Unlock The Ned Rig: A Beginner’s Guide To This Popular Fishing Technique

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Master the Ned Rig, a finesse fishing technique for catching bass, panfish, and other species. Learn the basics, setup, and techniques to improve your freshwater and saltwater fishing skills.

Ned Rig Basics

The Ned Rig, a mysterious and intriguing name that sparks curiosity among anglers. But what exactly is a Ned Rig, and how did it come to be?

Definition and Origin

The Ned Rig, named after its creator Ned Kehde, is a type of finesse fishing rig that originated in the Midwest region of the United States. It’s a simple yet effective setup that has gained popularity among bass anglers in recent years. The rig’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the 1970s when Kehde, a seasoned angler, experimented with different presentations to catch more bass. His innovative approach led to the development of the Ned Rig, which has since become a staple in many anglers’ tackle boxes.

Key Components

So, what makes a Ned Rig a Ned Rig? At its core, the setup consists of a few critical components that work in harmony to tempt those finicky bass. You’ll need a soft plastic lure, typically a mushroom-shaped head or a small jig, paired with a curly tail or a small plastic worm. The hook is usually a small, bait-holder type, and the line is typically a light to medium-light fluorocarbon or monofilament. The weight, which can be a split shot, a tiny egg sinker, or a small tungsten weight, is attached about 12-18 inches above the hook. The Ned Rig’s simplicity is part of its charm, and this minimalistic approach is what makes it so effective.


Ned Rig Setup

Line and Leader Selection

When it comes to setting up a Ned Rig, selecting the right line and leader is crucial. You might be wondering, “What’s the big deal about line and leader selection?” Well, think of it like building a house. You need a solid foundation (your line) to support the structure (your leader and lure). If your foundation is weak, the entire thing comes crashing down.

For a Ned Rig, you’ll want to use a monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a minimum of 10-12 lb test weight. Why? These lines provide the necessary strength and sensitivity to detect even the lightest of bites. You can use a braid line, but it’s not recommended as it can be too sensitive and cause unnecessary line twist.

As for the leader, a 12-18″ long fluorocarbon leader with a minimum of 10-12 lb test weight is ideal. This provides a smooth transition from the line to the lure, reducing the likelihood of twist and knots.

Weight and Hook Configurations

Now that we’ve got our line and leader, it’s time to talk about weight and hook configurations. Imagine you’re a master builder, carefully selecting the right materials to construct a sturdy structure. You need the right weight and hook setup to present your lure effectively.

For a Ned Rig, you’ll typically use a 1/8 to 1/4 oz weight, depending on the water conditions and the size of your lure. The weight should be attached to the swivel, followed by the leader, and then the hook. This setup allows for a smooth, snag-free presentation.

As for the hook, a size 2 or 1 hook is usually preferred. You want a hook that’s sturdy enough to hold a decent-sized fish, yet small enough to allow for a subtle presentation. The hook should be attached to the leader using a loop knot, ensuring a secure connection.

Remember, the key to a successful Ned Rig setup is balance. You want to create a harmonious relationship between the line, leader, weight, and hook, allowing you to present your lure in the most natural and enticing way possible.


Ned Rig Fishing Techniques

Fishing techniques make all the difference in the world of Ned Rig fishing. It’s not just about throwing the line into the water; it’s about finesse, strategy, and execution. In this section, we’ll dive into the various techniques that will help you master the art of Ned Rig fishing.

Vertical Presentation

Imagine a gentle raindrop falling onto the water’s surface. That’s essentially what a vertical presentation looks like when done correctly. The goal is to create a subtle, almost imperceptible entry into the water, allowing your lure to sink slowly and naturally. This technique is particularly effective in areas with structural elements like rocks, weed beds, or sunken logs, where fish tend to congregate. To achieve a successful vertical presentation, focus on the following:

  • Use a slack line to prevent any sudden movements that might spook the fish.
  • Pay attention to the water’s surface, watching for any signs of interest or takes.
  • Be patient, as this technique often requires a slower and more deliberate approach.

Dragging and Hopping

Now, let’s talk about adding some action to your presentation. Dragging and hopping involve moving your lure at a slow to moderate pace, mimicking the movement of an injured baitfish or a crawdad. This technique is excellent for covering larger areas and can be particularly effective in areas with a mix of sand, rocks, and weeds. To master the drag and hop, try the following:

  • Start with a slow, gentle drag, then pause occasionally to allow the lure to settle.
  • Experiment with different hopping cadences, from slow and deliberate to quicker, more energetic movements.
  • Vary the speed and direction of your drag to keep the fish guessing.

Subtle Rod Movements

Subtle rod movements can make or break a Ned Rig fishing trip. It’s all about imparting a gentle, lifelike action to your lure. Think of it as a soft whisper, rather than a loud shout. By incorporating subtle rod movements into your technique, you can create a more realistic presentation that will entice even the wariest fish. Try the following:

  • Start with a stationary rod, then introduce gentle, almost imperceptible twitches.
  • Experiment with different rod angles and movements, keeping them subtle and natural-looking.
  • Pay attention to your line and the water’s surface, adjusting your movements accordingly.

