Simple Ned Rig Tips & Tricks From An Elite Series Pro

Josh Douglas is a smallmouth fishing stud from the Northwoods of Minnesota. When he’s not touring the country competing at bass fishing’s highest level, Josh is on his home waters of the world-famous Lake Mille Lacs, likely guiding clients to their personal best fish. Through the years, Josh has relied on the ned rig to continually pick up bites when touring, guiding, and fishing around the country. Whether he is rigging up this full-proof smallmouth bait for upcoming clients, or if he’s grabbing them on the way out the door before an upcoming tournament, Josh breaks down how he how and where he fishes the ned rig.

ned rig tips
Josh Douglas
Hometown: Isle, Minnesota
Occupation: BASS Elite Series Pro & Trophy Smallmouth Guide

Q: What is your favorite smallmouth bait?

A: The Ned Rig – If I can have a spinning rod in my hand and start picking stuff apart, there are few better choices than the ned rig.

Q: How Do You Fish With A Ned Rig?

A: I beef things up with an Outcast Tackle Perfect Ned Head paired with the 10,000 Fish Sukoshi Bug soft plastic, which quickly gets my bait down to the bottom. This helps me “power fish” with a finesse bait, as I cover water quickly and put my bait exactly where I want it. 

How Deep Do You Fish Ned Rigs?

A: I fish ned rigs from 2-40 feet throughout the season, adjusting my gear to match each presentation. For the best sensitivity and casting distance, I use a 7’3” medium-powered spinning rod with heavier jigs and then scale back to a light-powered spinning rod for the 1/16-3/32 oz jig heads.

Q: What’s A Ned Rig Tip For Largemouth Anglers?

A: Replace the wacky rig with a lightweight ned rig set-up during the post-spawn bite. Instead of constantly losing baits or getting caught up in the grass or slime, an ultra finesse ned rig will trigger bites without as much hassle. 

Q: How Do You Set The Hook On A Ned Rig?

A: I fish primarily with a braided mainline to a fluorocarbon leader. This combo gives me the best of both worlds and requires minimal hooksets. All I do is reel down and lean into the fish with my rod tip. However, If you fish with straight fluorocarbon or monofilament, set the hook hard with everything you got. 

Q: How Do You Avoid Getting Snagged? 

A: Getting snagged is the name of the game when fishing a ned rig, and it’s just bound to happen. Try popping your rod tip or pulling the lure from the opposite side of the snag. Be ready though, smallmouth love to hit a bait right when a lure pops free from a snag.

Q: What Does It Look Like To Fish?

A: Crawdads right off the bat. Smallmouth seem to eat crawfish all year long, and by hopping, dragging, and shaking a ned rig, I can quickly get my bait to look like a crawfish.

Depending on how you work the bait, you can make it mimic anything. By swimming a ned rig in shallow weeds, I can get my bait to look like small bluegill or perch hiding in the grass. I don’t even know if bass knows what it is, but they look so realistic in the water that it’s hard for fish not to eat them. 

Q: How Do You Fish A Ned Rig From The Shore?

A: When I fish from the shore, I bring three baits – A ned rig, a topwater, and a swim jig. The two other baits help me keep things moving, and the ned rig helps me slow down and will honestly catch fish in every lake with bass.

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