As spring comes along, the bait we call a “Nedina” (a fat ned worm with a skirt) starts to fly out of the shop. We get more orders for this bait in the spring than for most others. But it is a good bait to use all year round. It looks somewhat like a cross between a fat stick worm and a skirted grub – and it is.
This is a bait that has not gotten a lot of attention of late, but one that some anglers swear on. It is as versatile as a normal stick worm and can be fished weighted or weightless. When rigged weightless, it can easily be skipped up under docks. Because of the size of the bait itself, it skips great, allowing an angler to make long casts up under docks to get to those fish other anglers miss.
This bait can be Texas rigged, used on a Carolina rig or even a shakey head. Obviously, it can even be put on a ned rig. The bait is soft, so it gets out of the way easier than one would think, leaving just the hook to get into the fish’s mouth. When fishing a shakey head, I prefer a football shakey head. It gives any bait a bit of a different action. Yes, it does get snagged up more in vegetation than a round shakey head. But I have found a good number of my bites come when I jerk the bait through the weeds hard enough that I clear the weeds from the bait. It seems to be something smallmouth in particular cannot stand and will trigger them to strike. A shakey head is my go to when things seem to get tough, and the Nedina is my newest favorite bait on that head.
A swing head can even be a great choice for our Nedina. Rig the bait with the skirt toward the back and try changing up the retrieve. It can be dumped along the bottom. It can be dragged or hopped. Even swimming it back to the boat at different depths in the water column can trigger strikes.
The direction in which to rig the bait when Texas rigging or using it weightless is a matter of personal preference. One thing I always pass on, though, is pegging the sinker if I have a weight on it. This allows both the weight and the bait to move up the line, out of the way of the hook. Some rig the bait with the “head” of it at the eye of the hook. I like to rig it with the skirt forward. Some people call this reverse rigging. In Japan they call it the back-slide setting.
Here is the thing with the back-slide setting. When we fish a Texas rig into cover, we pitch it into the cover and let it fall. When I pitch the Nedina with the skirt toward the eye of the hook, it does, essentially, “slide back.” I pitch it on a slack line and let it slide backward into the cover. This allows me to pitch at the edge of the cover and have the bait still get into it. It is a different presentation, and I think that is why it works so well. It is something fish do not see as often, so it piques their curiosity. I can also skip it along the edge of the cover and have it slide backward down into the sweet spot.
The Nedina is a great bait for many different situations. But, as I said, it seems to be one that has lost popularity in the last several years or more. It can offer a presentation that may just be different enough to get strikes on days when other option fail.