How to Fish a Ned Rig

Anyone who is proficient in bass fishing has probably heard of the popular “Ned Rig.” Also known as the Midwest Finesse Rig, this simple rig has surged in popularity among anyone looking to land a prize-winning bass. Perfect for tough conditions and pressured waters, this rig is known to excel when the going gets tough. Unlike similar rigs, the Ned Rig offers up a slight profile, subdued action in the water, and can accurately mimic many of the most popular bass food sources.

Despite the overall rise in popularity, few anglers are familiar with what a Ned rig is and how to actually go about doing this set up.

Interested in learning how to fish a Ned Rig? Below, we’ll lay out the basics of where and how to fish a Ned Rig, popular Ned Rig retrieves, and actually rigging the Ned Rig.

How to Rig a Ned Rig Setup

Before we can get into where and how to best use a Ned Rig, let’s focus on the basics of actually rigging. Going about rigging a Ned Rig is where many anglers tend to feel overwhelmed. In reality, setting up the Ned Rig is pretty simple. The Ned rig itself is just a slight chunk of soft plastic stick bait that is then threaded directly onto a light one-fourth or one-sixteenth ounce jighead. In full disclosure, you can use any stick bait you choose, but some may work better than others.

Wondering what’s next? Don’t, that’s it. While you can choose to purchase products specifically designed for the Ned Rig, we’ve found that the above method is all you really need to get started. The concept behind the Ned Rig is that the light jig head will produce a slow gliding fall that prize-worthy bass simply can’t ignore. Once they’ve bitten, the softness of the Ned Rig will make them hold on, keeping you from losing your trophy bass.

In summary, all you need to create a Ned Rig is a light one-sixteenth or one-eight ounce lead jig head, a 5” stick bait, and some thread. Easy like Sunday morning.

Where and How to Fish a Ned Rig 

Now that you’re keen on putting a Ned Rig together, let’s talk about the actual deployment. Where and how do you fish with a Ned Rig? In terms of where to use a Ned Rig, the setup is ideal when you want to catch bass from shorelines, grass beds, docks, shallow reefs, points, or along any flats beyond a bank. Basically, you can fish with a Ned Rig in any hard cover situation as long as you’re losing slackline. If there is a particular spot where bass like to hangout, go with a Ned Rig to give yourself a boost. 

Once you’ve determined where you want to fish for your bass, simply cat out the Ned Rig and let it sink slowly on a nice slackline. Unlike some rigs, you’re going to want to watch the rig fall deeper below. When a fish is nearby, you’ll hear a “tick,” even if you don’t see any actual indication of a fish biting down. If you hear that tick, slowly reel up a bit and move the bait. Odds are, you’ll have a fish on the line.

Fishing with a Ned Rig is easy, but keep in mind that it is best not to set the hook traditionally. The reason? When tiny gaps exist on a hook, they can easily escape a bass’ mouth if you jerk too suddenly. Instead, lean in and start reeling as soon as you feel the bite. This allows the fish to hook themselves on the Ned Rig rather than you attempting to hook the fish. 

Best Ned Rig Retrieves

Swim Glide Retrieve

The swim glide retrieve is arguably one of the best Ned Rig Retrieves you can try. To use this retrieve, start the rod at a two-o’clock position or at a five-o’clock position. Then cast and shake bait while counting down to the desired depth. Aim to fish around six to 12 inches from the bottom. Make two distinct revolutions of the reel, pause, and shake. Repeat as necessary. 

Drag/Dead-Stick Retrieve

Another popular Ned Rig retrieve is the drag/dead stick method. This method is best deployed by an angler who is set up on the back of a boat. With this method, the rod should be placed at three or four o’clock. Once placed, the jig is dragged along the bottom combined with dead-sticking for five seconds. As the boat moves, open reel bail to feed line as needed and pause bait.

Drag and Shake Retrieve

The drag and shake retrieve is similar to the drag/dead stick retrieve. To utilize this Ned Rig retrieve, cast your line at an angle that is ever so slightly behind your boat. Hold the rod at five-o’clock as you watch the jig sink. Then use the reel to slowly move the bait along the bottom. Shake as needed. 

Hop and Bounce Retrieve

Another popular method is the hop and bounce retrieve. For this retrieve, simply cast bait and drop the rod until it is near or touching the water. Then start shaking the lure as it falls to the bottom. Hop the bait with two sift cranks of the reel and the pause. Shake once more until the bait touches the floor. Repeat as necessary for best results! 

Fishing with a Ned Rig

By using these highly recommended retrieval methods and setting up your Ned Rig, you can easily score some prize-winning bass. Don’t be intimidated by having to set up your rig on your own. The rigging process is easy and can be accomplished in under 10 minutes. While there are definitely tools designed to help you make the most of your Ned Rig, our advice is to keep it simple and then use your rig to your advantage. At the end of the day, it isn’t how fancy your rig is, but rather how effective you use the rig to actually reel in some monster bass.


The founder of Catch and Fillet, “Chum Charlie”, has been writing articles within the fishing community for over 9 years. He got his nickname due to his preference for chumming while he is fishing. Chumming is a common practice that is used in the ocean to lure various types of fish to the boat. Chum can consist of various fish parts that attract fish due to its overbearing odor.

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