Neko rigging has become one of the most popular finesse bass fishing techniques. This set up traditionally consists of a wacky-rigged soft-plastic worm with a small nail or nail weight pushed into the nose of the worm, so the bait can stand up on the bottom and be dragged along in a vertical position with the nose down and the tail up.
Today, we’re going to look at a revolutionary take on the Neko weight, the Z-Man Neko ShroomZ.
Born out of necessity
Z-Man, the maker of the Neko ShroomZ, also offers an extensive lineup of soft-plastic baits made with their proprietary ElaZtech material. The claim to fame of ElaZtech is that it is “10X Tougher” than other soft plastics. The extreme durability of ElaZtech makes is a great selection for all sorts of techniques.
But, this same durability made the Neko rig nearly impossible to rig, because the nail or nail weights could not penetrate and hold in the material. Thus, the Neko ShroomZ were born out of necessity.
How the Neko ShroomZ work
The Neko ShroomZ were specifically designed to penetrate Z-Man’s soft-plastic baits and hold tightly. To do this, Z-Man incorporated a thin but stiff stainless steel wire to slip into the plastic and two sharp and large molded plastic barbs to hold the weight in the bait.
Though these weights were specifically designed for ElaZtech, they also work well with all other types of soft plastic, giving every angler a beefed-up option for their Neko rigs.
Why does it matter?
Opening up Z-Man’s ElaZtech lineup of soft plastics to Neko rigging is an important development for the technique as a whole. Since ElaZtech is so durable, there’s no need for an O-ring in the rigging process, just run your hook right through the bait; ElaZtech floats, as well. This characteristic helps the worm stand up with the weighted nose down on the bottom better than any other soft plastic.
Benefit of a different design
The Neko ShroomZ differ from traditional nail weights used in Neko rigging in one glaring regard, the weight is outside of the bait. With nail weights, the weight is shoved into the worm. With the Neko ShroomZ, the shaft goes into the bait but the weight is all outside. This makes it much easier to maintain bottom contact and creates a more sensitive presentation over all.
Colors, sizes and shapes
The Neko ShroomZ have a powder-coated and durable finish and come in two colors: black and green pumpkin. You can select a weight for nearly any application from the four available sizes: 1/20- , 1/15- , 1/10 and 1/6- ounce. The shape of the weights go from a thin, rounded shape to more of a squared off, Ned-head shape.
Personal experience and conclusion
The weights hold well in the baits but you may want to use caution as you move up into the heaviest weights. They do become a little more likely to detach from the bait when fighting a particularly aggressive fish that’s jumping a lot. When the fish jumps, it has leverage working in its favor with the mass of the weight outside of the worm. With this being said, it’s again only an issue with the largest weights and the added benefits of the Neko ShroomZ far outweigh this one concern.
The Neko ShroomZ definitely make rigging a Neko rig much easier and these weights also create a more sensitive and effective presentation with the weight being outside of the bait. These are true statements no matter the brand of soft plastic. But where it was almost impossible to use a nail weight with Z-Man’s ElaZtech in the past, it is as easy as advertised with these weights. And the advantages of the durability and buoyancy of ElaZtech make being able to use these baits with a Neko rig a big deal.