As a bass fishing guide that predominantly fishes deep clear lakes, it is important to have a bait that can catch fish no matter who is throwing it on the other end. Over the last few years, a ultra-finesse setup birthed in Midwest, has gained momentum among recreational and tournament anglers alike. It wasn’t long ago when this setup was known only by those in Ned Kehde’s inner circle but today, you would be hard-pressed to find a serious bass angler who didn’t have some variation of the Ned Rig on-hand. Z-Man fishing products is the company that partnered with Ned to bring the finesse rig to main stream fishing. And thankful we are. If you want something your kids can catch their first fish on, a bait that entices even the most lethargic of fish to bite, yet has the same chance to boat a 5 pound largemouth, look no further than this simple straight forward setup. As with every popular bait in fishing, there are 10 different companies selling their own version that is better than the other. Let’s be real. Normally I would agree, the baits are all pretty much the same but not this time. Besides having the actual guy the setup is named for on your team, Z Man has something everyone else does not that in my mind is the key to the entire rig. ElaZtech.
The Ned rig, midwest rig, shroom jig, or whatever you want to call it that particular day is composed of two simple things; a light small wire jighead(1/10,1/15,1/20) and a stickbait(or half of one). In the past I would use a torn senko that was laying in the bottom of the boat as the worm for my ned rig but those days are done. After experimenting and letting one client use a Z-Man TRD worm while the other used half of a Yamamoto Senko, I will never throw a Ned Rig with anything other than the Z-Man ElaZtech. Let me be clear that Z Man is not giving me anything to write this nor will they probably have read it but their TRD worm is the key to the rig. I have no idea what they use in their ElaZtach but it is the most buoyant and durable soft plastic worm I have ever used. When that jig head is bouncing off rocks or slow rolling the bottom, the tail of the worm is sticking up 99% of the time which is exactly what we are looking for. No joke I have caught over 20 fish on one of these worms without having to switch it out. Give it a shot and see for yourself why this rig is the number one way users of Fatsack have caught fish this year.
Where to Throw
The spawn is over, the fish are going deep, and summertime patterns are here. The Ned rig can be fished just about anywhere, anytime but right now most of my success has come from humps with rock on them that are around 20’ deep. Similar to a jig or shakey head, I fish it slow, really trying to feel the bottom composition in search of rocks for my ElaZtech to dance on. Usually starting out more like a carolina rig, slowing dragging the jig head across the bottom but experimenting by shaking it in place when I feel rocks, or hopping it up and down like a jig.
This is what I tell my clients that are wanting to learn how and where to catch fish, especially on the Savannah River chain of lakes; pick up a Ned Rig and look for Docks, Rocks, and Points. When all else fails and you have no clue, pick up a worm and find the closest of these three structures. If you find all three in one spot, spend a little time there.
As for color, on lakes that have a fair population of spotted bass, I go with something that has chartreuse in it. For some reason it drives those spots wild. If you don’t want an entire pack with Chartreuse, try getting a chartreuse pen or dye so you can paint individual worms.