Must Know Ned Rig Retrieves: 3 Reliable Methods
The ned rig is a simple, but immensely effective finesse presentation. Its simplicity however can sometimes leave you stumped as to how to start retrieving it once it has hit the bottom. Here are three effective and reliable ways to retrieve a ned rig.
Slow hopping is probably the best known, “default” way of retrieving a ned rig. It is still one of the most effective methods.
This technique involves slowly lifting and dropping your rod tip to make the bait hop along the bottom. Hopping the bait in this manner mimics a small injured baitfish, crawfish and/or other bottom feeding critters, all of which are easy targets for bass.
Slow hopping seems to work especially well when fish are ‘finicky’ and are looking for something subtle and natural. It is a great way to keep the bait in high percentage areas for extended periods, which is key for catching tricky or lethargic bass. Fishing your bait like this allows you to stay in the “strike zone”, giving bass more time to look at your ned rig. Often, this repeated exposure is exactly what you need to get a fish to bite.
Lift & Drop Method
Anyone who has had consistent success with the ned rig knows that a large percentage of bites take place on the initial fall. The goal of the lift and drop method is to re-create this initial falling action multiple times on the retrieve.
This method involves lifting the rod tip and then dropping it back down, allowing the bait to fall on a semi-slack line, much like it would on the initial fall. Repeating this movement is a fantastic way to cover a large amount of water using one of the most powerful attributes of the ned rig, it's falling action.
I like to use the lift and drop method in situations where I am not fishing a very specific target like a laydown or brush pile, but rather when I am trying to get the most out of a large area of “high percentage” water.
Slow, Steady Retrieve
A simple as it sounds, a slow and steady, straight retrieve can be a very effective way to fish a ned rig. It is also a great way to cover water when fish aren’t taking traditional, more aggressive moving baits like a crankbait or spinnerbait.
This technique is as simple as it sounds. Simply reel the bait at a steady pace, keeping the rod tip low to the water. This creates a subtle, undulating action as the bait moves along the bottom. To vary this up a little, try pausing your retrieve every few winds. The bait stopping is often the cue that causes the fish to bite.
A slow, steady retrieve is often effective in murkier water where more subtle approaches don’t grab enough attention. The vibration and action caused by a more aggressive retrieve like this is a good way to grab attention and get bass to notice your bait.
Don’t Forget to try Different Ned Baits
While trying different retrieves is a key way of picking up patterns and determining what the fish want, you should also be playing around with different bait options. Ultimately you want to mimic what the fish are feeding on, trying different baits is just as important as switching up your retrieves. Here are some great baits to try to mimic different forage.
Z-Man Finesse TRD (All-rounder)
The Z-Man Finesse TRD is incredibly versatile thanks to its simple design. It does a great job of mimicking a wide variety of forage including crawfish and injured baitfish.
Z-Man TRD CrawZ (Crawfish)
When fish are keying in on crawfish its tough to beat the Z-Man TRD CrawZ. Its small profile and lifelike action can be absolutely deadly.
Yum Ned Minnow (Baitfish)
In cases where fish are after baitfish on the bottom, the Yum Ned Minnow is hard to beat thanks a small profile and subtle, lifelike action.
While these are three proven retrieves for the Ned Rig, there are some important things to remember:
- These are not the only ways to retrieve a Ned Rig
- Experimentation is key. These are a set of guidelines that will get you started, but you should always be experimenting with variations of these retrieves. Sometimes a simple change/modification makes all the difference.
There really is no “wrong” way to retrieve a ned rig, but if you are looking for a solid set of starting points, you can’t go wrong with slow hopping, the lift and drop or a steady, slow retrieve. Stay creative and keep trying new things to get the most out of this incredible finesse presentation.