When cold fronts, high pressure or clear water make bass turn a blind eye on go-to baits, show ‘em a VMC® Neko Rig to trigger bites and put fish in the boat.
“Anything that’s got those fish in a little bit of a funk, this rig excels at catching bass that don’t want to bite anything else,” Rapala Pro Seth Feider says. “It catches them when they won’t bite anything else”
VMC’s Neko Rig tool kit comprises several sizes of Neko Hooks, Neko Weights and Half Moon Wacky Weights. The weights are designed to embed in – and stay put in – the end of a soft-plastic stick worm.
“The action of the Neko Rig is super unique,” says Feider, winner of a 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake. “It’s nothing like a shaky head or a wacky rig worm. It’s got a tremendous amount of action.”
“There’s a million ways to catch a bass,” Feider continues, “but when the fish have been on certain places for a long time and they get accustomed to seeing the same baits come by, this is something a lot different that fish haven’t seen yet.”
VMC’s Neko Weight features conical ribs, which firmly anchor it in place without damaging your worm. Its thin profile allows you to modify your rig’s action. It comes 10 per pack in four sizes: 1/32 oz, 1/16 oz, 3/32 oz and 1/8 oz.
Neko Hooks feature a black-nickel finish, wide gap, 3-degree offset point, resin-closed eye and a forged, long shank. They’re available in four sizes: 2, 1, 1/0 and 2/0.
A bass will usually hit a Neko Rig on the initial fall. A semi-slack line is key. If your rig hits the bottom without getting bit, lift your rod tip and let it fall again. Once they’ve bit it, the VMC hook keeps them buttoned on.
“It holds on there really good,” Feider says. “When you set the hook and fight the fish, it slides right up your line, it doesn’t get in your way. You hardly lose your bait ever. It’s an awesome little fish catcher.”
VMC’s Half Moon Wacky Weight provides a slightly different action than the Neko Weight, plus the ability to make some noise when it collides with a hard bottom. It too features conical ribs to firmly anchor it in place. It comes 10 per pack in three sizes: 1/16 oz, 1/8 oz and 3/16 oz.
Feider’s preferred Neko Rig comprises a No. 2 VMC Neko Hook, a 1/16th oz. VMC Neko Weight, a size 36 O-ring and a 6-½-inch straight-tail, soft-plastic worm. Follow these directions to set up a Neko Rig like Feider does:
• Thread your worm through your O-ring with an O-ring tool. Don’t center the O-ring. An off-center balance point helps create the rig’s unique action.
• Embed your Neko Weight into one end of your worm (if one end is thicker, use that end). The weighted end of the worm should be shorter than the other end; adjust your O-ring position accordingly.
• Run your Neko Hook through the worm parallel with the plastic, the point facing away from the weight. That’s opposite of a wacky rig, in which the hook point goes through the plastic perpendicular to the worm. “Some guys just go through the O ring,” Feider says, “but I think you get a little bit better action if you come in there and bite a little bit of that worm.”
• Be sure the point of the hook is facing towards the weight when you first stick it through the bait.
• Be sure that your hook point is exposed.
Although Neko Rigs are productive year-round, most anglers favor them in the post-spawn, spawn and summer. “The Neko Rig is a super-effective way to catch fish year-round,” Feider says. “But for me, it really shines once the fish get offshore a little bit and grouped up.”
Follow these tips to get bass to bite a Neko Rig:
• Make a long cast and let out some slack as it falls
• Once your rig hits bottom, reel down a bit
• Now, start shaking your slack, “getting that worm to dance a little bit,” Feider says. “When I’m shaking this and it is dancing and I lift it up off the bottom a little bit and I kill slack in it, that weight will actually pull the worm backwards. You know, fish don’t see that a lot. … I think you get a lot of bites because of that.”
• If you don’t get bit, cast to another location and repeat the process above