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The Ned Rig: How to Fish it and What Bass Baits to Use

Ned rigs are so much of a rig as they are a specific type of jig head and worm.

Ned rig style jigs are what’s called a stand-up jig (the jig head sit’s flush on the bottom with the bait poking upwards). It is designed to keep the bait up and off the bottom and creates tempting presentation for a fish to eat.

Ned rigs are a fairly new lure presentation in the bass world but have left a big impact due to being a very successful fish-catching presentation.

The Ned Rig (also known as the Midwest Finesse Rig) has become a go-to presentation for anglers fishing tough conditions or pressured waters with this finesse bait technique.

How to Tie a Ned Rig

To rig a ned rig, you will need:

If you have fished a standard jig while fishing, you already  know all you need to know to create the Ned Rig. Simply tie on the jig and thread on the short stick worm. Then you’re ready to fish.

How and where to Fish a Ned Rig

Ned rigs work best in shallow water but can be used at mid-depth in certain fishing situations. The rig is also not weedless like a Texas rig, so a thick cover might get your hook fouled up.

To fish the Ned rig, simply throw it out short distances around docks or other fish-holding areas and let it hit the bottom. From there, gig it with short pops of your rod. The stand-up jig head will keep the short worm up and entice fish to bite.

Good spots to fish the Ned Rig are around drop offs, points, shallow reefs, bluff banks, rock walls, docks and rip rap.

Fish the Ned Rig requires patience as you are only imparting very small movements to this jig as you try to tempt finicky fish.

When conditions really get tough try slowing things down even more so you are almost dead sticking the lure.

As one of the best soft plastic fishermen we know likes to say, if you think you are fishing too slow with these finesse baits chances are you’re not slow enough on these tough days.

Best Baits and Worms for Ned Rig fishing

Size wise you are talking about 2- to 4-inch finesse baits being the right range with a 3-inch finesse bait being the standard choice.

  • A finesse worm. The worms used with Ned Rigs are usually short stickbaits, typically between 2.5 and 4 inches in length. Our personal favorite baits are the Z-Man Finesse TRD (The Real Deal) Worm and the Roboworm Ned Rig Worm (another proven fish catcher)
  • Some fishermen like to use a Senko stick cut in half to create two baits of a suitable length for Ned Rig Fishing
  • Crawfish and other creature baits are also an option. The Z-Man TRD Craws are the top pick here. This is a crawfish bait that is designed to fished with a ned rig. Its claws poke up seductively off the bottom waving in the current – few bass will resist this lure fished deadstick or with small hops.
  • People we fish with swear by the 10,000 Fish Sukoshi Bug – it’s a similar type of lure and is particularly deadly fished on a Ned Rig.

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Ned Rig Jig Heads

There are two things to note about Ned Rig jigheads.

The first is that they have a flat head (often termed a mushroom head) – it is designed to sit flat on the bottom so the bait, and the hook inside it, pokes straight up to get the bass’ attention. Largemouth bass can rarely resist this type of presentation.

 Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jighead is a great example of a purpose built Ned Rig jighead. It is important with these small jigheads to buy a quality brand such as Z-Man Fishing as you are using finer wire hooks and cheap imitations can fail. Hook quality is really important. Some Ned Rig jigheads these days come with a wire weedguard.

Ned Rig jig heads are on the lighter side – you are talking about a 1/8oz or 1/16oz normally, depending on the current or depth of water you are fishing. Hook sizes are generally 3/0 or smaller.

This great kit from Harmony includes Z-Man TRD jig heads (5) in 1/10oz and worms (8) in one convenient package, complete with a pocket guide to fishing ned rigs.

Ned Rig Rods and Reels

Ned Rigs are a finesse style of fishing, so light spinning gear is ideal. Even ultralight rods and ultralight reels are OK, depending on the proximity to structure (fishing close to snags, pylons and boat docks means you need a bit more power in the rod to stop the bass wrapping you up in this kind of structure).

A 7′ ultralight rod is one of our favorite finesse sticks – the longer the rod, the more movement it imparts when it swings. With this kind of fishing we are trying to avoid big movements so shorter rods are better. 

Deadsticking also makes fish strikes harder to detect, so an ultralight rod spooled with non-stretch braid is a great setup for Ned Rig bass fishing.

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