EXPLODING in the US, the Ned rig is basically a stand-up presentation built around a mushroom-style jig head and a buoyant soft plastic, meaning in the water the plastic is either fleeing on the retrieve or rapidly standing up in a claws-up ‘defensive’ pose or tail-up ‘feeding’ pose on the pause.
On the pause, the buoyant plastic moves around naturally with any water movement. Effectively, this gives you a presentation that is working for you throughout the entire retrieve, both attracting fish to the lure and triggering strikes. In Australia, the Ned rig has already proven dynamite on bream, grunter, flathead, trevally, sweetlip and snapper, to name a few.
The TT Lures NedlockZ jig head is a mushroom head designed specifically for fishing the Ned rig and it is available in a range of weights and colours to cover a variety of applications. I utilise the 1/15oz for shallow mangrove edges, flats, drains and pontoons in shallow water.
The 1/10oz is a good all-rounder that allows increased casting distance and is ideal for fishing water up to a couple of metres deep, while the 1/6oz and 1/5oz come into play when fishing deeper structure and channel edges, especially when there is more current. I team the NedlockZ with a 10X Tough Z-Man soft plastic because these plastics are naturally buoyant, producing the rapid stand-up action key to the Ned rig’s success.
The two main plastics I fish are the Z-Man 2.5” TRD CrawZ and 2.75” TRD BugZ, both of which make excellent crab, yabby and crustacean-style presentations. I then fish them accordingly to match the hatch, hopping, dragging and twitching them around mangrove edges, broken weed beds, rubble patches, drop-offs and drains.
A couple of winning combinations are the Orange NedlockZ and Greasy Prawn coloured plastic as a yabby imitation across the yabby beds, as well as the Orange NedlockZ teamed with a Drew’s Craw or The Deal coloured plastic when fishing mangrove creeks where the banks are lined with fiddler crabs, which are natural/dark crabs with a bright orange claw. Cast this combination tight to the edge, allow it to fall to the bottom, and if it doesn’t get eaten on the drop, hop it away from the edge.
I also fish another combination I refer to as the ‘swimming Ned rig’, which is basically a NedlockZ teamed with a Z-Man 2.5” GrubZ or Slim SwimZ – so a plastic with more tail action. This allows me to slow roll (slow wind) over larger expanses of flats in search of fish while still having the ability to stall the retrieve and utilise the rapid stand-up of the Ned rig.
This is perfect for covering water until you come across a sand patch, rubble or other structure that you wish to fish more thoroughly using standard Ned rig retrieves. This is basically a soft plastic finesse fishing technique, so I stick with a 7’, 1-3kg or 2-4kg spin rod and 20-30 size reel loaded with 6-10lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
If targeting finicky feeders in clear water, you may wish to decrease your leader weight, however where I mainly fish the water is quite murky and I have found big flathead love to inhale the Ned rig, so I like the security 10lb leader provides. If you’re keen to try a new technique in the areas you fish, check out the Ned rig and show the fish something completely different when they decide not to bite.
See you on the water…