From his first flip into thick grass, Seth Feider knew VMC’s Tokyo Rig® would put more big bass into his boat than traditional Texas or punch rigs. Not only does it penetrate the thick stuff better, it makes his baits more lifelike and boosts his hook-up ratio.
“The cool thing about this bait, when you’re flipping it in there and shaking it – vs. a regular Texas Rig – that fish is going to come up and he’s just going to eat that whole bait and you’re not going to have any of that other stuff in his mouth,” Feider says in a Wired2Fish video of his first trip fishing with a Tokyo Rig. “You’re going to have a really good hook-up ratio.”
The VMC® Tokyo Rig’s key innovation is positioning its weight below – rather than above – its hook and away from the impact zone. This ensures that nothing gets between a bass and your hook during your hookset.
“When you’re flipping that super, super heavy cover … your landing percentage is going to go up tremendously fishing a rig like this vs. a standard Texas Rig with a lock-down sinker or pegged sinker that’s not getting out of the way,” Feider explains.
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 VMC Heavy Duty Wide Gap hook. New models will come armed with a VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook or Heavy Duty Worm Hook.
In the dog days of summer, flipping thick submerged vegetation with rigs weighted with ¾ to 2-oz. tungsten sinkers is often the best way to get bass to bite. But it’s also been one of the hardest ways to keep them buttoned on. Tokyo Rigs do both jobs better, triggering more bites and bringing more bass into the boat.
“The hooking percentage is insane,” Feider says. “And where I’m hooking them seems to be a lot different. Without that weight in the front … it seems like my hook penetration has been a lot deeper on all these fish too. Rather than getting them in the edge of the lip, I’m getting them hooked deep.”
On the Elite Series, Feider fishes many waterbodies that often host multiple bass tournaments every weekend. On those heavily pressured reservoirs, Feider says, “the fish are seeing a lot of baits that do the same thing – they fall to the bottom, they hop a few times, they’re out of their face.” A Tokyo Rig, however, allows Feider to impart more and different action to his favorite soft-plastic flippin’ baits than does a Texas or punch rig.
“With this rig, I can really put a lot of action on that bait without moving it a long ways,” Feider says. “I can just shake my rod in there and aggravate that fish into biting … even if he wants to stare at it a little while before he bites it.”
Feider targets deeper water with thick, tall clumps of submerged grass and resident bluegills. “If I can see those tall, thick clumps with a bunch of bluegills around them, there’s probably going to be some bass sitting in the middle of them,” he says. “These deep fish, there’s going to be a lot less areas with fish, but when you do find them, you’re going to find large concentrations of bass.”
Easily customizable, a Tokyo Rig can carry enough weight to punch through a mat of vegetation or just enough weight to get down fast to bass buried in thick grass.
“It drops straight-vertical every time,” Feider says. “It slides down through the stuff really good. … I’m getting good penetration.”
To keep your weight(s) in place on a Tokyo Rig, grab a narrow-nose pliers and bend back the end of the rig’s rigid, 2 1/2-inch dropper wire. Iaconelli favors two back-to-back VMC Tungsten Worm Weights. They slide in and out of heavy vegetation easily and “tick” when they collide, he says.
“A lot of times, when fish are in thick grass, they have really limited visibility,” Feider says. “There’s so much grass down there, they can’t see a lot. … Being able to shake it in there, giving it that vibration, leaving it in that clump … they can find it in that thick grass
The new Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook Tokyo Rig excels for flipping solid-body, soft-plastic baits, like beavers, in submerged vegetation.
The Heavy Duty Worm Hook Tokyo Rig is perfect for pitching smaller soft-plastic creature baits and worms around heavy cover.
A Tokyo Rig will provide a better landing ratio as well – meaning less fish lost to jumps and head shakes. That’s because it allows a fish much less leverage than a Texas or punch rig.
“It seems like once you get over an ounce and a half [weight], they have so much leverage when they come out of there and jump that you really tend to lose a lot of fish flipping a really big weight,” Feider says. “Now you can downsize your weight and get it out of the way.”