You know, the thing about bass fishing and the different lures and techniques we use is some of them have been around for decades. You know, like jigs, worms, crankbait, spinnerbaits. They've been around for a very long time, and they continue to produce year after year consistently. They've become the mainstay, right? They've become a tool in every bass angler's arsenal.
Then on the other end of the spectrum, it's all the new stuff that's coming out. So, today, I'm always telling you about all the mainstays, right? I've been telling you about all the bread and butter stuff. This time I wanna talk about the new techniques, the new lures that are just coming out, that some of them have been around for a while, but they really haven't taken on yet here in the U.S. So let's dive right into it.
First one I wanna talk about is the free rig. Now, the free rig, I wanna say right up front, it came from Korea, not Japan. And a lot of guys think it came from Japan, but the free rig actually came from Korea. It was made popular in the U.S. by pro-angler Shin Fukae. So, maybe that's why people think it came from Japan because he's from Japan. But nonetheless, he adopted it along with a lot of other Japanese anglers, and now it's over here in the U.S. And man, it catches fish. I've been using it and I really like it. The thing about it is the way it works is you have this weight. It's a cylindrical weight that it has a loop on the top of it, and it slides up and down the line really easy, hence the name free rig.
And what that enables you to do is when you cast out the bait, excuse me, the weight slides down the line rapidly and the bait follows behind it. And then when the weight hits the bottom, the bait just kind of, you know, sachets back and forth, spirals. And it changes speed too. And that change in motion oftentimes is what triggers a bite. So, it works typically deeper than 5 feet of water. So you can get that action. Now, once you get to the bottom and you reel up on it, now the weight's up against the bait, you lift up the rod really high and drop it right away and give that immediate slack, and that weight will slide right back down the line again and starts all over again.
I've heard a lot of guys say, "Oh, it's just like an un-pegged Texas Rig." No, it is not for a couple of reasons. First of all, bullet sinker is gonna get hung up more often. This is a cylindrical weight. It really goes through all kinds... It goes through rocks very easily, and boulders, and chunk rock. Whereas, you know, a bullet weight doesn't. And it picks up a lot less weeds and things like that due to its shape. But the main thing is because it slides so easily up and down the line. A bullet sinker just doesn't slide that easily. There's too much friction there. It's a small hole. It doesn't slide up and down the line like you want it to, not like this. And it's that gap between the weight and the bait is what really makes the difference. Now, the baits, you can use pretty much any Texas Rig bait, although I like to use compact ones like the Rage Tail Rage Bug. That works really well. A Rage Craw. You know, something small like that rather than a large worm. But you can use a worm if you want to. You can even use a Senko if you want to. It's so versatile.
And the bass just hair it up, man. They really do. It's a great tactic to use. It really hasn't caught on that much in the U.S. and I implore you to try it because you're missing out on a heck of a lot of fun, and a lot of good fish. The other thing about it too is the way when you throw it, because it goes straight down, it's a great way to get a bait right on the base of bridge pilings or like a sea wall or something like that, where you have a vertical presentation and the bass are snug right up against the base of it. The Texas Rig, it tends to slide away from it. Even if the bullet sinker is un-pegged, it still slides down at an angle and it'll pull that bait away from that structure you're trying to fish, or cover you're trying to fish. That free rig, it'll go straight down right alongside of it. So, another way to get to those bass that other people are missing.
The next setup that I wanna talk about, that actually did come from Japan, and that is the Tokyo Rig. The Tokyo Rig, that is... So, what you've got here is you've got a wire that connects to the eye of the hook via a split ring. And the cool thing about it is it's kind of like a mini drop shot. You can adjust the distance between the weight and the hook by just cutting off the wire. And you can use a bullet sinker for this, or, you know, split shot, whatever you want. But the idea here is when you cast out, sure, the weight's in front, and so it allows it to go straight down. Whereas if you had the bullet sinker, you know, and then the line coming out of that, it can swing away from the cover you're trying. So the Tokyo Rig is more of a vertical presentation. But once you get it on the bottom, you can lift it up just a bit and get the bait off the bottom, but the weight's still touching, and it gives this vertical presentation. It's horizontal. This is horizontal, Glenn. Gives a horizontal presentation. And that's the cool thing about it, is you just get it off the bottom and slowly reel it back in your bait, like a Rage bug, or maybe a paddle tail, or maybe a fluke. You can just go right alongside the bottom horizontally. It looks like a little bait fish that's foraging on the bottom, and that's the cool thing about it. You can't get that with, say, a Texas Rig or a football head jig where the weight's all forward, then it goes nose down.
