Flipping and Pitching a Tokyo Rig for Summer Bass

Flipping and Pitching a Tokyo Rig


The streamlined Tokyo rig is ideal for pitching to heavy cover when paired with an appropriately heavy weight. Bass anglers who use it for this application often refer to it as the 'Punch Shot' rig for its ability to punch through matted vegetation and come out clean.

To pitch the Tokyo rig, begin with the weight in one hand and the rod in the other. As you let go of the weight, lift the rod tip slightly to heighten the momentum of the pendulum motion that carries the lure to the target while line peels off the reel. Feather the spool with your thumb so the lure breaks the surface quietly and without backlashing.

A straight, quick fall will generate reaction bites from fish that otherwise would not take the bait. The rig also excels when pitched to wood such as laydown logs or stumps and dock pilings. It falls straight down beside the target object instead of swinging back toward the angler before reaching bottom as will a Texas-rigged lure.

Baitcasting gear gets the call. It lends precision when casting and power when setting the hook and pulling a big fish out of troublesome spots.

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Video transcript:

Alex Rudd:
What's up, guys? Welcome back to the MONSTERBASS channel. So today, we're out on the Tennessee River and we're going to be doing some flipping and some pitching. And we're going to be fishing the Tokyo rig today. This is a really cool presentation. It's kind of a new trend in the fishing industry. And it's something that has fascinated me because it takes something that I love to do, like flipping a Texas rig and just transforms it a little bit. A different presentation, a different way to show those fish something similar to something we all like to do, but just in a different way. So we're here and we got some beautiful grass behind us on this beautiful lake. We're going to go flipping and we're going to go pitching, and we're going to see what we can get done. So let's get this thing rigged up and let's talk through some of my favorite things to do with the Tokyo rig, how to flip it, how to pitch it, and get into all the nitty-gritty details.

Alex Rudd:
All right. So today, I'm going to be flipping a half-ounce weight. And the reason I'm doing that is because it's what I'm comfortable with. 99% of the time when I'm flipping, whether it's a Texas rig, a Tokyo rig, a jig, I'm going to be flipping a half-ounce weight. And it's just because I know what my rod, my reel, my line, how it's going to react to that half-ounce weight. So it keeps me efficient on the water. It keeps everything consistent in my box and in my boat so that I can pick up any flipping stick that I have and just go fish and be super-efficient with it. And looking today, I'm not going to be punching any of this vegetation. We'll be actually fishing the grass edges.

Alex Rudd:
So if I was going to be punching this vegetation or I was going to be fishing a little bit deeper, I might bump that weight up, something three-quarter, even an ounce in some cases, and maybe even switch up to a braid rod. But today, just flipping these grass edges and knowing how I like to fish and my efficiency on the water with my rod and reel and my Tokyo rig, I'm going to go a half-ounce weight. So just adjust your weight to the depth of water you're fishing, the cover that you're fishing around, and what you're comfortable with, and what keeps you efficient on the water.

Alex Rudd:
So just like with your weight, take your favorite bait and rig it up. Today, we're fishing with this little bait right here, little awesome creature bait that you guys are going to be receiving in the box. It's one of those deals that you can fish so many different baits on this Tokyo rig and it's what makes it so cool is that you can take your favorite creature bait, your favorite swimbait, your favorite whatever bait, if it's a piece of plastic, you can put it on this Tokyo rig, and you can fish it. So let's get this thing rigged up. Let's go fish some of this grass and see if we can catch a biggin.

Alex Rudd:
Yeah. In a situation like this, there's just so much to look at, right? And for me, a guy with a little bit of ADHD, it can be a little overwhelming because you want to flip everything because everything looks good. But what I've found fishing as long as I have is the isolated pieces of this grass, little isolated patches or anywhere there's a little dip in or a point out, that's where those fish are going to be. And, of course, you can go through here and you can meticulously pick all this stuff apart, which if you're in a kayak or something like that, when I'm fishing a kayak tournament and I'm isolated in this area, I'm going to sit here and I'm going to pick all of this apart, but when I'm in my boat, I want to cover water.

Alex Rudd:
And again, I said earlier that I'm fishing this half-ounce weight for efficiency for me. So if I'm going to be efficient and I'm going to be faster, I'm wanting to hit the little isolated clumps of grass. I'm wanting to hit those little points outs, those little dips ins, and just really focus on that stuff to try to get those fish to eat. And two, the fish inherently are going to sit there, right? It's an ambush point. If there's a point out in the grass, those fish can sit behind that grass. And when something that looks like this little creature bait comes swimming by, looks like a little bluegill or something like that, they're going to rush out and they're going to grab it. And for the most part, with this bite, it is going to be a reaction bite.

