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Brandon Palaniuk and the Neko rig

Dave Landahl
Published May 23, 2017

Professional anglers and weekend warriors alike are always looking for a little advantage when trying to catch bass. Of course, that makes sense, since we either have limited days to fish or limited time on the water due to tournament check-in times.

In Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk's case, he seeks any legal advantage he can to boat more bass due to tournament time limits and the drive to win every event he fishes.

Brandon Palaniuk (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)
So, what little trick is the winner of the recent Toyota Texas Bass Fest gonna share with us? Well, it's nothing really new if you've been paying attention to the bass fishing world over the last decade, but it is still pretty cool and something to add to your arsenal. Brandon's hot on the Neko rig right now, since that set-up helped win Bass Fest.

"The Neko rig doesn't necessarily give you a huge advantage over other finesse rigs," said Palaniuk. "It is just another option to add to your skills.

"The way it is rigged creates a different look that I think the fish don't see that often. It's not fished nearly as much as the drop-shot or a wacky rig.

"You skin hook the lure along the length of a worm. Not through the middle like the wacky rig. Then you insert a weight in the fat end of the worm. The weight pulls the bait to the bottom, and when you work it, I believe it looks like a feeding minnow or other prey species. It appears vulnerable to the bass and they take the easy meal."

Brandon keeps it really simple when it comes to his Neko rig gear. He spools his spinning gear with 15-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid and ties on a 10-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader.

His rod of choice is a 7-foot medium action Alpha Angler Wrench spinning rod and an Abu Garcia MGX spinning reel.

"The entire set-up is pretty basic," said Palaniuk. "You can use whatever worm you want, but for my money, the Zoom Magnum Trick Worm is the way to go.

"And as far as the hook, you can't beat the VMC Neko Rig hook. That hook is money, by far the best one out there. Add a VMC Half Moon weight, and you are all set."

Click here for more on the Neko rig.