I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh at the Ned Rig when it first started becoming popular. Its small size and finesse attitude don’t exactly scream big bites. However, there’s no way to argue with the success it’s had. I’d be a fool to not incorporate it into my arsenal and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results.
The Ned is a super simple presentation, just a jighead and plastic. It’s non-threatening size and shape doesn’t replicate anything a bass eats specifically but could be a ton of potential prey items. I find myself reaching most often for a 1/5-ounce jighead and the original Finesse T.R.D. from Zman. Whichever worm you choose to throw, make sure it floats. I’m a big believer that this will help you get more bites. Because it’s lightweight I use spinning tackle, most situations call for spooling up with either 8lb straight fluorocarbon or braid with an 8 or 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
You can pick up a Ned at any time of the year and get a bunch of bites but the quality might not be best. However, there are a few situations where the Ned gets not only bites but big ones. I also believe anytime smallmouths are in the equation it is worth having the Ned tied on.
The Ned Rig is one of the first baits I reach for when the ice first goes off here in the north. You can catch absolutely crazy numbers on this bait when the water temperature is in the 40s. Bass are often schooled up and when you find them they will be ready to feed. Baits with a lot of action don’t draw as many strikes in super cold water so the Ned is perfect, as it really doesn’t do a whole lot down there. Scooting it across the bottom is my preferred presentation and it actually allows for covering water fairly quickly. I mostly target largemouth with it but a smallmouth won’t pass it up either. It also works well in cold water late in the fall.
Fisheries with current are another place where the Ned is absolutely killer. I mentioned earlier that I was a big believer in buoyancy; it is most important when current is involved. It is critical to have enough buoyancy that the bait tumbles in the current. There really isn’t much you have to do to impart action on the bait here. Cast into a likely current seam and keep up with the bait while it tumbles. If it stops it’s either a fish or you are hung on something. Being hung up isn’t necessarily a bad thing because if you can pop the Ned free it will often trigger a bite.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, be prepared to incorporate the Ned into your bag of tricks. You’ll be surprised at something so simple can be so effective.