The Ned Rig: Bass Fishing’s Ultimate Finesse Technique?

The majority of bass fishermen have come to understand that a solid finesse fishing strategy will allow bass to be pulled from the water with fair consistency, even when conditions are less than ideal. This knowledge has created a unique scenario that is characterized by the continual rise of new and exciting Finesse presentations, on an almost yearly basis.

This continued finesse fishing renaissance has given birth to a number of innovative rigs, which all show promise for boating bass, even when the going gets tough. However, few such rigs have received as much attention as of late, as the Ned Rig. This particular rig has grown exponentially in popularity over the last couple of years, and for good reason.

What Is The Ned Rig?

Much like any new finesse fishing technique that comes from obscurity to take the bass fishing scene by storm, many anglers’ initial reaction to hearing about the Ned Rig is one of skepticism. This is often followed by a myriad of questions relating to how this particular finesse rig is different from those to come before it, and how it is fished.

The Ned Rig is easily recognizable when compared to other finesse rigs, primarily for its small overall size in relation to other finesse offerings. It simply consists of a 2”-3” soft plastic, threaded onto an ultra-lightweight jig head. When rigged correctly, the jig head’s hook will protrude at the approximate halfway point of the plastic’s body.

Much of the Ned Rig’s attraction stems from the enticing flutter that is presented upon its descent. This is where the use of a lightweight jig head pays dividends. The slow methodical fall that is standard of the Ned Rig, is often more than even the most picky of bass can handle.

The Ned Rig can be fished in several different ways, all of which are based on the bait’s ability to be retrieved with a subtle, yet lively presentation. Some of these retrieval methods include hopping, drag-and-deadsticking, and a shaking-swim retrieval.

ZMan Fishing Products’ Ned Rig Revolution

There are few individuals better equipped to discuss the Ned Rig’s rise to prominence than ZMan Fishing Products President, Daniel Nussbaum. ZMan has been at the forefront of the Ned Rig’s continued development, and produces some of the finest rig specific jig heads and soft plastics available on the market today.

“We came out with it five or six years ago, and it actually took two or three years for it to really catch on,” Nussbaum said, regarding ZMan’s jump into the production of Ned Rig specific plastics and heads. “At first, it was something that tournament fishermen really kind of laughed at. They didn’t think that it was going to be a significant tool for them, until they got faced with tough conditions, began throwing it, and were getting bites when nothing else would get bit,” Nussbaum continued.

Zman Fishing Products now offers the Finesse TRD series of soft plastics, that are specifically built for optimal use with the company’s Shroomz jig heads. This line of soft plastics utilizes an ElaZtech composition to produce a precise sink rate that perfectly compliments the Ned Rig, and produces a desirable action that proves deadly on even the most finicky of bass.

“That’s really the key to the Ned Rig system. ElaZtech plastic floats, allowing it to stand up off the bottom, and slows down the sink rate. It is a completely different look that fish haven’t seen,” says Nussbaum. When asked about the best color of Finesse TRD plastics to use, Nussbaum said, “Green Pumpkin is always the best seller.” He explained the reasoning behind this by saying, “As the bass fishermen always say, ‘it doesn’t matter what color it is, as long as it is green pumpkin’.”

Shaw Grigsby on the Ned Rig

Anglers all across the nation have found notable success fishing the Ned Rig, including some competitive bass fishing’s biggest names. One such angler is legendary pro, Shaw Grigsby. Grigsby recently touched on the role that the Ned Rig has played in his fishing, as of late.

“The Ned Rig has really come on strong, and it is something that I use when I’m fishing in clear water, especially when fishing around smallmouths and spots. They just can’t handle this thing,” said Grigsby.

Like many bass anglers, when Grigsby first laid eyes on the Ned Rig, he didn’t initially see the appeal. “When I first learned about it, I studied the Ned Rig and thought, ‘What is this?’ It’s just a little itty bitty chunk of plastic,” Grigsby said. “But then I started fishing it, and it was really good,” he continued.

When fishing the Ned Rig, Grigsby definitely has a preferred retrieve that he has found much success with. “I normally throw it out and let it go to the bottom. You will get a lot of strikes on the fall. But, when it’s on the bottom, I let it sit, and barely move my rod a little bit, jig it a little bit off the bottom, pick it back up, and do it again,” said Grigsby.

Grigsby says that he has had great success out of fishing the Ned Rig in conjunction with Strike King’s line of purpose-specific soft plastics. “Now, Strike King has a whole line on Ned baits,” said Grigsby. “Most of the baits I use are like a green pumpkin color. I like the natural colors like that. Then there is the new color called Moon Juice that I love,” Grigsby continued.

A Tactic for the Masses

One of the most valued characteristics of the Ned Rig is that there is virtually no wrong way for it to be fished. From a minimalistic slow jig, to a sweeping retrieve, the Ned Rig provides ample opportunity for anglers of all ages and experience levels.

Though various techniques and rigs have a way of coming and going throughout the years, it seems that finesse fishing is here to stay. If the present is any indicator, it is likely safe to say that the Ned Rig will continue to play a pivotal role for both competitive and weekend bass anglers alike, for many years to come.


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