Karl’s Favorite Techniques #2: Ned Rig Fishing

Ned Rigs are arguably the most popular bait/rig/presentation in fishing at the moment. The unassuming combination of soft plastic and jig head has re-defined the finesse plastic game and put tons of fish in boats across America. If you have never heard of the venerable rig or are simply looking to learn more, click here!

Named for it’s creator Ned Kehde, a finesse-fishing guru hailing from Missouri, the Ned Rig essentially amounts to a small plastic stick or creature bait threaded onto a light jig head. Typically, a mushroom-style jig head is used, though many Ned Rig-specific jig heads have hit the market, and they normally sport a flat bottom that is laid flush with the flat end of the soft plastic. 

Bass Fishing with Ned Rig
The BioSpawn ExoNed rigged on a Ned Rig Jig Head is dynamite on Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

If the Ned Rig has a calling card, it is simplicity. The assembly of the rig is simple, the way you fish it is simple and the way it works is simple. Read on to learn how to use the simplicity of this great rig to help you catch more fish!

What to Fish the Ned Rig on:

To fish the Ned Rig effectively, you will need the right gear for the job. You will want to use at least a 7- foot spinning rod with a moderate/moderate fast action. A good rod should be sensitive enough to feel light bites, and strong enough to pull fish from down deep. A 2500 to 3000 class spinning reel is a perfect fit size-wise for this set-up and can hold enough line to fish deep if necessary.

For as important as the rod and reel are to the rig, the line you use is just as important. A 6 to10-pound test line is ideal for the technique. Use a yellow or other high-visibility braided line with a fluorocarbon leader when using the rig. This will help you detect bites and get good hook sets. If braid isn’t your thing, your favorite fluorocarbon or monofilament will work great as well.

How to build the Ned Rig:

On the nose, the Ned Rig may just seem like a jig head and piece of plastic to some. In actuality, there is a lot of room for improvisation on the part of the angler when assembling it. Nowadays, Ned-style baits come in colors and shapes that mimic anything from crayfish to shad. Because of that, anglers can produce a near-lifelike imitation of their local forage species with a Ned Rig.

Depending on fish behavior, you can alter a Ned Rig with ease to give them what they want. If fish are liking the slow fall of a bait, use a lighter Ned head. Conversely, if most of your bites come while dragging bottom, a heavier Ned head will keep your bait down in the strike zone. For those fishing weeds and similar cover, there are tons of Ned heads that come with offset hooks that you can rig into a bait like a Texas Rig to keep you from hanging up in the thick stuff

Ned Rig Fishing Tackle
The 10,000 Fish Sukoshi Bug and the Hard Hat Jigs Dead Bolt make up the perfect Ned Rig

When and Where to Fish the Ned Rig:

There is no need for the angler to carry a watch when throwing a Ned Rig. Unlike specialized rigs that work better at specific times, you can fish it with success at any time. If anything, a Ned Rig should be your go-to during the slowest times of the day. The subtle, finessed-out action of a Ned-Rigged plastic can coax fish to strike in the in-between bite periods.

Just as Ned Rigs are effective at any time of day, they are effective in almost any location. Pitching the rig near cover, weeds and wood is atypical, but can score you a lot of bites. The latter may necessitate some weedless Ned components, but can pay off when other baits aren’t getting bit.

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