The Neko rig is one of the most effective finesse bass fishing techniques to hit the mainstream fishing scene in decades. A close cousin to the wacky rig, the Neko rig got its official start in Japan. But old school anglers have been similarly using finishing nails to weight wacky rigs long before the official Neko rig made its way across the big water. Still, that’s when we saw an explosion in the popularity of this technique as well as the specifically designed terminal tackle used for a Neko rig.
The finishing nails went back in the hardware drawer as more and more options hit the tackle store shelves and now we have hundreds of shape, weight and material combinations to choose from. For today’s review, we’ll be looking at one such product, the VMC Neko Skirt. And this one is a good bit different compared to most, if not all, of the other Neko specific terminal tackle out there.
I tentatively stated this piece of terminal tackle is different from all other Neko specific gear because I don’t want to overstate myself in saying that I’ve seen all the Neko-specific weights out there. But to my knowledge, this is the only Neko weight that has skirted material incorporated into it. VMC has taken 7 strands of silicone and rubber skirting and run them perpendicularly through the head of a lead nail weight to give a Neko rig a unique look in the water.
On dry land, I’ll admit, this skirting looks a little out of place. But when you see it in the water, the VMC Neko Skirt is actually pretty cool looking. The weighted end of the worm is meant to maintain contact with the bottom. So as you hop and drag a Neko rig along, the skirt tucks and flares and kicks up a little mud and silt. It actually does add quite a bite of action and profile to the bait. Which isn’t exactly what you want from a Neko rig in some scenarios, but in others its a nice addition.
The weight itself is basically VMC’s normal Neko Weight with a slit cut into the top of it where the strands of skirting are epoxied in. You simply slide this weight into the end of your worm and the ribs along the weight act as barbs that prevent the weight for sliding back out. These weights stay in the bait really well and you don’t go through many of them, as long as you don’t lose the soft-plastic lures they’re inserted in.
I did bend a couple of these weights banging them off docks and other cover, which is to be expected since they’re made of lead. But if you do this, you want to be careful when trying to bend them back and perhaps you’re better off just leaving them a little bent. I broke a couple of these trying to bend them back to their original shape and I honestly doubt the little bit of bend they had in them at the time would have even effected the action of the bait.
Is the Neko Skirt necessary?
I’m not sure if the skirt really does all that much to improve the presentation in many situations, but I do like it and I think it could be beneficial in a couple of particular scenarios. A Neko rig is already super effective, so it’s hard to say for sure if the Neko Skirt draws more strikes than a regular Neko rig would. I tested this bait out down in Florida and I will say that I did have a little more confidence in that tannic water with the skirting than I would have with a standard Neko rig.
I liked the Neko Skirt around vegetation and the mucky bottom and believe it did help the fish find the bait a bit better in the dark-colored water. It could just be a confidence thing, I’ll admit that, but it boosted my confidence nonetheless. I don’t know if I’d want to use the Neko Skirt every time I use a Neko rig but I like having the option to mix it in. I especially like the added glitter and flare in lower visibility situations and around vegetation.
Lots of options
The VMC Neko Skirt comes in 8 color choices to specifically complement nearly any soft plastic you’re fishing with. The weights also come in four different sizes ranging from 1/32-ounce to 1/8-ounce, giving you a pretty good range to choose from. The Neko Skirts come two to a pack for $2.99 and definitely give you a new way to dress up a widely used technique.
It’ll take some time to decipher which situations call for the Neko Skirt and which ones you’re better off using a traditional Neko weight for, but I do believe the Neko Skirt is worth using to see if it ups your overall Neko Rig game. This technique is popular because it works. But as with any popular technique, it’ll become less and less effective as more people use it. VMC has done a fine job bringing something to market in the Neko Skirt that gives fans of the technique a little something to set their rig apart.
The VMC Neko Skirt is available at the following retailers: