Ned Rig Finesse Fishing:
Over the years, anglers have been asking fishing publications and websites, as well as manufacturers such as Z-Man, to offer tips and advice on the baits Midwest finesse anglers use and how and when to use them. So we’ve taken the liberty to design a dedicated page that offers tricks of the trade for the Midwest finesse style of fishing, also known as the “Ned Rig”.
A modification of techniques pioneered by angling icons like Chuck Woods, Guido Hibdon, and Charlie Brewer, the Ned Rig was conceived and brought to mainstream attention by Ned Kehde, anavid angler and veteran fishing industry writer from Lawrence, Kansas.
Kehde’s small jighead and plastic combo may look unassuming on the surface, but its slow fall and darting action are astonishing, almost always eliciting strikes in even the toughest conditions.
With the introduction of the new Finesse T.R.D.™ stickbait and Finesse ShroomZ™ jigheads—along with Midwest finesse staples like the Finesse WormZ™, Hula StickZ™, Finesse ShadZ™, and 3.75″ StreakZ™ —anglers now have all the tools needed to employ the Ned Rig right at their fingertips.
Midwest finesse anglers, like Dave Reeves of Lansing, Kansas and Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri, have been creating helpful videos showing how to effectively rig and fish ElaZtech® finesse baits on small jigs to catch scores of fish when other methods fail to produce.
Their contributions and instructional videos have prompted numerous anglers in the Ozarks to begin using the Ned Rig with great success.
On some days even a live bait can’t equal the appeal of a soft, buoyant ElaZtech® bait on a small jighead.
“Even for a novice or someone accustomed to using live bait on a jighead, it’s an easy-to-fish bait that also eliminates pinfish and other nuisance biters. Admittedly, you’ll often catch smaller species, but you certainly won’t lack action.
“The buoyant nature of ElaZtech and the mushroom-shaped jighead make the bait pivot and float tail-up off the bottom when you stop your retrieve,” says Richardson. “These baits are the perfect match for so many of the small creatures eaten by predators. The upright posture of a TRD on a jighead shows fish a lively morsel that moves with the slightest underwater current—even when you’re not moving your rod at all.”
Fishing the Ned Rig is all about keeping the bait close to the bottom, letting its buoyancy and soft, active composition do the heavy lifting. “The best presentation I’ve found is to let the bait sink to bottom and then shake the rodtip to make it quiver. Give the jig a 6- to 12-inch pull, pause and then reel slack and repeat. You’re making the back of the bait quiver; when you stop, the bait pivots and goes tail-up. With a bait like the TRD TicklerZ or TRD CrawZ, you’ve also got little appendages that undulate subtly in the current. The bait never really stops working for you.”
Even while fishing high-pressure zones , the Ned remains a non-threatening presentation to which fish react positively. “What’s also cool is you can sight fish for really spooky fish up on clear shallow flats because the bait touches down with such a small, compact signature.”
To fish the Ned on featureless flats, in depressions on flats and bends in creeks with deep holes, Richardson rigs one of the aforementioned Z-Man TRD baits on a 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jighead. He spools with 6-pound test braid and a 50-inch leader of 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon. Wielding a medium-light to light action 7-foot spinning rod, he can cast a light jig close to 30 yards.
For fishing around heavy cover or docks, Richardson switches to abrasion resistant monofilament line and a Pro ShroomZ™ Weedless jighead.
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