Ned Rig Finesse Fishing
The ned rig is an ultra finesse style bait that has been gaining in popularity and for good reason. It is an amazing finesse technique that continually puts fish in the boat even in the toughest conditions. It is used in cold water situations or tough fishing conditions when bass do not want to eat. So what is a ned rig? It is a small bait about 2″ – 3″ on a mushroom-style jig head with an exposed finesse hook.
When rigging your worm put a little super glue on the jig head and slide the worm all the way down. This will increase the durability and make your baits go a long way. This makes the ned rig great for new anglers or anyone on a budget.
For many years Z-Man was the only company that made ned rig baits. This made purchasing ned rig tackle very easy, you only had one choice. Now with the growing popularity, just about every bait company has a ned bait of their own. This is great and anglers now have more specialized baits for specific situations but it also complicates the tackle buying process. In this guide, I try to make that process easier by recommended specific baits, colors, and ned heads that I have used and been successful with.
How to Fish a Ned Rig
I touched on this a bit above but the ned rig works year round but it really shines in the winter months when most other lures don’t. It is a super easy bait to fish. You basically cast it out, let it fall, and slowly drag it back. You don’t have to do much with your rod tip, the current and water movement will produce the action on the worm tail. This makes it an excellent fishing bait for beginners. Some people like to use bigger worms on their ned rig or pop them and give them a lot of action but I think that kind of defeats the purpose of the ned rig. If fish are biting with all that action then why not switch to a more reaction style bait like the neko rig, shaky head, or weightless wacky rig. For me the ned rig shines when it’s that small package on light line in tough conditions.
Best Ned Rig Baits
Best Ned Rig Worms
Z-Man Finesse TRD
The Z-Man Finesse TRD is the original ned rig worm that started it all. It is a 3″ stick worm made of ElaZtech plastic. The ElaZtech makes the bait super durable and stretchy which allows you to use the same bait for multiple bites. You can increase the durability further by adding a drop of super glue to the ned head as you rig the worm on. This will keep the worm from sliding on the hook.
Colors: Green Pumpkin
Warning: ElaZtech plastic baits will melt other soft plastics if they are stored together. Keep ElaZtech baits in their own original packaging for storage.
Robo Worm Ned Worm
The Robo Worm is very similar in shape as the Finesse TRD but it has a lot of salt in it. The salt adds a little extra weight to the bait so it will lay down more than the Finesse TRD. The salt also give the bait a slight flavor which tends to help keep bass from spitting out baits as fast. This gives you a little more time to detect the bite and set the hook. Robo Worm also has a great color selection.
The Finesse TRD and Robo Worm are the two standard ned worms worth trying. They are great baits that work year-round all over the country. As the ned rig grows in popularity so too does the pressure. If a lot of other anglers where you fish throw a ned rig then you may want to branch out into more unique ned baits. Here are a few more styles that are worth throwing.
Z Man TRD TicklerZ
The TRD TicklerZ is another bait by Z-Man. It is very similar to the original Finesse TRD but has 4 small appendages on the top. These appendages don’t look like much out of the water but underwater they add a lot of action. Traditionally ned rigs don’t have much action and you don’t want to work them too much. You cast them out, let the bait sink to the bottom, and slowly hop it back. The TRD TicklerZ does a great job at adding some action without going overboard and killing the benefits of the ned rig. This bait is also made of ElaZtech and should be stored separate from your other soft plastics.
Colors: Canada Craw
Missle Baits Ned Bomb
The Ned Bomb is another great ned worm that is slightly different from the standard ned design. The Ned Bomb features a small beaver style tail. This tail gives the bait a very subtle action and movement in the water. It has been a great fish producer for me over the last few seasons and is currently my go-to ned worm.
Colors: Green Pumpkin, PB&J
XZone Ned Zone
The Ned Zone follows the standard ned worm shape but has a bulbed tail. This bulbed tail produces much more movement underwater than the previous baits mentioned. For this reason, the Ned Zone is more of a warm-weather finesse bait and can be fished a little faster. It is excellent for catching fish when the bite gets tough on pressured lakes. Avoid this bait completely during colder months.
Colors: Green Pumpkin Purple
Best Ned Rig Craw & Creature Baits
Z Man TRD CrawZ
The TRD CrawZ moves away from worm style baits and introduces craw styles to the ned rig. This bait has buoyant claws that swing around when being worked and float up when paused. This looks very natural and mimics a crawfishes natural defensive posture.
Colors: TW Delta Green Pumpkin
Z Man TRD BugZ
The TRD BugZ is Z-Man’s beaver style ned bait. At just 2.75″ it is perfect for anglers looking for a downsized creature bait. Like larger beaver style soft plastics the BugZ has a nice subtle glide as it falls which often triggers a bite before it even hits bottom.
Colors: California Craw
Best Ned Rig Colors
When choosing colors for ned worms I like to keep it as natural as possible. Green pumpkin, goby, and craw colors are all great choices. All these worms come in a variety of colors so grab a couple and dial in what works best for your body of water.
Ned Rig Heads & Hooks
There are two great ned heads that I like to use. The first one is Swagger Tackle’s Flanders Ned Head which is made with tungsten. The benefit of tungsten is it’s much denser than lead so the head is smaller than the same weighted lead head. Additionally, tungsten transfers contact better than lead so you can better feel what is happening at the end of your line. The Flanders Ned Head comes with a 2X hook so you don’t have to worry about it bending out even if you catch giant bass. I also like how they engrave the weight on the head, making it easy to pick the correct weight out of your tackle box. The downside to tungsten is it’s more expensive.
If you fish in places where you get hung up and break off a lot or are on a budget then an Owner Block Head is a good cheaper option. The Block Head is made of lead so you get a slightly bigger and less sensitive head but at a cheaper price. The great thing about this head is it’s made by Owner so you know you are getting a super-strong hook that won’t break or bend.
Bonus Tip: Try painting a ned head chartruese. The chartruese head can give your bait a bit extra pop to draw in more fish.
Best Ned Rig Setup
Best Rod & Reel for Fishing the Ned Rig
For finesse style fishing you want a medium-light or light rod with a real soft tip. When you cast out and are dragging your bait you want to be able to watch your rod tip load and unload as the bait deflects off rocks and cover. This allows you to learn the feel of your bait and what your rod tip looks like as it deflects off rocks. When a bass picks up the bait your rod tip will unload and it will feel different. So a rod with a soft tip will help you detect bites better on super finesse style baits like the ned rig.
The ned rig is about consistency. Giant bass will eat it but that is not why you throw it. You use the ned rig when you need bites. It could be that you’re a beginner and just want to catch numbers, you’re in a tournament and need to pick up one more quick fish, or the weather is off and the bass are being finicky. It is a tried and true fish producing technique. If you aren’t throwing a ned rig then you are missing out.