NEW NAME FOR OLD RIG
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
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