Whether you’re punchin’ or flippin’, a VMC® Tokyo Rig will give your favorite soft-plastic bait better action, improve your hook-up ratio and put more bass in your boat.
To meet the needs of changing conditions and angler fishing-style preferences, Tokyo Rigs are available with three hook options – Heavy Duty Wide Gap Hook, Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook and Heavy Duty Worm Hook.
“There’s three hooks bass guys use – now we’ve got all of them on a Tokyo Rig,” says Rapala Pro Mike Iaconelli, who played an instrumental role in developing VMC’s innovative and versatile bait-presentation rig. “There’s nowhere in the water column where you can’t fish this rig and catch big bass.”
Imagine a drop-shot rig on steroids – with a big hook and indestructible metal leader. That’s a Tokyo Rig. It comprises a Heavy Duty hook, barrel-swivel, welded O-Ring, and a 2 ½-inch rigid-wire dropper arm to which you can attach a weight or two of your choice. The original model featured a Wide Gap hook. The Flippin’ Hook and Worm Hook models soon followed, making the innovative fishing system more versatile.
The Tokyo Rig’s key design innovation is how it positions its weight – often, a very heavy one – below your bait and away from the impact zone. This helps ensure nothing gets between a bass and the hook during the hookset.
“Your weight doesn’t get in the way,” Iaconelli says. “The hook is unimpeded, so there is nothing there to stop that instant hookset.”
Easily customizable, a Tokyo Rig can carry enough weight to punch mats, flip heavy cover, or probe deep vegetation. To keep your weight(s) in place, simply use a narrow-nose pliers to bend back the end of the rig’s rigid, 2 ½-inch dropper wire.
Tokyo Rigs enable your favorite soft-plastic baits to impart much more action than punch rigs or Texas Rigs allow. “It’s free-flowing, side to side, up and down action,” Iaconelli says. “It’s not obstructing the action of the bait.”
Heavy Duty Wide Gap Tokyo Rig®
The original Tokyo Rig was designed as a pre-made set-up for “punch-shotting,” a technique Iaconelli first learned on the waters of Japan. Punch-shotting is best explained as heavy-duty drop-shotting through thick vegetation mats.
“I love to fish this thing as a punch-bait,” Iaconelli says. “That big, heavy weight below the bait is going to act as a ball and chain and it will suck it under that mat. Once it’s under the mat, that bait is free-flowing — something they’ve never seen.”
Compared to typical results with a traditional punch-bait set-up, the original Tokyo Rig can dramatically increase your hook-up ratio when targeting bass under hydrilla mats or in other thick vegetation.
“I can’t tell you how many times before when I was punching, had a killer bite, set the hook and came back with nothing,” Iaconelli recalls. “I missed the fish because I pried its mouth open — that big weight on the rig hurt me on the hookset. That doesn’t happen with a Tokyo Rig.”
The original Tokyo Rig can carry enough weight to punch through a thick mat or just enough weight to get down fast to bass buried in thick grass. When Iaconelli is punch-shotting, he favors two back-to-back VMC Tungsten Worm Weights. They slide in and out of heavy vegetation easily and “tick” when they collide.
Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook Tokyo Rig®
The Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook Tokyo Rig excels for flipping solid-body, soft-plastic baits in submerged vegetation. It will trigger more bites than a traditional offering like a Texas Rig, because it allows you to impart much more action to your favorite soft-plastic beaver, craw, tube or worm.
“You can leave your bait in one spot and just kind of shake it and get a lot of free action out of the bait,” explains Rapala Pro Seth Feider, a Bassmaster Elite Series contender. “The bait’s not really held down by the weight. It stays up, suspended from the bottom.”
The straight shank on a VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook features a double-spiked baitholder with opposing barbs that lock on softbaits. Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook Tokyo Rigs are available in three sizes: 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.
Heavy Duty Worm Hook Tokyo Rig®
The Heavy Duty Worm Hook Tokyo Rig is perfect for pitching smaller soft-plastic creature baits and worms around heavy cover like laydowns, bushes and stumps.
“You can set it in place and shake your rod and that bait will stay off the bottom in one spot, with a tremendous amount of action,” Iaconelli says.
VMC Heavy Duty Worm Hooks feature a 3-degree offset point, which can dramatically improve your hooking percentage. Heavy Duty Worm Hook Tokyo Rigs are available in four sizes: 2/0, 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.