Aug 06 , 2019
Jig & Plastic Finesse Tricks for Big Bass
Finesse plastics rigged on jig heads are a hot trend in bass fishing. Take, for example, the skyrocketing popularity of the Ned rig, or using thin profiled minnows and swimbaits on jigs. Whether you want to tease a giant, shallow-water smallmouth into having a snack, or simply go out and catch any size or species of bass until your arms get sore, a small and natural plastic on a jig will deliver the goods in waterbodies with decent visibility. What follows are three trending finesse tactics on the bass fishing scene.
The Ned Rig
October 12, 2016, was a fateful day for Kansas outdoor writer, Ned Kehde. He cut a 5-inch Strike King Zero stickbait in half and rigged it on a 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig with a No. 4 hook. He gave the other half of the bait to his fishing partner and the two of them proceeded to catch 109 largemouth bass, two wipers (a white-bass-striper hybrid), one walleye, and one channel catfish within four hours. With that, the Ned rig was born. "From that day on the 2-1/2-inch Zero and now the 2-1/2-inch ZinkerZ... have become an integral part of Midwest finesse," Kehde said.
While created over a decade ago, the Ned rig is one of the hottest baits in bass fishing. It is part of the history of Midwest finesse presentations that goes all the way back to the 1950s and bass finesse forefather. Chuck Woods of Kansas City who created baits like the Creme worm, Beetle, and Puddle Jumper.
What's exciting is how effective the Ned rig is at catching all types of bass from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. the rig also fools more than just bass; I've hooked dozens of quality black crappie and walleye on bass-focused outings on Z-Man's 2.75-inch Finesse TRD, which is specifically designed for the Ned rig.
More, over the last several seasons no other bait holds a candle to the fun and steady action my friends, family, and I have had fishing the Ned rig. If you haven't fished it, you've got to start this season.
As Kehde typically fishing shallow, he frequently uses 1/32-, 1/16-, and 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle jigs. I like Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jigs and VMC's Finesse Half Moon jig.
The Ned rig performs best in shallow water, but it can be effective in mid-depth spots in certain scenarios. We are also seeing the tactic evolve as more anglers use heavier jigs to fish the Ned Rig in deeper water. A testament to presentation's versatility.
Kehde uses a 6', medium spinning rod for shallow, finesse tactics, although he's also fond of 5'6". A short rod moves the Ned rig less than a longer rod. This is something to keep in mind for those preferring rods in the 6'6" to 7' range.
Whatever the rod, pair it with a reel with a smooth drag. Kehde uses 6-8-, and 10-pound braided line paired with a 4- to 5-foot fluorocarbon leader between 5- to 12-pound. "The size of the line depends on water clarity, zebra mussels, if I want the bait to glide rather than fall quickly, the wind, casting distance, etc.," Kehde said.
Where & How to fish the Ned rig
The Ned rig catches bass from shorelines, points, grass beds, docs, along with shallow reefs and flats beyond the bank. There are many ways to fish the rig, but before getting there, it's important to understand that finesse tactics often involve a no-feel presentation.
"We don't want to feel what that bait's doing." Kehde said. "After we use it a lot, we kind of intuitively know what the bait's doing, but we can't really prove it... I imagine that more than 75-percent of our strikes we don't feel. These fish are catching us rather than us catching them."
As an outdoor journalist, Kehde's written thousands of words describing six different finesse retrieves. Consider what is below as a cheat sheet of the basic ingredients for each.
1. Swim glide & shake: Rod at two-o'clock position, or at five o'clock to prevent wind from blowing the line. Cast and shake bait while counting it down to desired depth with the aim to fish six to 12 inches off bottom. Make two revolutions of the reel, pause for one to two seconds (more if working a steep slope), and shake. Repeat.
2. Hop & bounce: Cast bait and drop rod till near or touching the water. Shake lure while it falls to bottom. hop bait with two cranks of reel. Pause. Shake until bait touches floor. Repeat.
3. Drag & shake: Cas at an angle slightly behind the boat. Hold rod at fice-o'clok as jig sinks. Use reel to slowly move bait along the bottom. Shake.
4. Straight swim: A do-nothing technique. Keep rod still and slowly turn the reel to swim jig along bottom, or higher for suspended fish.
5. Drag & deadstick: Typically used by angler in back of the boat. Rod at three- or four-o'clock. Drag jig along bottom, combined with deadsticking it for up to five seconds. Open reel bail to feed line as needed to pause bait when boat's moving.
6. Stroll: Similar to drag and shake. Cast behind the boat. Let jig reach bottom. Use trolling motor, win, and drift sock to achieve a slow pace as the jig drags bottom. Shake as desired.
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Source: Just Fishing with "Big Jim McLaughlin
Author: Tim Allard