Ned Rig – The Ultimate Guide

Ned Rig - Guide

A Ned Rig is a popular ultra-finesses fishing presentation that excels in cold water conditions or when the bite gets tough. This technique has quickly become a go-to rig for many anglers and is one of my favorite ways to catch fish.

It’s a simple, versatile and effective rig that catches fish anywhere even in the toughest of conditions.

In this guide we will cover everything you need to know about fishing the Ned Rig including: rigging, best setup, baits, techniques, and some tips and tricks that will help you catch more fish on a Ned rig.

Make sure to check out My Recommended Bass Fishing Gear and Tackle Guide to ensure you have the right gear for your next fishing adventure.

What is the Ned rig?

The Ned rig or the Midwest finesses rig consist of a light mushroom-style jig head paired with a small stick bait. It’s considered an ultra-finesse technique because it’s generally fished on light line and tackle.

It’s well known as being a bass fishing technique, but can also be super effective for other species as well, such as trout and walleye

Ned Rig Setup

As previously mentioned the Ned rig consist of a mushroom-style jig head that is rigged with a worm or some type of soft plastic, typically a stick bait. Anglers have more baits and jigheads to choose from more now than ever before.

With that being said, below we put together some great information about the different styles of jig heads as well as the best Ned rig baits. This information will help make sure you have the proper setup while fishing a ned rig.

Ned Rig Jig Heads

Although some anglers say you can use any kind of jighead for a Ned rig the most popular and most effective in my opinion is going to be the mushroom-style jighead. Here are a few different variations of the mushroom jighead. Each style is designed to excel in different situations.

Standard Mushroom Jighead

The standard mushroom-style jighead is basically a jighead that is shaped like a mushroom and it typically has some type of bait keeper to help the bait stay fastened to the head.

What I like about the mushroom style head is that it allows this bait to roll of rocks and other structure and tends to get hung up less.

Best Standard Ned rig Jighead: Z-Man Finesse Shroomz and Z-Man Ned Lockz HD

Weedless Ned Rig

There are two main types of weedless Ned rig jigheads: those that are equipped with some type of wire weedgaurd and those jigheads that are built with in offset hook.

The wire weedgaurd does a pretty good job at eliminating snags but for a truly weedless set up the jigheads with the offset hook are going to be your best bet.

Best Wire Weedless Jighead: Z-man Finesse Shroomz Weedless Jig Head

Best Offset Weedless Jighead: Venom Lures D-K Weedless Ned Righ Jighead

Skirted Ned Rig

The skirted Ned rig jighead is super similar to the standard jighead with the only difference being is that they gave some more bulk to the presentation by adding a skirt to the jighead.

This can be a great way to mix things up and catch some bigger fish in the right situations.

Best Skirted Ned Rig Jig: Z-Man ShroomZ Micro Finesse Jig

Best Ned Rig Baits

There are a variety of “Ned” baits on the market these todays, but in my opinion there are certain baits that stand out from the crowd. With that being said, I have compiled a list of baits that I have the most confidence in while fishing a Ned rig.

The Best Ned Rig Baits

  1. Original Finesse T.R.D by Z Man
  2. 3” Roboworm Ned Worm
  3. Big TRD
  4. Missile Baits Ned Bomb
  5. Z-Man Hula StickZ
  6. Googan Baits Rattlin Ned
  7. TRD Crawz
  8. TRD Tubez

For me, I want a buoyant bait that stands straight up off the bottom and one that’s durable. When fishing the “Ned” you will get a lot of smaller fish on it as well, so it’s important that your bait holds up after multiple catches. That’s why I really enjoy fishing with the Z-man products. 

The TRD’s and Hula Sticks are tough to beat. The Roboworms and Ned Bomb are also some of my favorite “Ned” baits. They are made from a softer material, which gives them better action but also makes them less durable.

Check out this article for additional information on Ned Rig baits: The 6 Best Ned Rig Baits.

Best Ned Rig Colors

There are also a wide variety of color options available to choose from. I prefer to fish with the more natural colors such as green pumpkins, shad colors, browns, craw patterns etc.. In my experience they seem to outperform other colors especially and clear water and tough conditions.

However, I’ll go with brighter colors or black and blue in situations where the water is stained or murky. Your color choice should always be decided by your body of water and the fishing conditions you are faced with.  

Ned Rig Underwater

Best Ned Rig Rod & Reel

Much like other finesse fishing techniques a spinning rod is going to be an ideal match for this rig. I prefer a medium to medium-light powered spinning rod paired with 10lb braid and 4-8lb fluorocarbon leader.

The braid gives you more sensitivity and the fluorocarbon helps present a more natural presentation. This is an ideal setup for fishing a Ned rig in my opinion. At times I will use straight fluorocarbon as well.

