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A neko rig setup with bait, weight and hook

Neko Rig Fishing - The Essentials

The Neko Rig fishing technique has been around the professional bass circuits for a while, but filtered into the spotlight for weekend anglers over the last few years. 

The neko rig is especially handy during times of the year when the bite is tough. When you need a little more action to catch the attention of stubborn Bass, many anglers transition to finesse techniques like the wacky rig (a standard plastic stickbait with a simple wacky hook through the middle) to mimic a feeding minnow or suspended panfish.

The neko rig starts with a wacky rig (like the one shown above), but levels up on the action by inserting a weight into one end of the plastic worm. The additional weight makes one side move faster and more erratically than your wacky-rigged stick bait and also allows the worm to stand up on the bottom.

Like most finesse techniques, we recommend a spinning reel and rod like the Abu Garcia Veritas in medium weight for less than $100 or The Daiwa Finesse rod at $179 and 8 or 10 lb. fluorocarbon line.

The essentials for a neko rig start with a wacky hook rigged with a 6mm O-ring to a wacky worm or stick bait and a nail or weight like the VMC Neko skirt. Read on for our favorite neko rig recommendations!

How to Select a Neko Rig Hook

Many hooks will work for the wacky rig or neko set up, but VMC has specifically designed a line of wacky hooks that even come in a weedless version for the elite angler.

Shop the VMC Neko Hook

Shop the VMC Neko Weedless Hook

How to Select a Neko Rig Worm or Stick Bait

There’s a wide range of worms and stick baits that work great for the wacky rig and translate perfectly to the neko rig. Price point is a main consideration.

The Yamamoto Senko has a higher price tag, but is a favorite for bass anglers as the increased weight allows the bait to drop faster and with a different movement. The Yum Dinger has a lower price point that makes it perfect for everyday use. We’ve heard from many anglers that practice with Yum Dingers and break out the Senko when the tournament is on the line.

Here are our 5 favorite wacky worm baits. We carry all of them in a number of sizes and colors to fit the water you fish:

Berkley General

Yamamato Senko

Yum Dinger

BioSpawn Exostick

Zoom Trick Worm

Weights, Skirts, and Tools for Neko Rigs

The weight portion of the neko rig conversion requires very little sophistication. A small nail from your local hardware store will do the trick. Note: it’s important to only insert the weight into one side of the worm to keep the worm vertical. 

A diagram of a neko rig setup

Another great option is the skirted weight insert from VMC. The barbs on the neko weight help keep it inserted and the skirt provides the added flash to add attention to the presentation.

Skirted weight for neko rigs

The skirt of the VMC Neko fans out on the drop and will lightly disturb the bottom when pulled. This small sediment disruption is a key prey indicator that will attract a bass looking for a meal.

Shop the VMC Neko Skirt or watch below to learn more about the VMC Neko Skirt:

We also recommend speeding up your rigging process and preserving your worms with a Wacky Rig tool that allows you to easily insert the 6mm O-ring around your bait and hook. You can find this accessory here.

How to Fish a Neko Rig

The Neko rig fishes well year-round but performs best when the bite is tough on other bass fishing styles. Consider using your sonar to target mid-lake humps in clear to moderately stained water. The added weight on one end of the neko rig presents the bait differently, helping catch suspended fish. With additional weight or a skirt, you can add even more profile and churn up a little bottom sediment to get a strike. 

Like Walleye fishing, the bite commonly occurs on the drop, so it’s important to let the neko rigged bait hit the bottom before twitching the line and letting it drop again (almost like a vertical jig).

Tell us what lakes you fish and we’ll help you find the right products by using our shop-by-lake tools. Upgrade to Omnia Premium and you’ll receive a 10% rebate on all purchases and get free shipping with no minimums. See you on the water!