One of the newest ways that bass anglers are rigging their soft plastic baits is the Tokyo Rig. It is just starting to take hold in America, and if you haven’t heard of it, you soon will. The Tokyo Rig can be fished with a wide variety of baits, and more unique ways are continually being discovered.
What is the Tokyo Rig?
The simplest way to describe the Tokyo Rig is a hook connected to a short three-inch wire. You then affix a weight to the wire and bend the wire at the bottom. The hook and wire are connected to a ring with a barrel swivel attached to help prevent line twists.
VMC has taken the lead in introducing this rig to the masses and produces several varieties with different hook configurations, but you can easily make your own. All you need to do is a piece of sturdy wire, a split ring, a barrel swivel, and your favorite hook.
The beauty of this rig is that the soft plastic bait of your choice can be Texas-rigged, and you can add any weight size you desire. The entire package is compact and looks like a miniature drop-shot rig that can be fished anywhere. It will remain weedless and still has the great action of fishing a drop-shot rig.
Four Ways to Fish a Tokyo Rig
Since the weight and plastic choices are up to you, the possibilities for when and where to fish a Tokyo Rig are endless.
Four most effective ways to utilize this new rig are flipping and pitching around grass, fishing offshore with creature baits, sight-fishing, and fishing a swimbait.
But, there really isn’t a wrong place to use the Tokyo Rig, and as quickly as it has become a go-to, more ideas and ways to fish it are sure to follow.
Pitching and Flipping
This is one of the more popular ways to fish the Tokyo Rig, and it has many benefits. Instead of fishing a standard Texas Rig, you can get a different action from your baits while remaining weedless and compact.
One of the reasons the drop-shot rig is so deadly is because it allows the bait to sit above the bottom, and each rod movement will impart more action than a standard Texas Rig. Flipping and pitching with a Tokyo Rig is much more weedless than fishing a drop-shot around grass and other snaggy cover.
It can be flipped and pitched into cover and then shaken in place. This adds to the effectiveness of fishing the rig this way and gives the fish a look that they are not used to seeing inside of thick cover. Adjust your weight size based on the depth and how nasty the cover is, and you can cover just about any situation.
As the rig has evolved, you can purchase a Tokyo Rig with a heavy-duty straight shank flipping hook. These stout hooks can handle bulky soft plastics like creature baits and beavers and are beefy enough to be fished on even the heaviest flipping rods with braided line.
One of the standard ways anglers fish offshore is with a drop-shot, Texas-Rig, or a jig. The Tokyo Rig with a creature bait takes a little bit of each of these and offers the action of a drop-shot, the weedless nature of a Texas rig, and the bulky profile of a jig.
Fishing a Tokyo Rig offshore in deeper water can be hopped along the bottom or dragged slowly without as many hang-ups due to the rig's design. It is truly noticeable how well the rig comes through snags and how easily it comes free if it does hang up.
Some of the best soft baits to fish offshore with this rig are creature baits, beavers, and hula grubs, but others will work.
The Tokyo Rig is an excellent choice when targeting bedding bass for the same reasons it excels when fishing offshore or flipping and pitching. It offers a compact profile and can be shaken in place to create plenty of movement without much work.
The lure choices here are endless, but small creature baits and soft-plastic stick worms will maximize the action of the rig.
When fishing deep water with paddle tail swimbaits, rigging them on a jighead is the most popular choice. The size of jigheads varies greatly, but generally, there is a limit to how big you can go for a standard three to five-inch bait without a too-large hook.
When fishing a Tokyo Rig for swimbaits, adding a heavy one-ounce or larger tungsten flipping weight can allow you to get the bait down quickly. A heavier weight also keeps it in the strike zone along the bottom for longer. Using a big weight with a swimbait also allows you to move the bait faster without the rise that often happens with a jighead.
The added benefits of snagging less and having better contact with the bottom make fishing a swimbait even better.
The Tokyo Rig is the latest in many new ways to fish soft plastic baits. The effectiveness and versatility of the new rig have quickly made it a favorite of bass anglers everywhere. As it continues to gain popularity, we will see it evolve even more.