Choosing the Right Lure

When it comes to the Ned Rig, the right lure can make all the difference between a successful catch and a disappointing day on the water. But with so many options available, how do you choose the perfect lure for your Ned Rig setup?

Soft Plastics and Trailers

Soft plastics and trailers are a staple in many Ned Rig anglers’ arsenals. These lures offer a tantalizing combination of realism and movement that can drive fish wild. When selecting soft plastics and trailers, there are a few key factors to consider.

First, think about the type of fishing you’ll be doing. Are you targeting bass in a murky lake or panfish in a crystal-clear stream? Different fish respond to different lures, so it’s essential to choose soft plastics and trailers that mimic the natural prey found in your fishing spot.

Next, consider the size and profile of your soft plastics and trailers. A larger lure might be perfect for targeting larger bass, while a smaller lure might be better suited for panfish or other smaller species. Finally, think about the action you want to impart on your lure. Do you want a subtle, finesse-style presentation, or a more aggressive, in-your-face approach?

Ned Rig Jigs and Hooks

While soft plastics and trailers are popular choices for the Ned Rig, jigs and hooks can also be incredibly effective. In fact, many anglers swear by the versatility and productivity of jig-based Ned Rigs.

When choosing a Ned Rig jig, consider the weight, shape, and material. A heavier jig might be perfect for getting your lure down to the bottom of a deep lake, while a lighter jig might be better suited for shallower water or more finicky fish.

Hooks are another critical component of the Ned Rig. Look for hooks that are sturdy enough to withstand the fight of larger fish, yet still offer a decent hookset. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different hook sizes and styles to find what works best for you and your fishing spot.


Ned Rig Fishing Applications

The versatility of the Ned Rig is one of its greatest strengths, and its applications are as varied as the fish it can catch. From the calm waters of freshwater lakes to the salty depths of the ocean, the Ned Rig has proven itself to be an effective and adaptable fishing technique.

Species Targeting (Bass, Panfish, etc.)

So, what species can you target with a Ned Rig? The answer is, almost anything that swims! Bass, panfish, trout, walleye, and even the occasional catfish have all fallen victim to the Ned Rig’s allure. But what makes it so effective for multiple species? The answer lies in its ability to mimic the natural movements of a baitfish or crawdad, triggering an instinctual response in predators.

Imagine a nervous baitfish darting for cover, or a crawdad scurrying across the bottom of a rocky lakebed. The Ned Rig’s subtle, tantalizing movements can imitate these natural behaviors, enticing even the wariest of fish to strike. And because the Ned Rig can be tailored to different species with the right lure and presentation, it’s no wonder anglers are switching to this technique in droves.

Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing

But what about the environment? Can the Ned Rig thrive in both freshwater and saltwater environments? The answer is a resounding yes! While freshwater applications are well-documented, the Ned Rig has also proven itself in saltwater fishing, where its ability to mimic wounded baitfish or crustaceans makes it a deadly proposition for species like redfish, sea trout, and even tarpon.

In freshwater, the Ned Rig excels in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, where its slow, methodical presentation can tempt even the most finicky bass or panfish. And in saltwater, its ability to withstand strong currents and bulky structures makes it an excellent choice for fishing in bays, estuaries, and coastal areas. Whether you’re targeting freshwater giants or saltwater behemoths, the Ned Rig is an essential tool in your fishing arsenal.


Tips and Tricks

When it comes to mastering the Ned Rig, a few clever tips and tricks can make all the difference between a mediocre outing and a phenomenal one. By incorporating these expert techniques into your fishing repertoire, you’ll be well on your way to landing the big ones.

Line Twist Prevention

Line twist – the bane of many an angler’s existence. It’s frustrating, it’s frustrating, and it can be a major productivity killer. So, how do you prevent this pesky problem from ruining your fishing trip? Here are a few pro tips to keep your line twist-free:

  • Always maintain a consistent tension on your line to prevent twisting.
  • When joining two lines together, use a blood knot or a barrel knot to minimize twisting.
  • Consider using a line with a built-in twist-resistant feature, such as a copolymer or fluorocarbon line.
  • If you do encounter a twist, don’t panic! Simply cut the line above the twist, and re-tie your knot.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters – catching those fish!

Experimenting with Weights and Actions

One of the most exciting aspects of the Ned Rig is its versatility. With a few simple tweaks, you can completely change the behavior and action of your lure. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different weights and actions!

  • Try using different weights to alter the sink rate and action of your lure. A heavier weight might be perfect for targeting deeper fish, while a lighter weight might be better suited for shallower waters.
  • Experiment with different trailer styles and materials to change the way your lure moves through the water. A curly tail, for example, can add a tantalizing wiggle to your lure, while a straight tail might produce a more subtle action.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match different components to create the perfect combination for your specific fishing scenario.

By embracing the art of experimentation, you’ll unlock the full potential of the Ned Rig and become a more effective, adaptable angler.

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