Most anglers know that a Texas rig is typically anything but a finesse presentation, putting it at the opposite end of the spectrum from the compact, subtle Ned.
For the most part, that’s true, and where the Ned shines, the Texas rig doesn’t - and vice versa.
But there’s more to the story than that - a lot more - and anglers who want to make the most of these two techniques need to know the ins and outs of their differences, as well as the point where they meet in the middle.
Want to know more about the Texas and Ned rigs?
Let’s get started!
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Related: Best Fishing Rigs
The Texas Rig
Leaving your knot unprotected by a bead is a bad idea!
We’ve discussed the Texas rig at length before, and if you want the full run down, check out this article:
The Texas Rig: A Complete Guide to Rigging and Techniques
Wherever you fish for bass, ask a few anglers throwing soft plastics how they’re rigging them, and “Texas style” is going to come up. We’re confident about this as the Texas rig just may be the most popular way to fish a soft plastic - period!
Nothing more than a hook, bullet sinker, stop, and bead, the Texas rig is easy to put together.
I like Gamakatsu’s 3/0 and 4/0 extra-wide gap (EWG) hooks, and they’re just perfect for a wide variety of soft plastics, including worms and creature baits like Brush Hogs and lizards.
Add a good bullet sinker, a bead, or silicon float stop, and you’re ready to pick your trailer.
Heavy sinkers and big trailers
One thing you’ll notice about the Texas rig is that it’s not a finesse presentation.
I don’t throw a bullet sinker lighter than ¼ ounce, and typically, I’m casting something in the 1 ounce or heavier range when I’m looking to hit the bottom quickly or bust through vegetation.
Both are real strengths of the Texas rig, as you can load it pretty heavily and still work it well.
That’s just as true on the trailer, and this is not the rig for a 3-inch Senko!
Instead, think big, nasty soft plastics like Gary Yamamoto’s Fat Ika or Zoom’s Brush Hog.
And big worms like Culprit’s Original 7 ½ inch or Zoom’s Magnum II Worm are fantastic.
Worm rods and baitcasters
To get the most from these heavier sinkers and fat plastics, and to create the kind of hookset that drives an EWG home, you want a stiff, powerful rod wearing a slick, accurate, fast baitcaster.
Rods like the Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 703C or the St. Croix Mojo Bass provide the sensitivity you need to feel a bite and the backbone you need to really punch that hook home.
My rods wear a reel like the Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R.
Braid is the way to go, I think, given sensitivity at depth. I run Power Pro or Sufix 832, and when the water’s clear, add a length of Seaguar InvizX as a leader.
The Ned Rig
The Ned rig relies on a modified jig head, an exposed hook, and a small plastic trailer. It’s a finesse presentation, both compact and light, and it sinks slowly, lacks the weight to punch salad, and gets hung up pretty easily.
That’s not to say the Ned isn’t great - it is - but its strengths are very different from the Texas rig.
The Ned starts with a very light Ned head, typically a 1/32-ounce option like Owner’s American 4151 Block Head. You can step up to a slightly heavier offering such as the ZMan Finesse Shroomz 0.1 ounce and ⅙-ounce, but you’ll never succeed with anything as heavy as ¼-ounce.
Small Ned heads and stubby trailers
As you’ll quickly come to realize, those are small jig heads wearing equally small hooks, and they demand tiny trailers in the 2 ½- to 3-inch range.
Strike King’s Rage Ned Craw is a great choice for pre-spawn, and 3-inch Senkos or 2 ¾-inch Z-MAN TRD TicklerZ are very hard to beat.
Whatever your choice, it needs to be small and light.
As a result, the Ned rig sinks slowly and is ideal in shallow water. When worked just above the bottom, or allowed to glide to a stop, the Ned has a well-earned reputation as a bite-getter when nothing else delivers.
You’re not casting a Rage Tail Craw on a 1/32-ounce Ned head with a baitcasting reel, no matter how hard you try.
Spinning tackle is the name of the game with the Ned, and I prefer a 6 ½- to 7-foot rod in medium light to medium power, like the St. Croix Premier.
Pair that rod with an excellent reel like the Shimano Ultegra or Pflueger President, and you’re ready for finesse fishing.
20-pound braid will typically be my line of choice, with a 6- to 10-pound fluorocarbon or mono leader. On my finesse rod and reel combo, you’ll find Sufix 832 tied to a Seaguar InvizX leader.
Ned Rig vs Texas Rig
By this point, you should have a good sense of the differences between the Texas rig and the Ned:
- The Texas rig is heavy, and it sinks quickly and punches grass mats and other vegetation easily
- The Texas rig takes a large trailer
- The Ned rig is very light, and it sinks slowly
- The Ned rig takes a very small trailer.
The Ned rig excels on a hard, clear bottom with little vegetation that can catch the exposed hook or hide its subtle action from the sense of bass. Compact and light, it will attract bass of all sizes, and in a numbers game, can be a tournament winner.
But even rigged on a weedless head, the Ned doesn’t have the size or aggressive action to draw a strike in a wed bed, and it lacks the weight to punch.
For deep water, it’s almost useless as it takes too long to get to where you need it.
By contrast, the Texas rig is great when the fish are deep. It busts grass with the best of them, and runs weedlessly through tangles of vegetation. The large, active trailers get plenty of attention, too, making this a great rig for long spiraling descents.
When the bass are pressured and shallow, and the vegetation is minimal, reach for the Ned.
But when the bass are deep, or you need to pitch into thick cover, the Texas reigns supreme.
Finesse Texas Rigs?
There’s an added wrinkle to this conversation.
What happens when you switch out that 1-ounce bullet sinker for a 1/16-ounce weight, and trade that 3/0 EWG for a 1/0 offset? What happens if you swap that 7 1/2-inch Culprit for a 4-inch YUM Dinger?
Well, then you’ve got yourself a finesse Texas rig that’s weedless and rivals the Ned rig as a shallow-water finesse presentation.
And whether you’re working shy bass in the wake of a cold front or skipping your finesse Texas rig to reach bass snuggled under a boat dock, that’s a change-up that you should really consider.
And, of course, the weightless Texas rig, running a Gary Yamamoto 5" Senko, is truly a thing of beauty in shallow water, where its erratic darting motion and sudden stops and starts are ringing the dinner bell.
In short, the Texas rig isn’t better than the Ned; it’s just a lot more versatile, offering punch and depth as well as shallow-water subtlety.
If you’ve eased off the Texas rig in favor of newer approaches, you might want to give this old workhorse another try.