Two of the most popular finesse bass techniques are the ned rig and the shaky head, but what exactly is the difference?
There are quite a few similarities between the Shaky Head rig and the Ned rig when it comes to bass fishing. Both are widely considered to be finesse lures, but there are some subtle differences that should be noted in order to determine just which one is better in certain situations.
Shaky heads are normally fished on the bottom and in deeper waters while the ned rig can be fished at varying depths.
Ned rigs are normally much smaller and lighter than shaky heads.
From a tackle perspective a the best shaky head rods will have a fast action as you need to be able to put a lot action into the jig and get the most feedback down through the rod blank to know what's going on.
Ned Rig vs Shaky Head
The main differences between the ned rig vs shaky head is that the shaky head is threaded onto a screw type bait holder on the jig head whereas the ned rig is threaded through the body and uses a flat mushroom style jig head.
Let’s take a closer look at each lure to see what sets them apart.
What is a Ned Rig?
A Ned rig is relatively new to the sport of fishing. It is typically smaller than a Shaky Head and consists of a small plastic tube-like worm of up to 4 inches in length. The lure is weighted by a jig head that is normally 1/32, 1/16, or 3/32 with a hook size of up to #2 or #6.
A Ned rig’s weight is shaped like a mushroom and sometimes has a small indention on one side in order to help balance the lure’s position so that the worm sits upright on the bottom.
Where to Fish a Ned Rig?
Ned rigs are generally used in more shallow water of less than 15 feet in depth. The key to fishing a Ned rig is to know that you likely won’t feel any of the bait’s movement (or lack thereof). Remember, this is a finesse lure and you’ll want to make sure your line is tight enough to feel the subtle bites from fish along the bottom.
Ned rigs work best on areas with flat bottoms near structure, but are also known to be productive around grass beds, docks, points and flats where you might typically find baitfish feeding or hiding from predators.
How to Fish a Ned Rig
One of the biggest differences in the Ned rig and Shaky Head is that a Ned rig will utilize a smaller, exposed hook. This may seem like a subtle difference, but it plays into the overall method of how to fish a Ned rig.
Since the Ned rig is the smaller of the two, you’ll want to use it in more shallow water up to 15 feet in depth. Fishing in deeper water will make it more difficult to feel fish bite the Ned rig since it is much lighter than a shaky head.
Also, a Ned rig should simply be “pulled” across the bottom of a waterway instead of “bouncing” it like most anglers do with a Shaky Head. The lightweight Ned rig will easily glide across the bottom of a lake and come to a resting, upright position that will attract nearby fish in a different way than a Shaky Head will.
The Ned rig, much like the Shaky Head, is attractive to most gamefish like largemouth bass because it appears to be a smaller bait fish feeding on the bottom of a lake or waterway. Bass usually spend very little energy in biting a Ned rig as they will generally let the lure come within range and bite.
The Ned rig can be dragged or bounced across the bottom with variable lengths of time between when you decide to move the lure. Some anglers have reported success with a “swimming” technique in which they never let the bait touch the bottom.
What is a Shaky Head?
A Shaky Head rig is equally simple in composition and can appear to be very similar to the Ned rig at first glance. This lure usually employs a soft plastic worm of more than four inches in length, with a variety of different plastics in use.
Shaky Heads typically utilize a hook size from 3/0 to 6/0 and have a jig head of 1/16 ounce up to a ½ ounce size. One of the main differences between a Ned rig and a Shaky Head is the rounded jig on a Shaky Head. This allows for greater movement, even when the bait is sitting on the bottom.
A Shaky Head is generally larger than the Ned rig and will usually produce much larger catches.
Where to Use a Shaky Head?
Most experienced anglers will agree that the Shaky Head is their go-to for targeting fish that are stubborn and when the bite is slow. Something about this lure’s “shaky” action produces a strike in fish where other lures will be passed by without even a glance.
Shaky Head fanatics say this lure works best around docks and brush piles or other structures when the fish are ignoring other baits. As a general rule of thumb, you should look to throw a Shaky Head around some type of structure in hopes of coaxing the nearby bass out for a closer look and possibly, a bite.
The Shaky Head’s hook is not exposed and, therefor, allows you to use this bait closer to structure or weeds and grass as you’re less likely to get hung up.
How to Fish a Shaky Head
There’s no rush when using a Shaky Head. In fact, the slower, the better, according to most experienced anglers who find success in using a Shaky Head.
There are a variety of different kinds of soft plastics you can use with a Shaky Head. For a rounded head, it is best to stick with a stickworm or finesse worm that you should use on rocky or gravel bottom waterways.
For a standup jig head, trick worms are best, but anglers have reported success with a wide variety of different types of worms.
The key to being successful with a Shaky Head is to keep the action going, even when the bait is stationary. When other baits are forced to lie motionless, you can easily twitch and “shake” a Shaky Head in the right spots to produce a strike.
Which is better, Shaky Heads or Ned Rig?
It’s hard to choose a winner between these two baits matched up head to head. Each one has specific advantages over the other depending on the conditions and specific area you plan to fish. The best answer to this question is to learn how to use each lure and employ them at your own discretion in order to experience real success on the water.