My Favorite Ned Rig Setup:

  • Budget Friendly: Lew’s Mach 1 Spinning Combo
  • Ideal Setup: Lew’s Team Lew’s Custom Black Spinning Combo

How and When to Fish a Ned Rig

The great thing about a Ned rig is its versatility. It’s a simple technique that is easy to fish and is a perfect fit for families or those new to fishing. But it is also a great technique for even the most advanced angler.

It excels in post spawn and tough conditions and will put fish in your boat when you need a bite the most. Whether you are fishing in a tournament or just out with your kids a Ned rig is tough to beat. Here are a few tips on how and when to fish the Ned rig:

How to Fish a Ned Rig

Although some anglers refer to the Ned Rig as a do nothing rig. There a few techniques and retrieves that might help you catch more fish. Each of these approaches can be a great way to entice a fish into striking.

With each being effective in different situations. Feel free to experiment with these retrieves and with experience you will be able to get a feel for yourself when to use each. Below I have listed the retrieves that I use and the approach I take with each one.

The Swim-Glide-Shake

This technique shines when the fish are feeding more aggressively. Try this technique by simply casting your rig out and letting it fall to the bottom, as it falls give it some more action by shaking your rod lightly. Once your bait is on the bottom, simply shake and reel your rig back to you or the boat. You can try different depths depending on where the fish are holding.

The Drag

This retrieve is simple yet effective. I like to think of it as letting the bait do all of the work. In this retrieve, cast your Ned Rig out, once it’s on the bottom place your rod at 3 o’clock and with your rod, slowly drag the bait towards you. You want make sure that you are only reeling in your slack line as you are dragging it with your rod. This is one of my favorite methods for catching finicky bass.

The Deadstick

After launching the bait let it fall to the bottom and simply allow your bait to lie dead for about five seconds. After this you can shake it and work it back in and then dead stick it again by holding your rod still. Rinse, wash and repeat. At times this is by far the most effective way to fish a Ned rig.

The Hop-and-Bounce

This retrieving method is much like the drag technique. After your cast, hold your rod to about the five-o’clock position. Once your bait has fallen to the bottom, hop it by turning your reel handle twice, and then pause, Allow the lure to fall back while shaking the rod. Repeat this cadence throughout your retrieve.

The Straight Swim

No need for too much detail for this retrieve. Cast your rig out and hold your rod at 2- to 5-o’clock and slowly turn the reel handle at a moderate speed. You can also improve your probably for success by adding some shakes and pauses as your work the bait in. I don’t use this method as much but there are times when it can be a key player and catch more fish.

When to Fish a Ned Rig

The Ned rig is a versatile technique that can really shine just about anywhere. It can be used to fish specific targets such as points, and docks, or it can be worked along the bank. Below we have listed out some of the best areas to fish a Ned rig.

Best Places to Fish a Ned rig

  • Clear Water
  • Points
  • Riprap
  • Grass Beds
  • River & Creeks
  • In Current
  • Docks
  • Rock piles

For some more Ned Rig fishing insights, go check out this article by Brian Latimer a professional bass fishing angler on how he approaches fishing a Ned Rig.

Ned rig Vs. Shaky Head

At first glance the Ned Rig and Shaky Head Rig can seem super similar. They are both a finesse technique that is fished on jighead and are typically paired with some type of soft plastic worm.

However, at least for me these two rigs are completely different. It comes down to the size and style of the bait that is being used.

The Ned rig baits are going to be smaller baits like the finesse TRD by Zman. In contrast the Shaky Head baits are going be longer and have a bigger profile.

Ned rig for Walleye

Although the Ned rig is thought of as mainly a bass fishing technique it also works great when targeting other species. Don’t sleep on the Ned rig for walleye. This can be a super effective way to catch eyes. Fish the lightest jig head possible and fish it slow, the walleye won’t be able to resist.

Ned rig for Trout

The Ned rig is a great way to catch trout as well. I discovered this fishing in a bass tournament at a mountain reservoir in Utah a few year ago. I couldn’t keep them of the Ned Rig. For more in-depth information about catching trout on a Ned rig, check out our article: Does the Ned Rig Work for Trout?  For some more great information.

Final Thoughts

The Ned rig is an all-around great finesse fishing technique that will get you bites in tough conditions. It is also a great bait for families and new anglers that are new to the sport or when you just need a bite in a tournament.

Whatever the reason may be you can’t go wrong fishing a Ned rig. I hope you have found this information to be insightful and that you apply what you have learned the next time you hit the water. Don’t forget to check out our other great fishing articles here on

Tight Lines!

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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