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Honoring the Original Ned Rig Jig

Z-Man pro Miles "Sonar" Burghoff flashes his top OG Mushroom-rigged ElaZtech baits.

Call it the keystone of the original Ned Rig; the yin to the yang of ElaZtech®. The world's best finesse anglers have forever considered it the foundation of bass fishing's now-trendy technique. So, when Z-Man recently revealed its new OG Mushroom Jighead, everyone from Ned Kehde himself down to the last member of his influential finesse network, rejoiced.

The classic, original Ned Rig jighead is back and better than ever.

Matching the definitive half-head mushroom jig shape that defined an era of exceptionally successful anglers, the OG Mushroom Jighead has emerged from its refreshed, refined jig mold to reveal a model of elegant fish-catching simplicity. Angler-fans of the original mushroom design immediately recognize the clean, perfectly rounded edges, seamless paint apps and lock-and-hold molded-in double bait keeper.

Ned Kehde's favorite red OG Mushroom Jighead

"During the formative years of our Midwest finesse endeavors, this jig was among the primary tools we relied upon day in and day out," affirms Kehde, a Hall of Fame angler-communicator. "When the manufacturer of the original mushroom jighead closed its doors a few years ago, it left a gap in our angling arsenals. Z-Man started getting a lot of phone calls, folks pleading their case for a replica and a renaissance of this classic bass jig. Thankfully, they listened to us."

Kehde, who refers to a 1/16-ounce #4 mushroom jig as "the most unbeatable jig in the history of the world" breaks from tradition in more ways than one. A fan of small #4 and #2 jighooks and lurid red jigheads, Kehde himself was instrumental in resurrecting and delineating the fine-tuned attributes of Z-Man's OG Mushroom.

Gifting anglers with a personalized selection of Kehde's favorite finesse offerings, Z-Man endeavored to rebuild the classic jig with a digitally enhanced mold for maximum precision. Tough powder-coated paint finishes and pro-grade VMC jighooks further elevate the OG Mushrooms' allure.

Kehde's preferences yielded a 1/32-ounce #4, 1/16-ounce #4 and 3/32-ounce #2, each offered in red, blue, chartreuse, black and green pumpkin patterns. Interestingly, his all-time favorite color, fire-engine red, reflects a trick he learned from Japanese bass legend Shinichi Fukae.

"You can drag the OG Mushroom over rocky terrain and rarely get hung up—it's rounded crown rolling, pivoting and activating your bait," he suggests. "The small #4 hook makes folks immediately skeptical, but I feel I simply hook many more bass with minimal hookset pressure and believe I do way less damage to the fish with a smaller hook. Beyond that, a bigger hook just gets in the way of an ElaZtech bait's natural gyrations. Moreover, a smaller hook slides through brush and vegetation much better."

Kehde employs a retrieve method he calls no feel. "Most anglers prefer to fish a jig so they're in constant contact with it, mostly hopping it along bottom. But the way we prefer to fish, if you've got constant contact, it means your rig is too heavy."

Specifically, Kehde and friends swim, glide and shake the little jigs 6 to 12 inches above the bottom over 3 to 12 feet of water, primarily with 1/32- and 1/16-ounce jigheads. "You can't do this with a heavier ¼-ounce jig," he says. Rigged with a variety of Z-Man finesse baits, Kehde regularly chalks up over 20 bass per hour.

Meanwhile, exemplifying a new generation of talented young finesse anglers, FLW Tour pro Miles "Sonar" Burghoff ascribes the term ultra-finesse to next level presentations with the OG Mushroom Jig. "Ultra-finesse is all about a super slow rate of fall, micro baits and often, gin clear water," says the veteran Tennessee-based pro.

"In extreme conditions, bass can become both line- and hook-shy; they'll actually avoid your bait if the hook is too big. But rig a TRD TicklerZ™ or Finesse TRD™ on a little #2 or #4 hook and you start getting bites. In some cases, we're even trimming the already subtle Finesse TRD down a bit for even more finesse. At times, this is a killer little trick.

"Add an extra-slow rate of fall and you've got an awesome triggering move for finicky fish. To many anglers, 1/32 and 1/16 ounce jigs sound crazy. But man, these little can jigs take your finesse game to a whole other level."

Burghoff calls further attention to the jig's special colors. "A blue jig, for example, gives the fish something a little different. Often, they'll react favorably to one of these colors they don't see very often. At increased depths, many colors lose their luster, but blue maintains its vibrancy down there."

Married to the "OG" of the bait world, the jig's double bait keeper locks a Z-Man Finesse TRD into optimum position, snugging tight against the flat underside of the mushroom. Burghoff especially likes pairing the jig with a TRD TicklerZ, "the smallest, subtlest of all ElaZtech finesse baits."

"The OG really is a true, old-school mushroom head," he adds. "The jig's got no sharp edges or imperfections. It has a seamless quality to it that lets you drag it through gravel without catching or hanging up. The lighter jighead lets you fish it over rocky surfaces or sparse vegetation without snagging up.

"Maybe the coolest thing about the OG is you can fish it any way you want. Skip it around docks. Slow-swim it with a Slim SwimZ™ paddletail. The 90-degree angle between eyelet and hook shank creates a sweet shimmying action when you use it as a finesse swimbait head. And that sharp little VMC hook doesn't take a lot of pressure to set. Tie it to a quality 4- or 6-pound fluorocarbon, such as Seaguar Gold Label, and you're good to go."

Built for anglers of every skill level, the OG Mushroom Jighead honors the tradition, craftsmanship and allure of the original gangster of mushroom jigs. Available now at outdoor retailers nationwide or by visiting www.zmanfishing.com.

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