When it comes to fishing, you will need an excellent mix of angling gears, style, and technique. A lot of marketable and must-have products can perform exceptionally well, while style is something you can discover over time.
Technique, on the other hand, needs quite a bit of studying, so you can dive into fishing by knowing the basics plus the many life hacks that can have you flexing those catches to friends or on social media or checking out paycheck after paycheck.
If you are one of the many anglers who are drawn to bass fishing, then you would know (or should know) ned rig hooks or the advantage ned rigging offers.
Don’t fret if it sounds too foreign to you as we’ll dive deeper into ned rig hooks and answer frequently asked questions so you can become the best bass fisher you could be!
What is a Ned Rig Hook?
Ned rig is an angling technique that uses small plastic worms, crawls, or creatures that mimic the natural food sources of many bass fish. This was made popular in the Midwest by Ned Kehde, whose name the hook derives from, and catapulted to many fishing communities near and far.
The jig head, often known as the ned head, is the main part of a ned rig hook. The flat surface of a ned head makes the bait erect at a 90-degree angle when it is dragged across the bottom. The line tie is always at a 90-degree angle to the hook shaft so the ned head makes retrieval easier.
Today, almost every manufacturer of jigs and/or terminal tackle has its own ned head model. The quality of the hooks is one of the most crucial characteristics to consider because these are tiny, light-wire hooks.
Pro-anglers, almost by habit, used ned rig hooks when fishing for tougher water pressures and presentations. You will find most bass anglers to have at least a handful of ned rig hooks in their toolbox.
- Baits last longer. Ned rigging extends the life of your bait. Most neg rig worms – which we will thoroughly go through in a few – are short and thick so you can expect minimal to no damage even after reeling in bass after bass after bass. That means you save plenty of things: time for switching lures, money for buying lures, and more money for the ned rig hooks and worms.
Even the Great Khede said he caught 232 fish using only ONE worm before he needed to use another one!
- Subtle water presentation. Aside from the artificial worms, plastic heads, or any other items you attach at the ned head, you will find the hook small and precise. This ensures you do not spook your target with the size of your bait or hook.
- Ideal for many situations. Ned rig hooks are not strictly exclusive to bass fishing in clear waters. They can also assist you when angling in murky waters and those that might have flourishing submerged vegetation.
There will always be two sides of the coin, where one is what we likely do not favor. However, knowing the bane of ned rig hooks will sharpen your discernment when it comes to employing this technique in the near future.
- Missed targets. We have tried using ned rig hooks in the river and we kind of missed a handful of fish. Maybe it was how we use it, but since the hooks are comparatively smaller than most then you might experience this once in a while.
- Retrieval may be slower than usual. It worked just fine for us when we tried to use this during our saltwater trips, but we have heard a few anglers who complained of its retrieval time.
- May attract other unwanted species. This can be crazy when you are hellbent in reeling in a catch but a few other aquatic species or a different kind of fish comes by and they get hooked up.
Neg Rig Hook Size
Either a 1/16- or 1/4-ounce hook are good ned rig hook sizes to start. We use either of the too when we fish with a neg rig hook as they provide both a slow and quick sink rate and garner the most bites.
Ned heads that are incredibly light prevent your bait from sinking to the bottom. Your bait should not sink straight down like dead bait fish do. We always start with a modest 1/16 oz ned head when fishing a ned rig.
The recommended sink rate for a light ned rig is one foot per second. You need 8–10 seconds of your bait slowly drifting and fluttering down in 10 feet of water. Most of your bites will come from that gradual fall.
We often reverse and switch to a much heavier 1/4 oz head when I’m not getting bites with a light head. A lot of rapid fall will appear less natural, but it will make the fish have to make a snap judgment that may cause them to bite.
Neg Rig Worms
I personally find choosing a rig worm for my ned rig hooks pretty fun. It is like a mix-and-match type of activity, as choosing a worm, or any small creature for that matter, to go with your hook will determine the success of your fishing trip.
There are a wide variety of ned rig worms you can try but most anglers usually use short stickbaits, any baits that are 2 and a half to 4 inches long, with majority favoring Z-MAN TRD275-46PK8 Elaztech Finesse TRD Ned Rig Worm and Roboworm Roboworm N ‘ Ned Worm.
The best-known Ned Rig worm available is undoubtedly the Finesse TRD (The Real Deal) Worm. They are exactly ideal for a ned rig at 2.75 inches long. Additionally, because they float, the tail end of the bait will rise when they are resting on the bottom.
These worms are packaged eight to a pack, and they are manufactured of incredibly strong Z-Mans ElaZtech plastic. One pack of these worms is enough for many, long fishing trips.
