Think finesse baits are for wide open water only? Think again. You needn’t think twice about throwing VMC®’s new Weedless Neko Hooks around the gnarliest of cover, a tactic that put big bass in the boat for Brandon Palaniuk when he won the Bassmaster Elite event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir this spring.
“It’s what I caught all my big fish on,” says Palaniuk, a VMC pro and seven-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. “Every fish I caught over 8 pounds came on a Neko Rig.”
The new VMC Weedless Neko Hook is designed with a durable 50-pound-test fluorocarbon weed guard, a feature that enables anglers to fish with confidence in the most challenging of settings without getting hung up.
“When you’re fishing around trees or brush, or docks, or logs, that fluorocarbon weed guard is going to help keep the hook from snagging,” says Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, a fellow VMC pro and fan of Neko Rigging. “It is one of the hottest trends around right now. But Neko Rigging in open water and Neko Rigging around heavy cover is totally different. With this weedless design, VMC’s really outdone itself.”
Another benefit of the 50-pound-test fluorocarbon bristles that comprise the Weedless Neko Hook’s snag guard is that, unlike wire, Iaconelli says, they are “invisible to the fish.”
Weedless Neko Hooks feature a forged black-nickel finish, a wide gap and long shank. “It’s not quite a straight shank, it’s not quite an octopus or drop-shot style,” Iaconelli explains. “It’s an in-between-style hook. And that design of that hook is actually going to, in itself, land a lot more fish.”
Available in four sizes — 2, 1, 1/0 and 2/0 — Weedless Neko Hooks feature a resin-closed eye. “In a lot of hooks, there’s an open-eye design and when you’re using light fluorocarbon – which is great on these finesse tactics – it has a tendency to slip through that eye. With a closed eye, you won’t get that,” says Iaconelli.
According to Iaconelli, another key feature is the Weedless Neko Hook’s 3-degree offset point. “It’s going to catch more meat in the fish’s mouth and you’re going to get a better hookset,” he explains.
Bass usually hit Neko Rigs on the initial fall. A semi-slack line is key. “When you let the Neko Rig fall on a semi-slack line, it falls almost backwards at an angle,” Iaconelli says. “It’s this natural, erratic glide that drives fish nuts.”
Although Neko Rigs are productive year-round, most anglers favor them in the post-spawn and summer. “It really shines once the fish get offshore a little bit and grouped up,” says fellow VMC Pro Seth Feider, who used Neko Hooks to win a Bassmaster tournament last year.