The Tiny Child Rig: The True Weedless Ned Rig
If you are like me, you like getting a lot of bites, and finesse fishing techniques are a great way to do that. Lakes are becoming increasingly pressured, making fish finnicky and tough to catch. Small profile, subtle presentations are the best way around this and one of the best ones out there is the Ned Rig. The Ned Rig has made some serious waves in the bass fishing world in recent years due to its fish catching ability, problem is though, it isn’t weedless and it gets snagged. A lot. Introducing the Tiny Child Rig, a technique to get that classic Ned Rig action without the annoying snags.
What is the Tiny Child Rig?
The Tiny Child Rig is a weedless version of the Ned Rig, plain and simple. It is not a Ned Rig fished one one of those Ned Heads with a weed guard though, it is a genuinely weedless version of the presentation with the hook tucked into the bait itself.
The beauty of The Tiny Child Rig is that you get the incredibly effective fish catching ability of the Ned Rig without getting stuck on absolutely every bit of vegetation and structure in the water. I have included a picture of a fully set up Tiny Child Rig below:
Terminal Tackle for The Tiny Child Rig
The terminal setup for the Tiny Child Rig is a little unusual as it requires inserting a weight into the bait itself rather than having it be attached to the line. For anyone used to fishing other presentations that require screw-in weights, such as the Neko Rig, this concept will be nothing new.
You will need four components for setting up the rig itself:
1 - Light Wire Hook
You want a small, light wire hook for this technique for two reasons:
1 - You will be fishing this presentation on a light spinning setup with light line so you need something that will get you a solid hook set without too much force.
2 - You will be using an Elaztech soft plastic that floats. The un-weighted part of the bait floating is exactly what makes the Ned Rig so effective so you want to achieve the same thing with the Tiny Child Rig. A light wire hook ensures that the top half of the bait is not weighted down, enabling it to float and maintain the classic Ned Rig action.
I personally use the Gamakatsu G-Finesse Worm Light Wire Hook for the Tiny Child Rig as it is sharp and very light, enabling great hook sets on light tackle as well as fantastic action on the bait itself. It also has a tin keeper to help keep the bait in place.
Size wise, stay small, anything from size 2 up to 1/0 will do the trick.
2 - A Ned Style Bait
Any Ned style, small profile bait is effective on the Ned Rig. In my opinion, it is always best to go with something naturally buoyant to get the classic, tail up action. Two of the most popular out there are the Z-Man Finesse TRD and the Z-Man TicklerZ. Both of these have tiny profiles and are great crawfish imitators.
3 - A Screw-in or Nail Weight
Because you are not getting weight from a Ned Head, as you would with a traditional Ned Rig, you need to place weight into the bottom of the bait itself. To do this you need some sort of screw-in or nail weight.
I use the Z-Man Neko Shroomz Wacky Rig Nose Weight to achieve this. Another good alternative is the VMC Neko Weight. In terms of weight size, use the lightest you can get away with while still being able to make contact with the bottom of the lake effectively. In general, a 1/10oz or 1/6oz are ideal.
4 - Super Glue
Yes you read right, super glue. The weights mentioned above are pretty pricey so you are going to want to make sure they don’t fall out. Putting a little super glue on them before placing them into the bait will save you some weight, and some money.
Any brand/type will do as long as it is quick-drying and waterproof.
How to Set it Up
Setting the Tiny Child Rig up will take you a little longer than it would for most rigs, but it is actually a pretty simple process once you understand how it all works.
Place your bait on your hook, positioning it Texas-Style with the point of the hook embedded in the bait.
Place a small bit of super glue on your weight of choice.
Insert your weight into the bottom of the bait, ensuring it is screwed all the way in. This part required a little bit of patience as Z-Man Elaztech is tough and difficult to penetrate. Perseverance will pay off though, trust me!
And there we have it, a ready-to-go Tiny Child Rig!
Rod, Reel and Line
As with all finesse techniques, the rod, reel and line you choose play a big role in the overall effectiveness of the presentation.
Medium Power Spinning Rod
Because you will be using a light-wire hook and light line (which we will speak about below), you want a rod that has a little bit of give so you don’t rip the hook out of the fishes mouth when you strike. Any spinning rod with medium power is great.
I like the Shimano Convergence (Medium Fast) for this presentation.
A Spinning Reel
It goes without saying that you will be using a spinning reel for this technique. Again, any spinning reel will do. I personally use a Shimano Stradic FL.
Straight Fluorocarbon or Braid to Fluorocarbon Leader
This is a topic of much debate and depending on who you ask, the optimal line choice for the Ned Rig is different. I lean towards straight 6-8lb fluorocarbon because I feel like this option causes the least commotion in the water, provides maximum stealth and thus gets the most bites possible from finnicky fish. I use Seaguar Invizx as it is strong, virtually invisible underwater and supple by fluorocarbon standards, making it easy to manage on a spinning reel as a main line.
The alternative to the above is to use braid (12lb - 15lb) to a fluorocarbon leader (8lb). There are plenty of anglers who swear by this approach so at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
I avoided fishing the Ned Rig for years because I just could not deal with the frustration caused by constant snags and losing expensive tackle on a regular basis. Discovering the Tiny Child Rig changed the game for me as it enabled me to realize the benefits of the Ned rig without the constant snags. Give it a go, you won’t regret it!