Why You Need To Fish The Tokyo Rig For Bass


The VMC Tokyo Rig has been tearing up the bass scene since its release a few years ago. Now available in four models, each with a different hook style, the Tokyo Rig is more versatile than ever. From power-punching heavy cover for largemouth to dancing a finesse plastic along a rocky bottom for smallmouth, this unique rig flat out catches bass. Here’s a look at the Tokyo Rig’s breakthrough design and its advantages.


Tokyo Rig Construction

The Tokyo Rig has a unique design. It’s components are held together on a welded O-Ring. Think of this band like a key chain ring, except it holds the Tokyo Rig’s rugged, 2-1/2” metal dropper arm, a barrel-swivel line tie and a VMC hook.



This design positions the weight below – rather than above – the hook and away from the impact zone. Nothing gets between a bass and the hook during your hookset, unlike a standard Texas rig with a weight at its nose. But, lets pause the rig’s advantages and review the weights and baits needed for a complete presentation.


Adding Weights

A Tokyo Rig’s wire arm can hold various weight styles. We suggest VMC’s Tungsten Worm, Tungsten Slider and Tungsten Flip’n weights.



Attach a weight by sliding it on the dropper arm. Then, use narrow-nose pliers to bend back the end of the wire so the sinker doesn’t slip off.



Many pros use two back-to-back tungsten worm weights. This compact approach helps the rig go in and out of heavy vegetation. Two weights also clack when they hit each other, creating vibrations to attract bass.


Tokyo Rig Baits

The Tokyo Rig Heavy Duty Worm, Flippin’ and Wide Gap models are perfect for weedless rigging meaty bass plastics. Top picks are the Ninja Craw, Wobble Craw, Invader, Lizzy and Big Squirm worm.



The new Tokyo Rig Finesse Neko is for subtle soft-plastics. It’s designed for weedless rigging baits like the Vertigo Minnow or Joy Stick Ultra Thin worm. Wacky rigging works, too; be sure to check out the new Crossover Pliers and durable Crossover Rings for this approach.



Advantage #1: Easily Punch Through Cover

Now, you may be wondering: “I catch bass on Texas rigs and punching set-ups, why change?” For one, the Tokyo Rig is more efficient at fishing cover, letting you make more casts in a day. Its weighted wire arm leads the charge. It effortlessly punches through surface mat and submerged vegetation, like thick milfoil clumps, and drags the rest of the rig through the open path.


The Tokyo Rig also exits cover smoothly. Raised quickly, the wire arm and hook fold together on the O-Ring, creating a compact package.


Advantage #2: More Bait Action

The Tokyo Rig’s one-of-a-kind design gives a plastic extra action. With the hook separated from the weight, the bait swings freely on the O-Ring. The design maximizes bait action, even when kept stationary. For instance, lightly shaking line without moving the Tokyo Rig forward makes a bait come alive and gets bites from fussy bass on high-percentage spots.


When a Tokyo Rig is pulled across bottom, the wire arm also enhances bait movement. As it bumps along, the stiff arm moves the rig and gives the bait extra appeal.


Advantage #3: Versatility

The Tokyo Rig can also be rigged with a crayfish or creature and fished fast along bottom to cover water and trigger reaction strikes. It casts extremely far. One can also add as much weight as needed to maintain bottom contact without restricting its action. The rig’s metal components also transmit vibrations, giving an angler a feel for what’s on bottom, such as sand, rock and shell beds. And, should you stumble on a weed-covered hump while fishing offshore, no need for a different rod. Just flip away with the versatile Tokyo Rig.


Advantage 4: Stays Visible

Another virtue is the 2-1/2” wire arm lifts the bait off bottom, making it visible to bass. This helps in any fishing scenario, but can be particularly effective when bass are eating gobies, sculpins, crayfish and other bottom-oriented prey.


Advantage #5: Phenomenal Hook-Up Rates

As noted earlier, expect excellent hooking and landing percentages from the Tokyo Rig given its weight and hook are separated. The hook swinging on the ring also makes it easier for a bass to eat the bait, and the VMC’s premium, ultra-sharp hook performs flawlessly when you load the rod. At this stage, the rig’s bait-weight separation and O-Ring also works in your favour, limiting a fish’s ability to leverage the weight to free the hook.


Rod Combos And Line

There’s no need for specialty set-ups with the Tokyo Rig. If you flip 3/4-ounce, Texas-rigged plastics on a medium-heavy casting rod, like a 7’3” Omen Black Gen III, with 40-pound Sufix ProMix Braid to a fluorocarbon leader, this will do the job with a similarly weighted Tokyo Rig. For casting and dragging bottom, use a medium to medium-heavy rod as one would for football jig tactics. Line could be 30-pound Sufix ProMix Braid with a fluorocarbon leader or straight, 15-pound Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon.


13 Fishing Omen Black Rods



Fish Tokyo Rig Finesse Neko and subtle plastics on a medium-light or medium spinning rod, like the 7’ to 7’6’ Omen Black or Fate Black Gen IIIs. Use 8- to 10-pound Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon or 10-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline or Sufix 131 Braid with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.



Sufix 131 Braid


If you haven’t fished the Tokyo Rig yet, you really should. It’s a versatile option for presenting soft-plastics and largemouth and smallmouth bass can’t get enough of it.