7 Reasons The Ned Rig Sucks

Fellow Angler,

Like most of you I’m pretty set in my ways, however I’ve recently tried a new technique called the Ned Rig.  I can tell you this right now, I’m a die hard drop shot fanatic, so I had my doubts.

When learning the Ned rig I had plenty of failures, so in order to help you out, I’m gonna walk you through my biggest mistakes and how you can overcome them so you can add the Ned Rig to your confidence techniques.

Here in Arizona our waters are really, really clear so it’s been a really HOT technique. After hearing other anglers having success, I decided to try it.

I always thought of it as a super-ultra finesse rig, but that’s not the whole truth…

Project Z: Breaking Down the Bite - Episode 3

Mistake #1 – My Jig Head Was Too Heavy

Initially, I thought that if I put a heavy jig head it would maximize the action. However, this was far from the truth. What my jig actually did was drop straight down to the bottom completely zooming through the strike zone. Like a 1980’s lawn dart set!

How I fixed it: 

I had to adjust the lightest jighead possible. I used the Z-Man Neg Rig jig head keeps the Ned rig bait out of algae, grass, and it resists getting hung up rocks and boulders.

A lighter jig head will also slow down it’s descent, giving it an incredibly effective and tantalizing shimmy that will keep the bait in the strike zone for a longer period of time.

On most days I’ve learned to rely on a 1/10th ounce jig head.  However, if the bass are really shallow (especially great during spawn) I will go even lighter such as Ned Rig jig head in a 1/15oz. In the fall when they are a little deeper I will switch to a heavier jig head 1/8- 1/6 ounce.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake # 2 – Using Hooks That Are Too Big

Initially I used jig heads with hooks that were much larger than what was really needed. I just didn’t know what to buy.  What happened was, the heavy jig hooks actually inhibited the action of the Ned rig presentation and caused me to lose bites.

How I fixed it:

What you need when choosing a Ned rig is a light wire hook in size 1 or size 2. That’s it! Crazy right?

When I actually saw those hooks it reminded me of a small light wire hook made for crappie fishing or panfish fishing when I was a kid.

What I found was, after I cast it out, the Ned rig bait actually performs a slow spiral death fall!  It’s a sight you have to see to truly appreciate. This spiral action is the same action that I’ve seen when shad are dying. Finally, when the bait hits the bottom it will actually orient itself upright.

When I was using a jig head with a larger heavier hook, my baits would not have this type of presentation.

The simple fact is that using a light jig head that’s paired with a short shank light wire hook will completely maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the Ned rig technique.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake #3 – Using The Wrong Style Of Baits

When I first started I was using Senko’s and other heavy soft plastic stick baits.  I was tearing them in half and using them as baits. However, this is a total noob move!

I quickly noticed those stick baits had a tendency to be waaay too stiff. I needed to find something different.

How I fixed it:

After watching, studying, and researching I quickly found out that softness and buoyancy was the key to finding the right bait.

Baits such as Elaztech TRD Worm by Z-Man are perfect for this because they are made out of floating material, and they are incredibly flexible.

Berkley also makes a Berkley Gulp Fat Floating Trout Worm that works incredibly well with this technique.  Don’t let the word “trout” scare you. It’s a dangerous bait to fish the Ned Rig on.

Roboworm makes the Roboworm Alive Shad bait. Now I’m a diehard Roboworm fan. This bait absolutely CRUSHES it on the Ned rig.

Another type of bait where that works really well is Reaper and Leech style baits.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake #4 – Using The Wrong Size Baits

Yep…here is yet another hurdle that I had to overcome, using the wrong size bait. When I initially started to fish the Ned rig I would only clip off the first inch and a half of the stick bait, leaving me with a four-to-five inch bait.  I would use this and would come up empty-handed. Another noob decision… so don’t do it!

How I fixed it:

I can remember one morning I was determined to learn the Ned rig, but I accidentally left my stick baits at home. All I had was a pack of small four inch drop shot worms. I’d figured, heck these are pretty buoyant and they’re super flexible I’m sure they would work…

I thought I had a problem… I was concerned that the worm was way too small. After threading on the jig head, threw it out…

Them BAM!  Holy cow, a 3-pound bass crushed my Ned rig!  It felt like I was fighting Moby Dick because of the light line I was using!  It was so awesome!

At that moment I started to think that I could get used to using the Ned rig.

