Henry Gilbey
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Could the Ned rig and variations on it have certain applications for bass fishing? (cabin fever = bouncing brain syndrome)

In some ways I am ashamed at how little I know about freshwater lure fishing, but for many years now saltwater fishing has seriously been my thing and I guess we are what we are but that’s no excuse for not keeping eyes and ears firmly open. I am aware that lure fishing within freshwater fishing here in the UK seems to be growing rapidly, with those stunning perch being a very important species in all of this - and then a guy I know asked me the other day whether I had ever thought about using the Ned rig for any of my bass fishing……………

Excuse my ignorance I said, and I went and had a look on Google and YouTube and gave myself a quick crash course in the Ned rig and how freshwater anglers tend to fish it. My basic understanding is that it’s used primarily over in the US for their freshwater bass fishing especially, and then here in the UK primarily for perch. Do you know what the Ned rig is? Have a look at the video above. Very simple - which I like - and it seems to rely on specific soft plastics which are inherently buoyant (Z-Man especially) and therefore stand up essentially straight when rigged on a jig head. I would never go wrasse fishing without at least a few packets of certain Z-Man soft plastics (and especially these ones here) but for some reason I simply haven’t given them enough of a go for my bass fishing. I know they are trickier to rig and you can’t mix them with other soft plastics (store them in their original packets), but a few sessions in with them and if they work then those “issues” simply become a natural part of using them. I can attest to how they stand up to wrasse fishing that these Z-Man lures are almost ridiculously durable!

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And tell me that the ideas behind it don’t at least get you thinking about something like this for a few specific bass fishing situations. You have to bear in mind that this blog post could partly be a serious case of cabin fever, but for example I’m thinking about those early morning sessions on a surf beach where only a gentle to medium wave is rolling in. We’ve had some fun around here on DoLive Sticks and light rods when conditions are like this, but I wonder how it might work to be able to essentially “hold” a soft plastic out there and very slowly shake it or work it along or just off the bottom? Sandeels are looking to bury themselves back in the sand as it gets light and I can almost visualise my Ned rig or variation on it looking like a sandeel or even a lugworm sitting tail-up on the bottom. Surely the gentle waves are going to work the lure almost on its own as well?

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And so on. How about night fishing with this kind of approach? A terrified sandeel trying to burrow back into the sand before it gets munched by a bass? Look at the Z-Man Hula StickZ above and imagine that sitting bolt upright and “shaking” away - it’s designed to be rigged on the Z-Man Power Finesse Shroomz jig head as per below. The bulk of my night fishing is done when it’s calmish to very calm and I wonder if in certain places this Ned rig sort of approach might work? I think of those times when I’d bump something like a MegaBass XLayer down a run of current and I wonder if a soft plastic that properly stands up as it bounces might do even better?

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I have had a good look at the Z-Man Ned rig offerings and I have put a bunch of links in this blog post to Lure Lounge, the UK people who import and distribute Z-Man from the USA into the UK (please note that these are not affiliate links but that matters not one bit and if they prove interesting or helpful then that’s cool). Now the one thing that strikes me straight away is that we are talking about what is a finesse style of lure fishing - the jig heads are not particularly big or heavy, and neither are the lures. I don’t see a problem for lighter bass lure rods and gentler conditions when a heavier approach is really not needed and I can’t help but wonder whether such a finesse way of lure fishing might prove useful in tough bass conditions (bright, calm etc.) - but what if you want to try bass fishing Ned rig style but you need more weight, bigger/stronger hooks, and larger lures for more regular conditions?

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I went rooting around a box I have here because I knew I had bought some a couple of years ago - “Cheburashka” weights, or as per the Spro “Bottom Jig” ones above. I have had a couple of bass using these things to bump my senko “alternative to an XLayer” (rigged on a weedless hook) down a bit of current, but then I got to thinking about a bigger, saltwater alternative to a Ned rig. I rooted around the same box and dug out a packet of the Z-Man Grass KickerZ 5’’ paddletail, rigged the lure on a regular 5/0 weedless hook I think it is (the Z-Man lure needs that “kink” just behind the eye of the hook to sit on, because they do not work on a hitchhiker), and clipped it onto an 18g+ Cheburashka weight. I can see Spro ones up to 21g here, but you can find heavier ones if you go looking on Ebay - here for example.

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Now I haven’t fished this combination above yet, but I did drop it into a bucket of water and the Z-Man Grass KickerZ sits bolt upright. My go-to lure for bumping paddletails along the bottom has been the killer Fiiish Black Minnow for a few years now and I trust it implicitly, but with it being cabin fever time I have got to wondering if having the ability to “hold” a decent sized soft plastic in some bouncier conditions or further out than one of those small Ned rig jig heads could reach might prove useful sometimes.

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I am also wondering whether the Z-Man Big TRD as per the screenshot above and the video below could be a killer alternative to the XLayer and other such soft plastics - my next step is to see if I can get a rattle into the tail of this Z-Man Big TRD. To be honest I don’t know if or how any of this stuff might work for bass yet, but because this blog is the contents of my fishing head I thought it would be interesting to share my current thoughts with you - please leave me a comment if you have any thoughts or practical experience with this. You all have a good weekend and I’m off to swim a bunch of lures in my bath………………..

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