The other thing about it, because it's holding down below and the weight's down below it, and you can give this horizontal presentation, it works great with paddle tail swim baits. It works really good, it gives a great presentation for that, it keeps them horizontal as you bring it through the water column even better than say a Keel Weighted Hook. Because even with a Keel Weighted Hook, it is somewhat nose-heavy. It's so down, far below it. It kind of works, I don't know. Hard to explain kind of how it works. You have to see it to believe it. That horizontal presentation really is something that the bass key on. So, try out the Tokyo Rig.
Another rig is the Jika Rig. The Jika Rig is similar to the Tokyo Rig, but the Jika Rig here, you've got the weight is cylindrical, number one, and number two, it is connected directly to the eye of the hook via a split ring. What that does is a couple of things. First of all, you're lined where it connects to the hook is above the weight. So when you cast out, it goes straight down. It's a vertical. That weight actually pulls everything else down. And that enables you to fish vertical structure, it enables you to fish, say weeds that, you know, come up from the bottom in strands like coontail and hydrilla and other forms of weeds. You can get right down in between all that stuff without getting so tangled up.
Another thing that allows you to do is, what I like is it's just a real subtle presentation. The bait is free behind the weight, kind of like a wobble head. So it swings back and forth and undulates independent of the weight. So it gives it more action, it's more lively. When it falls, it has more action to it. So, that elicits strikes as well. It's become one of my... I've almost replaced the way I flip and pitch now because I use the Jika Rig instead. Because you can get into cover easier, that cylindrical weight slithers through thick cover better. And it comes out too, it doesn't get hung up as much. So, it's something that if you do a lot of flipping and pitching, you might wanna try a Jika Rig because you'll find it actually presents the bait a bit better and you don't get as much getting back, and you don't get hung up as much. So, something definitely to try.
Another bait, a bait type that's come outta Japan. Now, why does this keep coming outta Japan? Why do we keep... Look, Japan, it has relatively few bass waters compared to the population. So, the water's heavily pressured, man. There are lots of bass anglers both on the shore and on the water. These bass get pounded. So, the Japanese have really worked hard to come up with innovative ways to catch these highly pressured bass, a lot of times in very clear water. And so it's been tested and tried. Some of these things I'm telling you about have been around for years, but it's just now coming into the limelight here in the U.S. So, keep in mind, these aren't like brand new. I'm not like earth-shattering, but it is new to a lot of people in the U.S.
So, the next type of bait I wanna talk about is, for lack of a better word description, they're called poop baits because, well, they look like, come on, it looks like poop. You know, I gotta tell you, the first time I saw one of these, I was like, really? This is gimmicky. This is not gonna work. It's not gonna catch fish. Similar to the same reaction I had the first time I saw a Senko, right? Boy, was I ever wrong with the Senko. And it's kind of the same way with these poop baits. Ironically, they're fished very similarly. What you do is you rig them weightless. You throw 'em out and let 'em fall on slack line and let them do the work. They kind of do a sachet fall. And that unobtrusive, doesn't make a lot of noise, vibration, and stuff like that. It's subtle presentation. And I don't know what it is. I don't know what the bass think it is, but boy, they slam it. They take it. I mean, when you're throwing this bait, they annihilate it. It's very aggressive bite.
There's a couple of different brands out there and they do a little bit subtle different actions, but the big thing to note is the weight difference and the size difference. You know, the bigger ones, you can throw 'em on bait casters, you can even flip and pitch with them. You can cast them just like you... I mean, they're like 1/2 ounce. I mean, they're heavy. It's like 1/2 ounce jig. So, you don't need to put an extra weight on there. The smaller ones, if you're really adept at bait casting, you can throw 'em with a bait caster as well. But you can also use spinning gear on those too. And both largemouth and smallmouth like these baits.
