JLee’s Springtime Ned and Shakey Head Approach (ABU)
When it comes to springtime fishing, there is a multitude of ways to catch bass. Major League Fishing pro Jordan Lee is a proponent of high-percentage techniques that generate the most bites and the shakey head and Ned Rig are two of his top producers during the spring.
The Ned Rig
The explosion in popularity of this rig can be seen from the weekend angler to the most successful pro anglers today. Lee has learned that it can be an exceptional tool for catching fish during the spring months.
“It’s no secret, but it is hard to beat a Ned Rig. Especially in clear water situations and when targeting smallmouth or spotted bass,” he began.
Something that he has learned about the bite-sized rig is that it excels around docks.
“One of the best parts about it is how easily it skips under docks. Most of the fish this time of year are going to be in shallow water and it is a great way to catch them,” Lee said. “I fish it a lot under walkways and you can get it into places that you just can’t with a jig or shakey head.”
When skipping his Ned Rigs, or any bait for that matter, he likes a slightly shorter rod. His choice is the 6’10” medium-light Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod, but he also uses the Veracity in the same model.
“That’s my go-to spinning reel for all techniques and it makes a sweet combo with both the Fantasista and Veracity rod,” he added.
When it comes to the rest of the gear he uses for Ned Rig fishing, it is a long list of baits and different jig heads, but he has a few favorites for this time of year.
“I use quite a few different jigheads and plastics, but generally, the 1/10-ounce size is best for me for skipping a Ned Rig. I’ll use a Berkley The General or PowerBait Lug Worm a bunch and just cut them back, so they are about 3-inches long,” added the two-time Bassmaster Classic Champion.
The Power Shakey
The shakey head is most often associated with spinning gear, and Lee does his fair share of fishing it that way, but he also fishes a slightly bigger version on baitcast equipment during the spring months.
“I think there is a misconception that you always have to use spinning gear and only fish clear water with finesse techniques. That’s not always the case, especially during the spring,” Lee said. “I’ll still fish it in dirtier water and around some pretty nasty stuff.”
He will often fish a baitcast setup for shakey heads and fish them all-around cover. Nowhere is off-limits with his approach.
“I’ll fish it around docks, wood, rock, bushes, and other cover. It does a good job of not hanging up,” said Lee, who added that he often uses a creature bait such as the Berkley PowerBait Power Hawg on the back of a 1/8 or 3/16-ounce Berkley Fusion19 Shakey Head.
Another thing he will use this combo for is for bedding bass and he opts for it when targeting large spawning bass.
“I’ve caught some really big ones on places like Lake Chickamauga and I think it does so well as a bed fishing bait because the jighead keeps your bait standing up just right. It is better than a standard Texas-rig a lot of times,” added the Alabama pro.
He also prefers this setup so he can use heavier line and will fish it on both 15 and 17-pound fluorocarbon spooled on an 8.1:1 Abu Garcia REVO AL-F reel matched with a 7’3” medium-heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod.
Even when he does not visually see bass on beds, he is visualizing where they should be. “I’ll cast to anywhere where one should be and this time of year, I do a lot dragging it around a fish a lot slower than I do other times of the year,” said Lee.
Traditional Shakey Headin’
While the beefed-up baitcast shakey head has its time and place, Lee will also fish it more traditionally.
“I still fish a shakey head a bunch on a spinning rod in the spring and still target some of the cover like bushes and trees, but mainly the more sparse stuff,” said Lee. “The one thing I’ll do is upsize my fluorocarbon leader to 12-pound test.”
He uses the same braid and reel that he does for the Ned Rig, but goes with a 7’ medium Fantasista Premier or Veracity rod instead. For baits, he said it is hard to be the Berkley PowerBait Bottom Hopper.
The Shakey Head and Ned Rig are two rigs that will always catch fish and Jordan Lee relies on them heavily anytime bass are around the spawn.