August 05, 2019
By Ned Kehde
In Oct 12, 2006, Strike King Lure Company’s Zero Stick Worm played a pivotal role in the history of Midwest finesse fishing. It was on that day at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs that the late Dick Bessey of Lawrence, Kansas, and I cut a green-pumpkin Zero in half. And we affixed a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin Zero to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head Jig. For four hours, we used those two rigs to catch 109 largemouth bass, two wipers, one walleye, and one channel catfish. When we made our last casts, those two Zeros were still affixed to our jigs. To our delight and surprise, we were able to use those same two Zeros and jigs to catch many more largemouth bass in the days to come. By the way, we noticed that the more tattered and torn that they became that they seemed to become more alluring to the largemouth bass that we were pursuing.
Since 2016, the 2 1/2-inch Zero has continued to play a pivotal role in the tactics of scores of Midwest finesse anglers.
Now Strike King is purposefully expanding its Midwest finesse repertoire. At the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida, on July 9-12, 2019, it introduced the Ned Ocho and two other Midwest finesse baits and a Midwest finesse jig to the angling world.
In June, we exchanged several emails and talked on the telephone about the Ned Ocho with Mark Copley of Collierville, Tennessee, who is Strike King’s Marketing Relationship Manager, and Crispin Powley of Camden, Tennessee, who is Director of Product Development. And they sent us some samples of the Ned Ocho to examine, describe, and use.
Here is what we discovered about it:
It is a 2 3/4-inch soft-plastic stick-style bait. But it does not possess the cylinder-shape of the Zero. Instead, it has a subtle eight-sided motif. Thus, the dorsal area, ventral area, and both sides have a slightly convex form.
Its sides are significantly larger than its dorsal and ventral sections, and the sides are segmented. Its two sides are identical, as are the dorsal and ventral sections.
Its anterior section, which stretches from the tip of its flat head to its junction with its clitellum, is fifteen-sixteenths of an inch long. Its flat head is five-sixteenths of an inch wide and three-eighths of an inch high with a circumference of about 1 1/8 inches. The dorsal and ventral sections of the anterior section are emblazoned with 17 minute ribs. Each of the two sides of the anterior section is endowed with seven minute ribs and three major ribs. The three major ribs are bisected.
At the junction of the clitellum and anterior section, the circumference of the Ned Ocho’s torso is about 1 5/16 inches.
The clitellum is thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long. The epidermis of its dorsal and ventral areas is smooth. Each side of the clitellum is adorned with five major ribs. One of the major ribs is about one-eighth of an inch wide and almost one-half of an inch wide. At its widest spot, the clitellum is seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 7/16 inches.
At the junction of the posterior section and the clitellum, the Ned Ocho’s torso possesses a circumference of about 1 5/16 inches.
The posterior section is 1 1/8 inches long. Its width and circumference decrease significantly as it approaches its tail end. At the junction of the posterior section and the clitellum, the circumference of the Ned Ocho’s torso is about 1 5/16 inches. The width of its dorsal section at this junction is three-eighths of an inch, and the width of the ventral section is the same. Near the end of the posterior section, the circumference is three-quarters of an inch. The tip of the tail is flat, and similar to its flat head, but it is considerably smaller, possessing a width of three-sixteenths of an inch and a height of one-quarter of an inch. Each side of the posterior section is endowed five major and five minor ribs. There are 21 minor ribs emblazoned on its dorsal and ventral areas.
The tip of the anterior section, which is its flat head, is where most anglers will insert the hook and collar of their jigs. But on July 3, we experimented with affixing a green-pumpkin Ned Ocho to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig to the tip of the anterior section and to the tip of the posterior section, and both riggings were effective. On that four-hour outing at a northeastern Kansas’ flatland reservoir, the two rigging styles caught 29 of the 35 largemouth bass that we caught. By using both ends of the Ned Ocho, anglers can increase its longevity. What’s more, we suspect that there might be spells when the posterior rigging will more fruitful than the anterior rigging.
We also like to rig it on a mushroom-style jig so the hook protrudes from the side of the Ned Ocho rather than its dorsal or ventral areas. In our eyes, this rigging seems to accentuate the gliding motif as the Ned Ocho is being retrieved.
Crispin Powley says that he prefers to rig it so that the hook protrudes from either the dorsal area or ventral area. And in his eyes, the tail quivers more alluringly when an angler retrieves the Ned Ocho across the bottom or with the deadstick motif.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Bama Craw, Black Blue Swirl, Blue Craw, Crawdaddy, Dirt, Green Pumpkin, Moon Juice, Morning Dawn, Okeechobee Craw, Red Bug, Summer Craw, and Watermelon Red Flake.
They are impregnated with a coffee scent. Less than five percent of its body weight consists of salt, and according to Crispin Powley, this allows the Ned Ocho to be buoyant and exhibit what he described as “‘a stand up’ manner on the bottom.” He also noted that “we customized the individual plastic formulas to what was best suited for the size and shape of each bait.” He called it “a ‘super floater’ formulation.”
Strike King’s suggested retail price for a package of eight is $6.99.
1. Here is a link to Strike King Lure Company’s website: https://www.strikeking.com/.
2. Since 2011, we have published several Midwest Finesse gear guides about Strike King’s soft-plastic lures.
Here are the links to some of those gear guides:
3. Since the beginning of the fall of 2006, Strike King’s four-inch Super Finesse Worm has also played a significant role in the repertoire of scores of Midwest finesse anglers. Here is a link to Strike King’s website that features the Super Finesse Worm: https://www.strikeking.com/products/4-super-finesse-worm.
4. When Midwest finesse anglers wield the Ned Ocho, they can present it to their black-bass quarries by employing the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves. Here is a link to a Midwest Finesse column that explains how to execute those retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.
5. In the near future, we will publish gear guides about Strike King’s new Rage Ned Bug, Rage Ned Cut-R Worm, and Ned Rig Head jig