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There have been many new finesse fishing techniques being discussed in the recent years but the one that has been ignored until recently is the neko rig. We have all herd of wacky rigging, drop shot and neb rigs but what is the all the fuss about the neko rig? Sometimes you need a technique that is very subtle and something the fish have not seen. We have used the neko rig in a few tournaments that the weights were really down and had some great success. Let’s go into it in a little more detail.

You can also use the neko rig when fishing for hard to catch suspended bass. Once you get the fall timed out correctly count the fall down to the depth and work the bait through the fish twitching as you go. They cannot resist the action and will crush it.

The neko rig is a very ingenuous idea and it is a very modest concept. It basically comes down to a head weighted bait with a hook that is located up the body of the lure. When fished correctly it falls back towards the fish and wiggles similar to the wacky rig. The advantage is it stands upright once contacting the bottom of the lake. This is a great improvement over the wacky rig or drop shot offering.

We have done many searches’ online and many people have their own version of the neko rig but I have not found a better combination than the VMC 1/0 or 2/0 Neko hook. It is one of our favorites. This hook is Mike Iaconelli approved and also a favorite of Seth Feider that won the AOY tournament on Mille Lacs Lake, MN in 2016.

I use the VMC Neko hook and VMC nail weight as it seems to be the best value and hook that tends to privde a really good hook up ratio. The Neko Hook features a black-nickel finish, wide gap, 3-degree offset tip, resin-closed eye and a forged, long shank. It’s available in four sizes: 2, 1, 1/0 and 2/0. I really like the versatility of the hook as it can be used for Wacky rigging and drop shot rigs. This helps cut down on the amount of hooks you need to carry onboard. The 1/0 and 2/0 sizes work with almost any size Senko or other soft Plastic. VMC’s Neko Weight features conical ribs, which securely anchor it in place without harming your worm. Its narrow profile allows you to change your rig’s action. They come 10 per pack in four sizes: 1/32-ounce, 1/16-ounce, 3/32-ounce and 1/8-ounce.

When you are talking gear we use the same rode you would use for a drop shot or wacky rig. A 7’ to 7’-6 medium action spinning rod with 10-12lb braid and a 6 or 8lb fluorocarbon leader. Keep your leader as long as possible 10-15’ is ideal. The long leader allows you to keep the braid far away from the fish and allows you to retie a few times before having to apply a new leader.

Hook placement is one of the most important parts of making this technique perform. Some people like to place the hook perpendicular to the bait similar to wacky rigging. We prefer to place the hook parallel to the bait about 2/3 the way up. Be sure the tip of the hook is facing towards the weight when you first stick it through the bait. This way, when the hook comes out of the plastic it’ll be facing away from the weight. This method helps the bait fall back towards the prey. It is best to use a o ring especially when using Senko’s to help keep the hook from pulling through the bait and going through many soft plastics. If you are using a soft plastic that is more sturdy the o ring may not be necessary.

When fishing the Neko rig it is best to keep some tension on the line so the bait is presented in a more vertical presentation. If you allow you line to go slack the bait will simply lie on the bottom and will not trigger as many strikes. Shaking it slightly on the retrieve helps incise bites. The slower you can present this rig the more strikes you will get. We like to use the neko rig on both smallmouth and largemouth bass in any situation that you may use a wacky, neb or drop shot rig.

This is an exposed hook rig so fishing around heavy cover can be tricky. You need to learn the difference between contact with wood or rocks and a bite. This rig can be used around weeds and cover you just have to work it through carefully.

If you are fishing on a body of water or weather conditions that are making the bite slow, try to downsize the soft plastic. This presentation mimics the effectiveness of the Neb rig. Try using a 3” Senko or worm. You can take a 1” to 1-1/2” off a 4” or 5” bait if smaller baits are not readily available. We like to use Senko style baits, crawfish, and even flukes. Using a crawfish style bait with the neko rig allows for the body to fall and the claws to be facing up at the fish like a defensive mode.

Use the same colors you would normally use for the lake you are fishing. Some of our favorites are green pumpkin, browns and of course black.

The Neko Hook is the premiere hook for this technique. You hardly lose any fish with this at all. This is a high-percentage-style hook. While fishing the neko rig most of the bites will come on initial fall. Keep a slightly slack line to get the best action and if you do not get bit just pick it up off the bottom and let it fall again.

The advantage of the Neko Rig is how simple it is to rig and how capable it is when you fish it in the water. The action of the rig is simply amazing. So go out and pick up some Neko hooks and weights and take some time to learn this inexpensive and highly effective technique that you can fish almost anywhere at any time of the year. IT will catch them when other techniques will not.

Fishing the Neko Rig