Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Working the Neko rig

(Photo courtesy of Rapala) Used:

Cliff Pace, a B.A.S.S. Elite Pro, won the 2013 Bassmaster Classic throwing a jig and pig at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. In the B.A.S.S. 2018 media guide, Pace identifies his signature fishing strength as versatility. Watching him tie baits to rods the day before the 2018 Classic at Lake Hartwell was proof of that versatility.


Pace was readying identical Jackall Neko Flick worms with a BOSS Jig Head he customizes with a bit of surgery. Using wirecutter pliers, he clips the eye from the jighead and then cuts the shank of the hook just below the spiral wire bait keeper. That surgery by “Dr. Pace” transforms the former jighead into the perfect weight that he inserts into the head of his Neko worm. 


A straight shanked 1/0 hook is his choice for the Neko rig. The last component for Pace’s Neko rig is a black O-ring that is fitted halfway down the worm. He slips the 1/0 hook between the O-ring and the worm, leaving the hookpoint exposed for better hookups.


“This is a finesse technique that works best on outside edges of grasslines and around boat docks,” said Pace. 


The 14-year B.A.S.S. pro describes his Neko rig fishing technique as “shaking the bait in place” rather than hopping it. Pace uses 20-pound test braided line with an 8-pound test flurocarbon leader on spinning tackle for his Neko rigs.


Pace was not the only 2018 Classic contender tying on Neko rigs at Lake Hartwell. Given the bass fishing pressure on Buckeye waters, maybe you should consider being as versatile as Elite pro Pace and throw his customized Neko rig this summer.

        — Doug Clifford

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