The Ned Rig: How To Properly Fish It In The Winter

Fishing the ned rig is one of the easiest setups to use, can be tossed on any equipment, and works incredibly well when other rigs don’t. In this post, I’m going to be talking about how to properly fish the ned rig in winter to get the most fish possible.

We’re going to be talking about what the ned rig is, when you should be using it, what colors work best, the equipment you should be using, and the technique you’ll want to use to get the most out of it.

I don’t normally use this rig if I don’t have to because it’s pretty boring, to be honest, but I’ll definitely admit that it flat out works. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to fish the ned rig in winter.


What Is The Ned Rig & When To Use It

The ned rig is a finesse technique that uses a small stick bait (couple of inches) and a mushroom jig. You’re going to slide it on the hook with the hook exposed and since it’s so short it’ll actually stand up on the bottom. There are a number of different brands that make a ned worm but the one I like is the Z-Man TRD (see it on Amazon). Z-Man also makes a mushroom jig head and you can see our favorites here.

It’s quite goofy looking and you’ll probably think it’s not going to work but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. All you have to do is poke the hook through the top and slide it on. You’ll want the ned worm to be perfectly straight on the hook and if you want to secure it even better you can put a little glue on the hook. These baits last a long time so you can use them over and over again.

You’re going to want to use a ned rig when nothing else is working. It works great in colder weather when the fish aren’t moving around much. When things get cold they don’t want to chase food and spend a lot of time sitting. Since this bait is just sitting on the bottom it looks like an easy meal. This is something you can use in late fall or even when the water starts freezing over.

Colors, Setup & Gear

Like a lot of other fishing gear, I like sticking to the basics because it tends to work the best. I like using dark colors when it comes to a ned rig so anything green, red, or black. I also like to keep them as small as possible. There’s a reason we’re using a ned rig and if we need something bigger we can just use a Senko.

When it comes to your gear you’ll want to use the lightest stuff you can get away with. If you’re fishing in shallow water then you can use a lighter weight jig and a lighter rod (medium-light spinning rod). If you’re fishing deeper then you’ll want a heavier jig to sink down quicker and you can use a slightly heavier rod if you want (medium/medium-heavy spinning rod). You can use other types of rods if you want but spinning normally works the best.

If I’m fishing in deeper water I’ll toss on a 1/6 jig head and then I’ll use the lightest one I can find for shallow water. When it comes to the fishing line, I always use a 20 lb braided line with a 6 lb fluorocarbon leader. I like braid because it’s strong, sensitive, and lasts longer. I use the fluoro leader because the fish can’t see it in the water. Anywhere from 3-4 feet of a leader should do but you can always go longer if you want.

How To Fish The Ned Rig Properly

The nice thing about fishing the ned rig is how little work you have to do. It’s a bit boring in my opinion but a lot of people like the idea of not having to do much. Literally all you have to do is cast it out, let it sink down to the bottom, and wait. The longer you can let it sit still on the bottom the better.

You can twitch it or lift it off the bottom every so often if you feel it’s necessary but most of the time you don’t have to. Everywhere is different though so you can always test to see what’s working best that day. The biggest thing though is to just have some patience and wait.

What you’ll want to do is have your hook sitting on the bottom but you’ll want a slight bend in your rod. You don’t want a bunch of slack in your line because you’ll have a tough time feeling the bite. Since it’s sitting on the ground you’ll only feel the bite when the fish takes off with it and that can give it extra time to spit it out.

When you have a bit of tension in your line it’ll be way easier to feel what’s going on at the end of your line. Any little tug you feel is most likely a bite. Give it a hook set and reel him on in. It’s really as simple as that. Chuck your bait out there, let it settle to the bottom, have some patience, and check it every so often.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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