Written by Andrew Schadegg
About 4 years ago, I was fishing a tournament as a co-angler on Lake Oroville in Northern California and was paired up with a well-known pro, who was tearing up the western circuits at the time. It was early in the year, water was cold and the bite was really tough. I had run through a whole series of typical deep finesse techniques. Tubes, drop shots, dartheads, senkos, jigs…all without much success.
In stark contrast, my pro for the day was loading the boat in quick fashion and good ones too! Being a nice guy and assuming I wasn’t going to be much competition (which I wasn’t), he proceeded to breakdown his technique for me, a finesse setup that I had never seen before. He called it the Neko Rig.
Needless to say, since that time it has become an absolute staple in my arsenal and has quickly grown in popularity from an obscure west coast, deep water technique to a standard rig used all over the country. Here’s the full details on this killer presentation.
What You Need:
1. Finesse Plastic – The sky is the limit with the Neko Rig. You can pair it up with senkos, finesse worms, even some creature style baits. The Bass Attacker Stix are a perfect 5 inch bait for this technique.
2. Hook – Though some use a drop shot or circle hook, the best option is a straight shank, thin wire finesse hook. The VMC Ike Approved Neko Hook for open water or the Weedless Neko Hook (in your November LTB Bass Box) around weeds or structure is a perfect choice for this technique.
3. O-Ring – Though some prefer to go directly into the plastic, an o-ring will really help you keep the hook in place. If you want to save some money and get a similar result, you can buy some shrink wrap at a hardware store.
4. Weight – This is where it gets a little different. The weight you use for the Neko Rig is a nail weight or a specific Neko Rig weight (which some companies, including VMC have available).
How to Rig It:
Step 1 – Insert your nail weight into the top or flat end of the worm.
Step 2 – Run the o-ring up the worm anywhere from 1/2 way to 2/3 of the way up the worm (away from the weight).
Step 3 – Slide your hook under the o-ring, facing down toward the weight, so that it is pointing up when you pull it through. Some will rig it wacky style without the o-ring or with a saddle-style o-ring as well.
When to Fish It:
The Neko Rig is really versatile. It started by being primarily a deep water technique, focusing on rock piles, points, and ledges, but it can be used around docks, structure, along weedlines. With new weedless hooks, like VMC’s Weedless Neko Rig Hook, you can fish it almost anywhere! For clear water or deep areas, rig on a medium-light action spinning rod with 6-8 pound Seaguar InvisX. For heavier cover, you can up to the 8-12 pound range and possibly even heavier. Play with it and see what works best for your body of water