Summer bass fishing can be some of the most frustrating fishing of the year. Even power fishermen break out the dreaded spinning rods with ned rigs, dropshots, and jigworms. But one rig that gets overlooked yet catches just as many fish, is the neko rig. To the untrained eye it looks like it’s your everyday wacky rig. With a nail weight in the head of the worm, and the hook a third of the way up from the head of the worm, this deranged cousin of the wacky rig has an action that bass can’t resist.
The neko rig has been popular for around 5 years now, but it is often overlooked in the Midwest in favor of the ned, dropshot or wacky rig. Because of the nail weight, and off set hook, it has a slow, spinning fall which can be used in shallow, mid depth, or deep water. In the spring it excels around docks, laydowns and beds, and in the dog days of summer it is deadly on deep weed edges, especially on main lake structure like points, and humps.
How to Fish It
Fishing the neko is very similar to fishing a wacky rig. Cast it out and let it fall to the bottom on semi-slack line. This is key because 80 to 90 percent of the bites come on the initial or second drop. If you have slack line you may not notice the bite until the fish has already spit the bait. On semi-slack line, you have a much better chance of feeling or seeing the bite on that initial drop. Once the rig is on the bottom, let it set for about five seconds and then give it three or four quick, upward pops. Just like you would when fishing a wacky rig. Then, let if fall to the bottom again, watching for bites on the fall. Repeat the process back to the boat.
Gear To Use
A 7 to 7 ft 2 inch, medium or medium light spinning rod is perfect for this style of fishing. Fast or extra fast action on the rod is preferred as the stiffer tip will allow you to “pop” the rig with less effort. 10 to 12 lb braid to a 10 lb fluorocarbon leader or straight fluorocarbon in the same test will be covert enough to to get bites yet have enough strength to get big fish in the boat. The VMC Neko hook in the number 1 or 2 size is one of the best hooks on the market. Fish flat out don’t come off this hook. It is so sticky I often have to use pliers to unhook the fish.
When it comes to plastics, any senko style worm will be effective. Ribbon tail, and cutter tail worms are also great options. Don’t be afraid to use larger worms up to seven or eight inches to entice bigger fish, but make sure you up your hook size by a size or two. Craw trailers and creature baits can also be neko rigged effectively. Black/Blue flake, green pumpkin, and June Bug are all quality color options.
The Neko Rig is something that every bass angler should have tied on from June through September. It catches great numbers of fish and quality fish even in the hottest portions of summer when the fish are hardest to catch.