retrieve.
Drag and Shake – This is the preferred technique for fishing a Ned rig when conditions are challenging. Cast and retrieve the rig allowing it to drag along the bottom. Shake the tip of your rod as you retrieve to produce a shaking motion.
Drag and Deadstick – The drag and deadstick is the go-to Ned rig fishing technique when bass are lethargic or water temperatures are cool. Cast the Ned rig and allow it to settle on the bottom. As you retrieve the rig pause to allow it sit for 10 seconds. Continue your retrieve and repeat.
Hop and Bounce – Ideal for bass fishing in water with crawfish. Employ the hop and bounce technique using a craw soft plastic. Cast the rig and allow it to settle on the bottom. Let it sit for a moment. Retrieve the rig for a few seconds and allow it to settle and rest on the bottom for a moment. Repeat this action as you continue your retrieve.
Stroll – This is a trolling method for fishing a Ned rig. It’s ideal for targeting black bass species. Cast your rig and let it settle to the bottom. Now allow your trolling motor to drag the rig slowly across the bottom until it’s directly behind the boat. Repeat this action.
The best hook size for the Ned rig
In comparison to a traditional bass jig, the jig used with a Ned rig is relatively small. We recommend a light gauge wire jighead hook around a #1-#3. You can use a heavier gauge hook if merited but you’ll get more bites using a lighter hook.
The Ned rig is used primarily for bass fishing, but it can also be effective for targeting crappie and other panfish. You’ll want to adapt the size of your hook to match the size of your target game fish. If you’re fishing smaller pan fish, you’ll need a smaller hook and smaller soft plastic.
The best jighead weight for the Ned rig
As far as weight is concerned, you want to stay as lightweight as possible. You’ll never use a really heavy jighead for the Ned rig. The most popular jighead weights for a Ned rig are between 1/16oz and 1/4oz (rarely anything larger). When water is deep, and it’s windy outside, you’ll want to use a jighead on the heavier side to ensure effective casting and that your rig can get to the bottom.
Remember, the key to a natural presentation is having the bouyant soft plastic bait tip remain upright once your rig is on the bottom. So you want a jighead heavy enough to get your rig on the bottom, but no so heavy that your rig can’t stand up.
The key to hook weight selection is making sure you achieve the right balance to ensure the correct presentation when the rig is resting on the bottom or in motion.
The best fishing rod for the Ned rig
The Ned rig is a finesse style and presentation. It requires a high level of sensitivity. The angler needs to be able feel what is happening with the rig while it’s resting on the bottom or being retrieved.
I recommend using medium-light action rod between 6’6″ and 7’2″ with a 1000 to 2000 size reel when fishing a Ned rig.