Want to catch 50 plus fish in a day? Well, this technique was created to catch fish by the boat load. The ned rig is a Midwest technique. The Midwest is known for coming up with and utilizing finesse tactics. The rig itself was was named after Ned Kehde. Ned is a humble man who gives more credit to his fellow compeers. He claims that they came up with the tactic in attempts to catch great numbers of fish in a days time. One thing is for certain, this Midwest finesse tactic catches fish by the numbers.
So what makes this technique so effective? It's hard to say, but I believe it's subtle and nonthreatening profile helps. Couple these aspects to the various ways this rig can be fished and you have a deadly technique. It is said that Ned Kehde and his friends developed the system by modifying soft plastic stick baits. One bait in particular that has become popular is a stick bait by Zman. The Midwest anglers cut a 5in stick bait in half and affixed it to a gopher jighead. While these anglers used a plethora of soft plastics the Zman Zinkerz seemed to be one of the most productive when modified. This is partially due to the fact that Zman's baits are made of an extra durable material called elaztech. It's soft but has an elasticity that is arguably unmatched when it comes to soft plastics. This helps when you want a bait that can endure the rigors of catching fish after fish after fish.
Let's fast forward to present day. Today the ned rig is steadily becoming a technique that many anglers are gaining confidence in. From the tournament pro to the weekend bank fisherman the technique has found a following. So much so that Zman created an entire line around the Ned Rig. You will also find that many companies are jumping in the bandwagon and creating finesse worms specifically for the ned rig. Why, because it works. Let me tell you some of my experience with this technique.
A few years ago I was looking for more finesse techniques to learn. As someone who fishes pressured areas I need every edge I can get. I remember a Japanese angler once saying that they have to go ultra finesse to catch fish in overcrowded lakes. They use the lightest tackle that they can get away with because many times they are shoulder to shoulder with other anglers. I've always kept that in mind. So one day when I saw a video by Ned Kehde I was intrigued. He was explaining the ned rig in depth. Of course I did what any did hard angler would do. I went out and purchased all the components he was using on the video. As soon as I could I employed the system and retrievals discussed in the video on my local waters. It didn't take long before I started landing fish. That was only half of it, I was landing fish in notoriously pressured areas.
That brings us to today. What I have learned about this technique is that it works when others don't. I also have a few tips from my own experiences to share. Here are a few tricks with the Ned Rig you might not have tried.
Use a soft plastic other than Zman - This may sound obvious but I assure you some people think it's less effective to use any thing other than Zman TRD's and the like. This is far from the truth. You can modify just about any stick bait on the market and still be effective with this technique.
Think outside the box- Use something other than a stickbait or what's being advertised as ned rig baits. Personally, I have found small crabs and finesse creature baits can be very effective with this system. One of my favorite alternatives is the small keitech crazy flapper on a mushroom head jig.
Get creative and Go custom - Lately I have been taking things a step further. I had some custom baits I had ordered earlier this season. I had ordered some custom 5in bubblegum stickbait. One day I was not having any luck so I borrowed a page from my Midwest brethren. I cut the custom stick bait in half and dipped the tail in spike it. All I can say is it led to the company creating a new finesse line of baits for the ned rig. And I have caught fish on colors I helped come up with. Talk about fun!!!
Do Less to Catch more - Last tip I want give is to do less on the retrieval. In fact at time do nothing. That's dead stick the ned rig sometimes with intermittent super slow steady retrieves and see what happens. It will do something and you will like it.