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By Capt. Dickie Colburn
For The Record 



Last updated 7/28/2020 at 11:13am

Larry Roman held up a hand-sized goggle eye for me to admire before

slipping it in his livewell.“If I didn’t know better I would think we

were just fishing a four-inch piece of worm on a sixteenth ounce jig,”

he announced in a sarcastic tone.

The basis of his tongue-in-cheek comment was that we were fishing what

is now officially termed a Ned rig and we were fishing it in fresh

water.More precisely, the water would probably lean more toward brackish

than fresh depending on run off and strength of incoming tides.

Due to thunderstorms that had already forced us back to the launch twice

that morning, we decided to stay in Cow Bayou rather than chance the

longer run to Sabine Lake. Recent afternoon thunderstorms have been

laced with some pretty serious lightning and I am not nearly as mad at

the fish as I once was!

Back to the “Ned” rig.First of all, while the lure was officially named

by a finesse fisherman in the mid-west, it is nothing new to local

fishermen that have spent any time at all bouncing between the lake and

bayous or river on any given day.

Since as far back as 1960 I thought I was fishing with a jig head and

plastic tail.We fished different weights and types of tails for

everything from small trout to bass, but we never referred to the lure

as anything other than a jig.

I haven’t tried the Ned rig on either of the impoundments, but it is

apparently saving the day when the bass grow a little finicky.I think it

is a little more versatile than a drop shot rig and sinks a little

faster than a Wacky worm, but it is finesse fishing nonetheless.In fact,

it is much more akin to fishing a three or four inch tube jig and I

would still be hard pressed to fish it ahead of the tube!

If you have ever chased trout and still have a few jigs and tails in

your favorite colors, there is no need to rush out and purchase any

additional tackle in order to try this technique.The only change

necessary to fish it more effectively is to drop down to a 1/16h or

1/8^th ounce head.

Because we were fishing out of Larry’s boat, he was armed with the

components recommended for assembling the Ned rig, but I had mistakenly

thought we would spend the day on the Louisiana shoreline trying to fool

a few redfish or flounder as well as trout.The price I paid for that

miscalculation was that my arsenal consisted of a one gallon Ziploc bag

filled with jig heads, tails and a few Swim baits.

We would, however, soon discover that having the parts recommended for

assembling a Ned rig provided no advantage.After clipping a little lead

off the head of an eighth ounce jig and an inch of plastic off the head

of a purple-chartreuse Lil John, I was in business.

By the time we called it a day, I had caught and released our only four

reds and boxed far more fat goggle-eyes than Larry.He probably caught a

few more bass, but not enough to make me ask for the real Ned rig or a

different color!

Because the rig fishes so much better on a lighter head it is much

easier fished on a spinning rod than even a light action casting rod.A

stiff wind that adds to the difficulty most days also makes the spinning

rod a more fisherman-friendly option.

I fished it on a medium light 7-foot spinning rod with a Stradic 2500

reel filled with 15 pound braid.The lure was tied on a loop knot at the

end of four feet of eight-pound monofilament.Not unlike a tube, the Ned

rig fishes through standing grass better than you would expect.On this

particular day, most of the bites occurred as soon as the lure cleared

the thicker grass.

I don’t know if anything other than a straight tail grub works, but I

found no other reason to try anything else.It’s yet another good reason

for saving those worms that are too torn up to Texas rig.

If you are not too discriminating as to what you catch….give the Ned rig

a shot!


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