What is the Neko Rig?

When it comes to bass fishing, there are so many ways to catch fish. There are so many lures, rods, reels, lines, hooks etc. and the list goes on. We could discuss boats, vehicles to pull those boats and then add in all the electronics. The list goes on and on. Anyone who truly knows me knows that Al Lindner has always been my hero. I have learned so much from him and his family, his faith and his passion for life. With that being said, Al always says to “keep it simple.” As I have gotten older and been blessed with the opportunity to fish for many different species in many different locations, it has become evident to me that most of my productive days have come when I got back to the basics of what fish do.

Master the basics

In my opinion, fish do three things: swim, eat and make little fish. As anglers, if we are to have a successful day, we need to figure out what fish want. We need to put the odds in our favor. A question I get asked a lot is, “what determines your lure choice?” This is a fantastic question. Water clarity is usually where I start. Then a host of other factors come in—time of year, water temperature and what I’ll be fishing. Here is where I’m going to tell you about the Neko rig and when I use it.

I don’t like the term “finesse fishing.” I feel it gets overused. The reason I choose lighter line and smaller lures in some cases is due to water clarity. The Neko rig is an evolution of the wacky worm. The wacky worm is hooked in the middle of, usually, a “stick” type of worm. For the Neko rig, a small, light, weight is added to the thick, end part of the stick worm. The Neko Hook—which is an exceptional hook made by VMC—is hooked though the worm so it’s vertical with the worm. The worm I have been using is the Bang StickZ from Z-Man.

As with all Z-Man plastics, the Bang StickZ is made from ElaZtech. It’s more durable than any other plastic currently produced. It’s softer, extremely buoyant and flat out looks more realistic than anything I have ever fished. The Neko rig sinks slowly on almost a glide with the nose of the lure making the presentation stand straight off the bottom. Its profile could be anything and everything a bass likes to eat. The Bang StickZ has small tentacles on the back end, the slender profile of a stickbait and action at the slightest twitch.

The setup

I use a 6-foot, 8-inch, medium-heavy action with a fast-tip rod that I built myself. A high-speed spinning reel such as a Daiwa, Abu Garcia or Lew’s will be a perfect complement. Spooled with 10-pound Sufix 832, connected to an 8-pound Sufix fluorocarbon leader. Both of the lines I use for this technique sink. That gives me better lure and line control with smaller lures. I connect the lines with an Albright knot. I then use a snell knot to tie the hook.

Presentation

The presentation is very simple. I like using the Neko rig around docks, sandy areas with sparse weed growth and my favorite, weed lines. Also, boat ramps, tournament release areas and anywhere there is added pressure. Remember, water clarity is the key! Clear to lightly stained water is always best!

I cast the lure out, let it sink to the bottom and then, with my rod at a 45-degree angle, slowly twitch the lure, let it sit, twitch, etc. The key to presentations like the Ned rig and the Neko rig is to let the lure sit. The absence of action or motion is what will trigger the strike. I encourage all who read this, after you set it up, cast to shallow water where you can see what the lure does. Make it do what we discussed here. Then fish it. Always know what your lure does before you fish it. That alone will increase your success.

The Neko rig is a fantastic presentation. It is simple, it flat out catches fish and is fun to fish. I will discuss more “new” techniques this season in upcoming articles.