The mighty Neko rig

OK anglers, I’m going to unveil the newest weapon in my finesse arsenal — the Neko rig.

I can’t say that it’s a secret. Most professional anglers know about it. But, a lot of recreational and weekend tournament anglers haven’t heard about it, and only a few of them are using it. I’m going to try to fix that because this thing will catch pressured fish when nothing else will.

Here’s how I put it together and how I fish it:

With finesse techniques less is more. The Neko rig will drop a bait straight down with very little sideways movement and, when that happens, it looks like a feeding minnow. It’ll only do that, though, if you start with the right bait. For me that’s a thin finesse-type worm or a small plastic stickbait. My preference is a Havoc Bottom Hopper or Havoc Flat Dog.

Regardless of what bait you use, however, insert a weight in the fat end of the bait. Don’t worry if it’s the head or the tail. Any weight will do. Several companies make tungsten or lead nail type weights. They work fine. If you want to save a little money, buy a pack of heavy finishing nails at the hardware store. They work just as well.

Nowhere in fishing is the hook more critical. Start with a short, straight shank 1/0 or 2/0 thin wire model. Bait keeper styles work really well. If you want to go first class, VMC has a hook made especially for the Neko rig.

You’re going to run the hook into the bait parallel with the plastic. That’s the opposite of a wacky rig which has the hook extending out from the plastic at a right angle. Make sure the point of the hook is facing towards the weight when you first put it into the bait. That way, when the hook comes out of the plastic it’ll be facing away from the weight.

Make sure your hook point is exposed. This isn’t a Texas rig.

I place my hooks about two-thirds up the bait away from the weight. You’ll see Neko rigs hooked in different places but I’ve done a lot or research into this. I think you’ll get more solid hooksets with it up, away from the weight. That’s because the weight will be down and the hook point will be up when the bass grabs it.

If you want to save your baits you can put an O-ring around the lure where the hook shaft is inside the plastic. I personally like shrink wrap better. It ends up tighter around the lure and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. Buy a pack at the hardware store. Cut it into rings and slip it over the bait. Hit it with a lighter real quick and you’re good to go.

I recommend you go with spinning tackle. I like a 7 or 7 1/2 foot rod with a fairly large reel spooled with 6- or 8-pound-test Berkley 100 % Fluorocarbon line.

Toss it out and let it fall straight to the bottom on a semi-slack line. When I bring it up I twitch it every few inches to make it look alive but then I let it fall straight back down. I do this until I’m out of the strike zone. Think about it this way: The only reason you pull a Neko rig up is so that it can fall.

The more successful our efforts to promote bass fishing, the more pressured our fish. The Neko rig can help you deal with that.

Mike Iaconelli’s column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,