Ned Rigging Tips For BeginnersBy Katherine Field - November 10, 2020
The Ned Rig utilizes a very lightweight jig head and small soft plastic stick bait, paired with a lightweight rod and line combination. The key to success ultimately comes down to the four simple things: proper lightweight gear, allowing your bait to free fall, slowing down the movement of your bait on the bottom and resisting the urge to set a hard hookset on a fish. The hooks used in this technique are small, fine-wire hooks. Having a heavy hookset, as you might with a large 5/0 hook, will result in you pulling the hook out of the fish's mouth when Ned Rigging. It takes practice to let the fish essentially hook itself with that fine-wire hook; all you will need to focus on is keeping a tight line and your drag managed.
The first step to Ned Rigging is having a rod and line combination that will support using very lightweight jig heads. Start with a 7' to 7'4" medium light, fast action rod paired with very light fluorocarbon; as light as 6lb test, but no more than 10lb test. The jig heads you will be using are typically 1/32 to 1/15 oz jig heads. 10lb test or higher can make it difficult to cast out such light jig heads and the fall of the bait is key in this technique. If you like to work with braid to a fluorocarbon leader, 20lb braid to a 7 to 8lb leader is an ideal combination and will get that natural fall action you are looking for.
Z-man produces some of the best jig heads and Ned Rig soft plastics on the market. The Finesse Shroomz or the Nedlockz HD are made to be paired with the Finesse TRD, TRD Crawz and other Elaztech baits by Zman. The jigheads both sport a keeper for your bait and are designed to support the floating action of the Elaztech Ned Rig baits. The 1/15 oz weight is perfect for a variety of conditions, including cover and a slight current. Remember, lighter is better in this technique; you want the slowest fall you can get away with.
Typically, you will not get a huge, smashing strike on this bait. Often you will lift the tip of your rod and feel a heaviness on the other end. This is where the last technique comes into play when Ned Rigging: Do NOT do a giant hookset on the fish. You are using extremely light line; the fine-wire hooks will have the fish hooking itself. You just need to keep pressure on the line and keep that fish pinned. When you feel that weight, pull up to apply pressure and just start reeling. If the fish runs, play your drag enough to keep that line tight and hang on!