How to catch bass with lockjaw

When weather conditions turn the bass bite off, the Ned rig can be the answer.

Ned Rig gets bites when conditions turn tough

The coldest month of the year is here, but you still want to go out and catch some bass. The question is: How?

Yeah, you can pitch jigs and, in reservoirs, dredge the depths with deep-diving crankbaits. Maybe even jig a spoon.

But what if you want to catch numbers of bass?

Well, there’s a new little rig that is touted as being the answer.

The Ned Rig by Z-Man Fishing doesn’t look like much, but the company and some high-profile bass anglers say it will trigger bass to bite even in the toughest of conditions.

“It’s just so subtle they can’t resiste it,” FLW Tour pro Jason Meninger said in a Youtube vid about the rig.

The genesis of the entire system came when a bunch of Kentucky anglers started playing with some mushroom jigs and dead-stick baits that were cut to produce small, compact profiles that drove bass nuts.

The rig consists of Finesse Shroomz jigheads and Z-Man’s Finesse TRD soft-plastic lures.

It’s worth noting that the jigheads are specialized, with very small-diameter hooks — so this isn’t a power-fishing deal.

“The biggest thing is using 4- to 8-pound line,” 2006 Bassmaster Classic winner Luke Clausen explained. “I like to use braid with fluorocarbon leaders; some people like straight fluorocarbon, but either way it’s a light rod, a light tip.

“A fairly light rod is the most-important thing with that lighter line.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably tempted to just use a light spinnerbait or crankbait rod you already have set up, but the jigheads are very small — ranging from 1/20 ounce to 1/5 ounce.

So Clausen said getting the most out of the Ned Rig is tied to the correct setup.

“You have a pretty small hook here, so you really don’t want to set that hook that hard when you get a bite,” he said. “It’s a lot of just pulling into the fish, and you need that light rod that has a very parabolic bend to it to fight the fish with that light hook and light line.

“You can work the bait, cast the bait more effectively with the right setup.”

Clausen and other pro anglers are shown using pretty diminutive spinning rigs in a Youtube vid explaining the rig

Once you’ve got the correct rod/reel combo, however, how is it fished.

Well, basically, it’s pretty flexible.

“So one of the most-effective ways to fish the Ned Rig is to fish the bait just off the bottom very slowly,” FLW Tour pro Jason Meninger said. “And then once it hits the bottom, you just start to shake the rod tip a little bit and keep it a steady retrieve.

“What that’s doing is keeping the bait just off the bottom but swimming along the bottom.”

But Meninger said if that approach doesn’t trigger bites, he’ll slow things down.

“So another real effective techniques is what we call kind of a drag and a dead-stick technique,” he said. “Essentially, you throw the bait out (and) you let it sink to the bottom.

“I like to keep the rod tip low, close to the water. You drag it real slowly, and then give it slack line. You’re always wanting to keep the bait on the bottom in contact with the bottom.”

The ElaZtech plastics float, so the lure stands up every time you stop dragging it — offering a tempting meal for any bass around.

And then you can mix the first two approaches.

“Another effective way to fish the Ned Rig is to allow the bait to sink to the bottom and, instead of just reeling it slowly, what you want to do is hop it off the bottom, reel up the slack, pause and let it fall again, and a lot of times those fish will eat it when the bait is falling,” Meninger said.

Each Finesse Shroomz jighead has a welded keeper that holds the tough ElaZtech in place, so you can catch several fish with a single lure.


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