The basic Ned rig is plainest-looking bass fishing bait you'll ever lay eyes on. And it flat out catches fish. When I first saw it, I was skeptical. My buddy had a little jighead tied on and what looked like half of stick worm with the hook exposed. And I was like, "You're going to throw that?"
He did and went to catching them pretty quick and rather well.
After that, I had to try this little rig out myself. I set out one day with both a shaky head and a Ned rig tied on and fished each for a couple hours apiece without picking up anything else. I figured anything that would bite a Ned rig would surely bite a shaky head. But I was wrong, and my little experiment yielded about 3 bass to 1 in favor of the Ned rig.
I say all that to say this: a Ned rig works. Which is a completely obvious statement to a lot of you out there. But for those who still doubt it, don't. Although I do believe the basic Ned rig's simplicity is part of its allure, I'm already digging all the different little soft-plastic baits that have come out since its rise to stardom. The Strike King Rage Ned Bug certainly being near the top of that list.
The biggest eye opener for me so far with a Ned rig is not really the numbers you'll catch on it, but the quality. Big fish will still eat a little bitty bait. So having seen that with a Ned rig, it has me looking for baits in that size range. The Strike King Rage Ned Bug definitely stands out.
Playing off the extreme success of the original Rage Bug, Strike King created a pint-sized version specifically for use on a Ned rig. The Rage Ned Bug has the same basic appendages as its much larger Rage Bug predecessor, but comes in at a mere 2 1/2 inches long compared to the 4-inch original version. The key difference other than size in the two baits is that the Rage Bug has a wider body and the Rage Ned Bug is more cylindrical. The Rage Ned Bug fits most Ned heads perfectly due to its size and I really like the versatility of the bait.
Coming with two sets of appendages, you have some options. As previously stated, the nothingness of the typical style Ned rig bait is something I think the fish like. But as with anything else, the fish will get conditioned to that look and already are in some places.
I'm already finding that on some days, pinching the appendages off of the sides of the Rage Ned Bug seems to generate more bites. Where some days they eat the bait in its entirety really well. I know it sounds ridiculous and seems unlikely to think that little changeup can really make a difference, but there are more people fishing now than ever. And with many of the new anglers grabbing for baits that will generate a lot of strikes, the bass are getting picky with baits that novice anglers can use like a Ned rig.
It's going to be a major producer in the spring
I haven't done it yet, but I really look forward to throwing this bait on a bed. The design of the Ned head is meant to help a bait stand vertically which is a great feature to exploit for bed fishing. But that's not the main reason I'm looking forward to throwing this bait on a bed.
A few years ago, dad and I had one of those bedders that just would not pay anything we threw in the bed any attention. Finally out of desperation, dad put a Strike King Baby Rage Craw on a shaky head and tossed it in the bed. It instantly got the fish's attention and within a few pitches the fish ate the bait and was in the boat. We found that day and since that something about a little crawfish imitation pecking around in a bed really sets a bass off. But every now and then one will still pick the bait up by its claws and blow it out of the bed.
Coming in a half-inch shorter and even more compact than the Baby Rage Craw, the Rage Ned Bug offers nearly nothing for a bedding bass to bite without getting the hook. That's why I'm looking forward to tossing it into a bed this coming spring.
Finesse jig trailer
There's a small bait revolution of sorts making its way through the fishing industry. And really I guess there are explosions throughout the sport where these little niche genres of baits are getting more and more popular with dozens of new companies getting into the mix of making things like glide baits, giant swimbaits, wake baits, magnum spoons and the whole lot.
So small baits are feeding off that same frenzy as a lot of these companies have halted their efforts at trying to reinvent the spinnerbait, buzzbait and squarebill and started trying to corner these smaller markets-finesse and micro jigs being one of those areas. There are lots of good options out there in that arena now, but the Strike King Bitsy Bug has been around for decades and is holding its own against these newcomers. And Strike King just added an awesome trailer for it in the Rage Ned Bug.
Though some days I do like to have a bigger chunk for a trailer with a small jig like this, there are certainly times when I'll go the extreme opposite direction. When flipping a 1/4-ounce Bitsy Bug around shallow wood for instance, I like a Rage Chunk or a bitten off Menace Grub that will cause the bait to fall a lot slower. But if I'm wanting the bait to get down on the bottom and I'm fishing out in the open around smaller or chunk rock, the Rage Ned Bug is the perfect little trailer for a Bitsy Bug.
The Rage Ned Bug from Strike King is a compact little powerhouse I'm excited to expand on. It's a great bait for a Ned head, giving bass a different look from the standard soft plastics that one would typically associate with a Ned rig. With multiple appendages, you have some ability to play around with the profile as well.
Adding to that, the Rage Ned Bug works great as a finesse jig trailer and is something I highly doubt a bedding bass will be able to just let lie. All in all, it's another stellar little soft plastic from Strike King and one that definitely gets bit.