Alex Rudd:
A lot of people think if it's a soft plastic, if it's a Texas rig, if it's a Tokyo rig, "I'm going to be dragging this thing really slow like a jig. And I'm going to have to let it hang in their face." But for the most part, with a bite like this, it's going to drop by their face, they're going to rush out, they're going to grab it, and they're going to react to it just like they would a crankbait. It's just instead of a crankbait and leaning into them, you're going to jack their face with a four ought hook and bring them out of this grass. All right. So as you guys can see there, that weight has got some grass on it. And the reason for that is you get bottom separation with the Tokyo rig, which is unique from the Texas rig.

Alex Rudd:
Whereas a Texas rig, you got that weight right on the front of that bait. It's going to fall down in there. It's going to be all one big package. Whereas with the Tokyo rig that little wire leader, as soon as you put tension on that, you guys can see that bait pops right up there. So on a silty bottom like we're fishing here with all this grass and all this muck and stuff, when that thing hits the bottom, that little bit of bottom separation, as small as it is, can make a huge difference in the fish actually seeing it. And it's also a very unique presentation in the fact that unlike a Texas rig, it's all going down in there one compact package. With this Tokyo rig, that little bit of bottom separation can be huge in getting those fish to bite.

Alex Rudd:
The versatility of this bait is pretty fascinating because you can go from being in two foot of water flipping those grass mats and kind of flipping those edges like we were doing to out here to a little bit deeper water. We're sitting in eight, nine foot of water flipping some of these grass edges, some of these grass beds, and we're really, essentially, in the same depth that we were before. But if you wanted to have that versatility, you can take this rig offshore. You can fish it deeper. You don't have to sit down and retie. All you have to do is bend that wire out, slip on a new weight, and bend it back up. And our buddy Mikey did a video yesterday of fishing this thing on a ledge.

Alex Rudd:
So the Tokyo rig just has an immense amount of versatility in that way that it's not just a flipping bait. It's not just a punching bait. It's not just a simple bait that does one thing and one thing only. It's a bait that does a whole bunch of different things, including fishing deep, fishing shallow, flipping, pitching, and all kinds of different stuff. So a Tokyo rig's cool. It's cool in that way. I think it's a very versatile bait for all anglers, whether you're in the kayak, you're on the bank, you're in the boat. Whatever it is, a Tokyo rig's something you can rig up, you can keep it rigged up, and you can go fish a bunch of different situations with it effectively.

Alex Rudd:
All right. So the rod and reel I'm fishing this thing on is my flipping setup. It's a seven, six medium heavy fast action rod. I got some 20-pound fluorocarbon seven gear ratio reel. That's kind of my go-to flipping setup pretty much anywhere that I'm going. The only difference that I might make to this is switching over to some braid if I decided to use this thing as a punching bait and actually punch into that grass because that braid is actually going to cut that vegetation where this fluorocarbon's just going to dig into it. But when I'm out here just kind of fishing the sparser vegetation, looking for these hard spots that we're looking for in these grass patches, this 20-pound fluorocarbon's going to do everything that I need it to do.

Alex Rudd:
And then that rod, I like a little bit longer rod for myself just so if I do hit one, say it's in that grass or it tries to take me in that grass, I can have that leverage to bring that fish up out of there. And then the seven gear ratio reel is for the simple fact of you have one hit it and run at you, you'll be able to catch up with them and be able to get a good hook into those fish. Because a lot of the times, especially when you're flipping or in a situation like this where we're flipping these grass edges offshore looking for these hard spots, there'll be two or three bass in an area.

Alex Rudd:
And when they get to competing with each other, they'll grab something and they'll just take off running with it to try to get away from the other bass because bass will try to steal food from other bass. It's really kind of a crazy thing to see, especially when you're on schooling bass. And this time of year, summer [inaudible 00:07:27], it doesn't matter if you're in two foot of water or 20 foot of water, a lot of these fish are going to be schooled up and grouped together. So if one grabs it and takes off running, that seven gear ratio reel allows you to really pick up that line and hit them hard to make sure that you're getting a good hook in their face.

Alex Rudd:
And when you're fishing from the bank or fishing from the kayak, that can be huge because you're at an automatic disadvantage. That fish, you're either going to move with it in a kayak or you're not able to maneuver around as much on the bank. So being able to pick up that line and hit them good and get a good hook into them can be a detriment to getting more fish into the boat, into the kayak, into the bank.

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