Roboworm Ned Worm
The Ned Worm, which is produced by Roboworm, is another extremely-liked ned rig worm. The fact that these worms are available in two sizes gives you some choice in choosing the type of bait you want to use.
The 4.5-inch worms come in packs of six, while the 3-inch worms come in packs of eight. These won’t be as supple and stretchy as Z-Man’s because they are composed of a more common plastic substance. These are an excellent option if you’re seeking for a more traditional rubber worm feel.
Some anglers, like Ned Kehde, like to rig a ned with a 5-inch Senko worm cut in half. You get two baits out of one stickbait since each half makes a great ned rig worm. Ned rig worms are used as finesse baits so frequently that the more “natural-looking” colors, such green pumpkin or watermelon, are especially prominent.
Neg Rig Fishing
If you have reached this part then you are more likely to try this one when you get the opportunity. We do not want you to miss out on the application besides the performance boost ned rig hooks can offer.
How to rig the ned rig?
Casting a ned rig out and letting it merely drop to the bottom is one of the most common methods of fishing with ned rig hooks.
Here’s a quick run-down on an efficient way when angling with ned rig hooks.
- Simply elevate the rod tip slowly once the bait is on the bottom to make it drag along the seabed. This is the most straightforward retrieval there is.
- From there, you can start to mix things up if the fish don’t appear to be responding. Start by pulling the rod tip upward to cause the bait to jump up off the bottom.
- Try slightly shaking the rod to somewhat vibrate the bait in addition to having it hop.
- After a hop, let the bait sit for a few seconds before giving it another brief shake. When the bass is not too prominent, this presentation, which has a very natural appearance, can be very powerful.
When things are truly difficult, consider slowing down even more. Ned Rigs are a fantastic choice for fishing in challenging circumstances, such as in crystal-clear or chilly water. Deadsticking can be very efficient in this situation.
Deadsticking refers to leaving the worm motionless for extended periods of time. The phrase describes the rod as the stick and the phrase “dead” as not moving.
Sluggish bass are drawn to these prolonged stillness because staring at them does not require much effort. However, jerking the hook abruptly causes a reaction strike, a natural response that even the most lazy bass cannot suppress.
Pro-tip: Concentrate on bass-rich places like points, humps, ledges, brush piles, and springtime spawning pockets. With this rig, you are sure to have fun and have the best window for introducing kids to fishing or placing someone in a position to shoot a lot of bass!
Don’ts of Ned Rig Hooks
While the ned rig has become popular among anglers due to its straightforward ability to produce bites in challenging conditions, the majority of them are still not using it to its full potential because of a few straightforward – and easily rectified – tackle selection and technique misconceptions or errors.
Here is a short list of hacks that can help when using the ned rig technique successfully.
- Avoid using ned rig hooks that are “too big”. Smaller-sized ned rig hooks will draw more bites and maximize your rig’s effectiveness. As we shared earlier, ned heads stand at a 90-degree angle when at rest. Bigger ned rig hooks will weigh your whole rig down and make your setup a bit unnatural. This will be harder for you to fill your bucket of catch to the brim.
- Go for lightweight tackles. We would love to emphasize that using a ned rig is an ultra-finesse technique. Opt for spinning rods to match how lightweight your hook, preferably your fishing line too, and your whole set up.
- Lighter jighead, the better. Fish frequently strike the ned rig on the fall, and if you’re using an excessively heavy jighead, the bait will go straight to the bottom past the fish. The bait will simply stay in the striking zone longer with a lighter head, which will also enable the enticing, slow drop that makes the Ned Rig so effective. Additionally, a lighter head hangs down from rocks less and aids in keeping the bait off the grass or algae that covers the bottom of many lakes.
- Keep your ned rig bait until it’s beyond use. Here’s a fun fact: ElaZtech finesse baits get you more bites the more you use them! The flexible material begins to emit salt after a few fish gnaw on it, and it also becomes softer, spongier, and has a slimy coating that makes it enticing to fish. Small rips or tears caused by teeth further limber the bait. Hence, it is in your pocket and setup’s best interest to keep on using your baits as much as you can.
- Love the idleness. Bites don’t always come in a blink so do not try to rush your fishing time. We’ve mentioned it a couple of times already but the stillness is your best friend when using ned rig hooks.
- Set hooks tight – but not too tight! This might bend or pull your hooks, and we do not want that to happen in the middle of reeling your catch. Make sure they are sharp enough and tightly tied enough so the rest of the setup’s effectiveness will follow.
- Expands selection of baits. There are plenty, we really mean PLENTY, of baits available for you so try them all and see which one works best with what you love doing.
Ned rig hooks are must-haves for everyone who fishes for bass, regardless of experience and skill level or rig setup. The next time you are out on your fishing adventure, give it a shot and see for yourself how useful it may be.