The Ned rig is one of the most popular finesse fishing baits right now. It’s easy to use, catches all kinds of fish, and can put bass in the boat in tough conditions when other presentations fail. The Ned Rig can be used on lakes, rivers, and ponds in a variety of conditions and can be fished with a number of different baits and retrieves. Here, FLW pro, Brian Latimer explains how and where to fish the Ned rig for bass.
What is a Ned Fishing Rig?
The Ned rig consists of a light mushroom-style jig head like the Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ JigheadZ rigged with a small stickbait. It’s sometimes referred to as a Midwest finesse rig, a broader term encompassing various light jig and finesse shad, worm, creature, grub, and tube combinations. Here, Latimer describes fishing the Ned rig using the Z-Man Finesse TRD bait, which is 2.75 inches, along with other finesse rigs using Z-Man’s 4-inch Hula StickZ and the 2.75 inch Z-ManTRD TubeZ bait.
“The lighter you go with this particular set up, the better off you are for sure,” Latimer said.
Going light gives these finesse presentations a lifelike action in the water. Latimer most often uses 1/20- and 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig heads. This said, he keeps 1/10- and 1/5-ounce versions in the boat. In windy conditions he may use 1/10 for better bait and line control. He is also experimenting with the 1/5-ounce jig deep-water scenarios.
“It’s that exact same profile of small crawdads, minnows you’d find along the shoreline, things that I think make up the bulk of a bass’ diet that we kind of ignore,” he said.
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When it comes to the Ned rig, Latimer experiments with colors. Typically, a fan of green pumpkin, black, and other traditional bass hues, he’s found bubble gum, Coppertreuse, and other bright patterns can get more bites some days.
Extra Tip: Latimer fishes Midwest finesse rigs using a 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod with a spinning reel designed for a 5.2:1 gear ratio, spooled with 10- to 15-pound braid and a 6- to 12-pound fluorocarbon leader. He notes rod power is relative to the brand which is to say many medium-light and medium spinning rods are suitable for this style of fishing.
Best Places to Fish the Ned Reg
The Ned rig is versatile. It can be used to fish specific targets, such as points, or to work along the break of a bare bank.
Latimer mostly fishes the Ned rig from tight to the bank to depths of eight feet deep. Occasionally he’ll work out to 12 feet.
“One of my favorite ways to fish it is around any current conditions,” Latimer said. “Rivers, creeks, any kind of bridge confluences where the current’s kind of restricted and moving really fast, those are good places to target. Riprap is a really good place to target with a Ned rig.”
Extra Tip: The Ned rig also catches schooling bass feeding on tiny minnows. Latimer will cast the bait out and let it fall through the school. “It’s deadly,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing what it does to schooling fish that are hard to catch.”
Different Retrieve Styles for the Ned Reg
A variety of retrieve styles can be used to catch bass on a Ned rig. Latimer typically uses a subtle swim and glide retrieve. He lets the bait sink to bottom, gently raises the rod tip, then lets it cascade back down to bottom.
“I don’t really want to make the bait scurry,” he said. “Less is more with it. It’s such a small profile bait that any action you impart on it with your rod tip is far more exaggerated than it would be on a shaky head or a drop-shot.”
A straight swim is another deadly retrieve. It’s the secret to Latimer’s five-year old son’s Ned rig success.
“He has caught so many fish on that thing just throwing it out and reeling it back to the boat. And, I never tell him what to do, ‘let it sink’, ‘do this or do that’, I just give it to him and let him fish it, and bass come to it. They find it.”
Extra Tip: Z-Man’s proprietary ElaZtech construction results in incredible durability in a soft, subtle plastic. ElaZtech is buoyant giving it a lifelike action in the water. And, when a Ned rig rests on bottom it stays upright, mimicking a feeding baitfish or defensive crayfish and antagonizing bass to strike.
If you haven't fished the Ned rig, you need to start right now. This finesse fishing gem catches tons of fish and will tempt lock-jawed bass to bite. As Latimer says, “It’s so simple and so bulletproof.”
Watch Video: A Ned Rig fishing system explanation on how to rig the Z-man Elazltech most efficiently. It also gives some insight on the Midwest finesse presentation.