Skip to content
Karl's Fishing & Outdoors Logo
Neko Rig 411 – How To Rig It And Use It

Neko Rig 411 – How To Rig It And Use It

There have been few baits to revolutionize bass fishing like the soft plastic stick bait. Sure, there have been other hot fads over the years, but nothing like what happened in the years after Gary Yamamoto released the Senko. Try and find an angler without at least a bag of soft plastic stick baits and you’ll likely be looking for a while.

Since the Senko set the bar, the soft plastic stick bait category has exploded, and companies have developed a host of different iterations, almost all sharing the subtle, shimmying fall that is so intoxicating to bass.

Where The Neko Rig Comes In...

As effective as they are though, soft plastic stick baits are traditionally limited to shallow water situations due to their slow rate of fall. Fishing one in water deeper than about 8 feet is an agonizing process.
Enter the Neko rig, or “nail weighted wacky.”

Like several other unique rigs before it, the Neko rig was developed in Japan and has become a staple for deepwater anglers all across the west in recent years, responsible for countless high tournament finishes and personal bests.

How To Rig It

To create a Neko rig, start with a wacky rigged version of your favorite soft plastic stick bait, then insert a finishing nail, drywall screw, or specialized lead insert weight into one end.

That’s it.

By inserting a nail weight in one end, the Neko rig falls faster with a crazy darting and gliding action. Once it hits bottom, it stands on one end and little shakes of the rod tip make it “jump” off the bottom.

Where To Fish It

Fish the Neko rig on any deeper structure like points, drop-offs, ledges, humps, bluff walls, or deep docks. Cast it out and let it fall on slack line. Once the line stops moving, reel tight and check for a fish (they often hit on the fall). If there’s no bite, give it a couple of hops then drag it along the bottom. There’s no wrong way to fish it, as long as it’s in the water – you’re gonna eventually get bit.

Neko Rig tips:

More durable stick baits like the BioSpawn ExoStick and Berkley Havoc Money Maker are most effective when Neko rigged because they will hold up to abuse better.
Fish the Neko rig on 10-15 pound braid with a 5 foot leader of 8-10 pound fluorocarbon, the braid helps detect light bites in deep water.

Although there are several specially designed nail weights out there, a 1 ½ inch drywall screw is cheap and really effective.

More on the Neko Rig

Updated August 2nd, 2021 at 10:42 AM CT