(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
FLW Tour pro Brian Latimer always seems to have a smile on his face, especially since winning at Lake Seminole earlier this year, but he admits that in much of the South the fishing in August and September can be terrible. One of his go-to presentations during this period, especially when he just needs to grind out a keeper or two, is a Ned Rig, and he depends on Z-Man plastics to get the job done.
Lots of people complain to him that a Ned Rig gets hung up a lot, but he responds, “Don’t throw at the hangs.” Around thick cover, he’ll pick up something else, but on bare banks and steep bluffs with no step-downs, Ned gets the call. It’s also exceptional when schooling fish are feasting on small threadfin shad.
His favorite bait for Ned Rigging is the Z-Man TRD TicklerZ, a solid-bodied “tube” with four little slivered tails. The tails don’t do much at all, which is fine with Latimer because “when I’m Ned-Rigging, I don’t like a lot of action.” For years he used the larger Z-Man Hula StickZ, and he still does on occasion, but the smaller package of the TicklerZ seems to get bites of all sizes. “The fish bite it when they don’t really want to eat anything,” he explained.
One of the advantages of his preferred plastics is the use of Elaztech material. “There are a lot of properties that makes it very efficient to fish,” he said. “It’s pretty much indestructible.” That means that once you’ve rigged it straight, you don’t waste time rerigging or grabbing another lure out of the pack. That’s especially true if you add some adhesive from the start, which is easy to do because he believes “it adheres better than anything to Super Glue.” Not only does it save time, but it turns bites into catches because the plastic material is less likely to ball up around the hook.
Z-Man has developed the hooks on all of their lures specifically for this material, but it does take some adjustment to make sure that you get things right from the get-go. They use an extra-sharp, welded-on piece of wire as a keeper, and Latimer explained that it’s critical to pull the plastic up and over that keeper. Then the head of the lure will rest on it comfortably and you can glue it in place without worrying that it won’t look or work right.
He also takes special care in storing them and never places them in other tackle boxes or mixes them with more conventional soft plastic lures. Both can create an adverse reaction. The best solution of all is to keep them in their original packs. Z-Man even makes special “BinderZ” that are built specifically to group lures by style, size or color.
If you want to learn some of the additional elements of Latimer's Ned-Rigging system, including why he’s so picky about how he stores his stash of soft plastics, check out his full video filmed at ICAST, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.