So, doesn't matter where you live in the country, these can be thrown, you know, in rocks, like in the wood, they can be thrown in heavy cover. And the bass nail 'em. The one drawback, and I think the reason why they maybe not have gotten that popular yet in the U.S. is the cost. A lot of these, it's like 10 to 12 bucks a bag, and that's because it's a big chunk of plastic. So there's a lot of meat there and it's expensive. So maybe that's why it hasn't got so popular. But there are brands coming out with less expensive options. Yamamoto has one. I think Missile Baits has another that are like around the six-dollar-a-bag cost. So, they're getting better at that. So, don't let cost get in the way of you. And also know, because these baits are dense, they hold up. You can catch fish after fish before they're all tore up. They're not like one-fish wonders. So you kind of get your money's worth because of that. So, go out and try these guys. It's a lot of fun. It's a different kind of bait. And it's neat, especially when you need a little bit more subtle approach and with some bulk to it, that's the kind of bait you should be throwing.
The next bait, it's relatively new, again, from Japan. Coming to you from Japan. It's called hover strolling. All right? This is a unique way to present bait fish type imitating plastics in a horizontal fashion. What you do with this is that you have a hook that's got a 90-degree bend with the eye. So, the eye sticks out of the top of the bait. And then what you do is you take a nail weight and slide that up right beside or underneath the shank of the hook.
What that enables the bait to do is to fall at a horizontal fall. It's not nose heavy, so it falls horizontally rather than nose down. Now, this works great for like grubs. I've tried it with grubs. That actually looks pretty good with grubs. Fluke-style baits. Anything that's, you know, a bait fish imitator. The drawback with it is that that nail weight comes out after a while. If you've been casting a bit. You're tearing up the bait as it is when you put, you know, these weights in it. And after a while, next thing you know, there goes your weight when you make a cast, it's like, [vocalization]. And that can get expensive, especially if you're using tungsten weights.
So, now they're coming out with jigheads designed specifically for this technique. Now, take a look at this jighead. What you can see here is the weight goes along the shank of the hook, much like a nail weight. And that's the critical component of it. That enables it to have that horizontal fall. Plus, see the eye, it sticks straight up. That's where you tie it. So, it's a little bit tricky to rig it at first because you've gotta thread the bait on through the whole length of the hook. And then the head, you've gotta pull that apart and, you know, pull that down and stick the head of the jig head back into the nose of the bait. Takes a little practice to do that. You might tear up a bait or two when you're first learning how to do it. But once you do that, now you're not gonna lose the weight at all.
And all you do is you throw it out and let it fall through... There's two different ways to do this. One is sort of a mid-column presentation. So say you're in 15 feet of water, you let the bait go down to about 7 foot, 7 1/2 feet, and then just slowly reel it back in. It's just that simple. It's just super easy. It's very unobtrusive, very subtle approach. It's a natural-looking bait. And the bass will come up and annihilate this thing. I mean, it's funny how aggressive the bite is. That kind of blows me away. So you're just barely moving along and then bam, they wanna rip that rod right outta your hand. But you can also very...you can lift the rod up and lift it down as you reel or pause it, that kind of thing.
The other way is you can do it off the bottom just like you would a jig. You know, you lift up and let it drop, lift up, let it drop as you reel it in and pauses in between. And it kind of looks like a bait fish foraging on the bottom. But that technique tends to work really well as well. So, couple of different ways you can fish this. It is an open hook, but as you can see, you can get the hooks with the wire guard on it. So, you can throw this in heavier cover. You're not limited to just open space. So, throwing around docks, throwing around weedy cover. As long as the cover's not too heavy, it'll come right through just fine. It's very much like a jig. So, don't be afraid to throw this in heavier cover. It's a presentation. It's a look that a lot of bass aren't accustomed to seeing, and that's why it works so well. So, give it a go, guys. These are some of the hot new techniques that are out on the market right now, new baits. Try 'em out. You're missing out if you're not. Hope that helps. We'll see you on the water.