Few baits have impacted the world of bass fishing in such a manner as the soft plastic stick bait. Baits like Gary Yamamoto’s Senko worm bring a versatility—and most importantly, an efficiency—to fishing that are invaluable to anglers.
As effective as they are though, soft plastic stick baits tend to be limited to shallow water, due to their slow rate of fall. This is where the Neko rig comes in handy.
The Neko Rig is a soft-plastic worm with a weight inserted at one end. It’s that easy. Also known as a “nail-weighed wacky rig,” the Neko rig is comprised of a wacky rigged soft plastic stick bait, with a finishing nail, drywall screw or specialized lead worm weight inserted into one end.
Inserting a nail weight in one end allows the Neko rig to fall faster with an erratic darting and gliding action. Then, once it hits bottom, the rig stands on one end, where little shakes of the rod tip make it jump off the bottom to entice a strike.
The Neko rig excels on any deep structure, such as points, drop-offs, ledges, humps or deep docks. Cast it out and let it fall on slack line. Once the line stops moving, reel tight and check for a fish, as they’ll often strike the Neko rig on the fall. If there’s no bite, give it a couple hops then drag it along the bottom.
The beauty of the rig is there’s really no wrong way to fish it; as long as it’s in the water, it’s only a matter of time before you get a bite.
When using a Neko rig, go with durable stick baits, such as Berkley’s Havoc Money Maker or the Yamamoto Senko. These baits tend to last a little longer than other brands, which is always a bonus when you’re using soft plastics.
You’ll also want to be sure to use 10 to 15-lb braided line with a five-foot leader of 8 to 10-lb fluorocarbon. The braid’s lack of stretch will help you to detect light bites in deep water, and the fluorocarbon leader will reduce line visibility that may spook fish.
For the nail weight, there are some specialized weights in the fishing section of your local outdoor retailer, but I’ve found that drywall screws are just as effective and not nearly as expensive.