Neko Rig Fishing 101
A Neko rig is an off centered wacky rig with a nail weight in one end of the bait. It has the same wiggle as it flutters down that fish find irresistible but because it has the weight in one end, it stand up on the bottom instead of lying flat.
This keeps the tail standing up and kicking while the nail is contacting bottom. This action makes your rig look like a bait fish digging around for food. Adding some pops and letting your bait flutter back down is great at mimicking a dying bait fish on bottom.
One of the key benefits of the neko rig is its ability to be fished in deeper water. The wacky rig can be a pain when fishing deeper than a few feet since the bait takes so long to sink. The neko rig does not have this problem since you can adjust the weight depending on the depth you are targeting.
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How to Rig a Neko Rig
Setting up a neko rig is very simple.
- Start by inserting a nail or screw style weight into the fat end of a neko soft plastic bait.
- Tip: leave a small portion of the nail sticking out. This will give you more feel when you are in contact with the bottom.
- Then place an o-ring on the bait an inch or two from the end with your weight.
- Next slip your hook under the o-rings with the point up away from your weight and slightly out.
Rigging your o-ring and hook an inch or two up will help keep the hook up off the bottom and still leaves about 3/4 of your bait without anything ridged in it.
The top 3/4 of your bait will to produce a lot of movement and action. The benefit of an neko rig is you get a different action than the wacky rig. With the weight in the head your bait will stay down on the bottom sticking up with your hook is exposed, pointing up.
Make your life easier by picking up an wacky rigging tool.
When to Fish the Neko Rig
The neko rig is my favorite bottom contact finesse technique during the fall. It can be fished fast in order to cover a lot of water but also does great if you need to slow down once you find the bass.
It’s great when fishing brush, rocks, or breaks deeper than you would typically throw a wacky rig. Wacky rigs take a long time to sink so they aren’t ideal for fishing very deep. Another benefit of the added weight is you will be able to cast further and target these areas without having to get too close and spook the fish.
The great thing about finesse fishing styles like the neko rig is that they can work all year round. It works well in clear and stained water but when it comes to super muddy water there are better options. I like to fish the neko rig when I am targeting deep bass and want a bigger profile bait than a drop shot.
How to Fish a Neko Rig
Neko rigs are very easy to fish. You want to cast out to your target and allow your bait sink to the bottom. Once it reaches the bottom you have two options.
You can slowly drag and shake it like you would a drop shot. This makes the worm’s tail wiggle around looking like a bait fish rooting around in the rocks and mud. This action drives bass wild.
The other option is to fish it much more aggressively and hopping it along bottom. This action resembles a dying or struggling bait fish which are an easy meal for bass.
The time of year and conditions will determine which method you should start with. Slowly dragging works best in the winter or when bass are being picky.
Aggressive hopping is best for spring and fall when bass are more active and you need to cover a lot of water quickly.