When I got home, I called a buddy of mine who fishes the Ned rig regularly and he says the only sizes he uses range between 2.5- 4 inches nothing larger.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake #5 – Using The Wrong Gear

Boy did I make a mistake in this section… When I first started to fish the Ned rig I made the error to use my Shaky Head rod, which is a 6’6″, medium action rod thinking it would be perfect for this technique.

How I fixed it:

Like you, I adapt pretty fast. I quickly learned that even though it’s a spinning rod that can be used to cast lightweight shaky heads it was still too stiff.

What I needed to get was at least a 6’10”, medium-light rod with an extra fast tip.  It really needs to be longer and super flexible and “whippy”. Yep, that’s my scientific term for that.

Read More: Best Rod For Ned Fishing [Review Guide]

Anyway, this allows me to cast those very light jigs without worrying about line being tangled upon casting.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

I also had to downsize my reel. Normally I use a 2500-3500 series for my larger soft plastic spinning rigs however, this was still too big. I had to resort to buying a smaller Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel (TALT2000D-XH). It’s a little difficult to find but luckily I found one on Amazon.

One thing that I did get right was I used a mainline that consisted of 12-pound braid tied to a 4-to-6-pound fluorocarbon leader line. This light line combination is great for casting those light size jigs.

Make sure your reel has a drag that is set pretty loose. You don’t want to break the line when you set the hook on that light of a line.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake #6 – Setting Hook Too Dang Hard

When I was starting to learn this technique it’s easy to forget that the small light wire hooks that are required for the Ned rig essentially required no hard hookset. I was used to “setting the hook” with a strong snap up on the rod, but this would break my line!

How I fixed it:

When you get a bite make sure you just reel down to get the slack out of line and then just raise your rod tip up (to approximately the one o’clock position).

The combination of the parabolic bend in the rod and using the no stretch braid-to-fluorocarbon line will not only set that hook for you, but it will also maintain constant pressure on that fish!

One thing I did notice that occurs when fishing a light wire hook is the tip gets pretty dull relatively fast. In order to combat that make sure you have a hook file handy so you can keep that hook point surgically sharp.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

Mistake #7 – Fishing Too Fast!

I know it was difficult for me because I love to power fish. Like many of you I love seeing a bass just annihilate a fast-moving buzzbait , or the feel of another bass just hammer a crankbait deflecting off rocks.

When I first started to learn this I was really apprehensive about this technique because of how slow it has to be fished.

How I fixed it:

What started off as apprehension turned into pure excitement due to the amount of bites you get on this rig.

I’m not joking, you get a ton of bites using the Ned rig!

Another thing that makes this Ned rig so fun is the fight that comes with hooking into a fish. With the line being so thin it makes catching a bass insanely fun.

Photo Cred: Z-Man Fishing TV

What’s The Biggest Reason I Hate The Ned Rig?

I really started off by hating the Ned rig, I thought it was a glorified Shaky Head technique… I thought it was a slow one to two-bite type of technique.

However, I can honestly say that I hate still the Ned Rig… 

Not because it doesn’t work (don’t get me wrong this rig freaking works), but because lately, I’m fishing the Ned Rig more than I do drop shot fishing!  Hahaha!

Listen, fishing the Ned Rig really changed the way I look at finesse fishing and has turned into one of my most go-to confidence techniques when the fish aren’t biting.

I hope you try this and have the same success that I have.


Can you use a pork bait for a Ned Rig?

Sure, just as long the o-ring stays in place. Why not? Give it a try.

What’s the lightest line you’re willing to use for a Neg Rig?

Probably 4-lb test if the water is really clear and I know the bass aren’t very big. Otherwise 6-8-pound test works great

How effective is the Ned Rig in stained water?

Probably just as effective as any other finesse worm technique. It definitely could work, just place the bait next to large structures and upsize your line.

Can you rig a Ned Rig weedless?

Absolutely. Since the hook is exposed by design, you would probably want use a weedless drop shot hook.

What is finesse fishing?

S. Rhett from Quora.com best summed it up, “Usually its using lighter lines, smaller lures, spinners but its to entice the bass to hit out of pure reflex or reaction, and making the fish feed through its natural hunger instincts. It’s a technique, where you can make lures more natural and bass won’t back away. Bass become conditioned to certain things they see repeatedly, and that includes lures. So finesse fishing is about presentation.”

My name is George and I'm been fishing my entire life and love all things outdoors. My passion is helping anyone catch more fish. The newest things I've been doing lately is learning how to break down and clean all my reels, teaching my boy how to kayak fish, and bushcraft wilderness survival.