The Tokyo rig and the Texas rig, two power applications that are extremely effective in covering shore-based structure very quickly. These are two very satisfying techniques, and if conditions are favorable, there’s not much better than pitching into some heavy vegetation. We’ll have a look at the differences between these two techniques, as we analyze the Tokyo rig vs the Texas rig.
Before we climb into these two techniques, let’s just talk about power fishing as a whole first.
Power fishing involves covering water very quickly with slightly heavier baits. The goal with power fishing is to hit several target zones and make many casts, covering as much water as possible in the search for a bass’s strike zone.
These applications do require ideal conditions for them to be hugely successful, as they are fasting moving profiles with a slightly more imposing action. This can be favorable in systems where bass are less pressured, but a lot of the time, they may not be the most successful methods to get bass to eat.
The point of power fishing is to target areas that we think will hold bass. Cover as many areas as possible with plenty of casts, and eventually we’ll get a reaction bite.
When I say target areas, I generally mean thick cover such as vegetation, brush piles, lily pads, and several other forms of visible structure. Bass, and especially largemouth bass love to hug these forms of cover, so it’s never a bad option to present a bait in there.
What is a Tokyo Rig?
A Tokyo rig is a power fishing technique designed in Japan. The application was tested and brought in to try and get a new approach to fishing heavy cover, in an attempt to get pressured bass to bite. This rig is rather unique and is still very new to the industry.
The main difference in appearance is that the weight of the rig sits on a wire and sits below the hook and bait, with both the wire and hook being attached to a swivel. The swivel is tied directly to the mainline.
The Tokyo rig is also known as a ‘punch shot’. The reason for this being that this technique resembles both punching techniques (Texas rig) and a drop shot. The weight at the bottom ‘punches’ through vegetation, and the bait quivers just above the bottom while the weight stays put.
Understanding the Texas Rig
The Texas rig is arguably the most well-known technique in bass fishing. It’s a method that continues to win millions of dollars each year, and it’ll remain one of the most prolific power techniques in the game for a long time.
For the Texas rig, a bullet weight sits on the hook and soft plastic and helps punch through any vegetation. The weight gives the rig a fast fall rate (same with the Tokyo rig), and one can cover heaps of attractive structure.
This application is often the go-to for pitching into heavy cover and its heaps of fun to fish if conditions are right. The Texas rig is also known as your traditional punch rig, along with a jig.
Tokyo Rig vs. Texas Rig: Tips & Tricks
Although you’re probably going to fish both of these techniques in similar zones and situations, there are some key differences between them when it comes to presentation and overall operation.
The Tokyo rig was almost introduced to cover the shortcomings of the Texas rig, but the Texas rig still definitely has certain benefits over this new age technique. Let us compare some key factors.
The initial fall of a bait after a cast is often the most fruitful time. This is the introductory presentation and often bass will eat your bait before it hits the bottom.
The Tokyo rig is a presentation that relies on getting bit on the bottom, rather than the initial fall. The unique profile of a Tokyo rig may not get eaten as much as the classic Texas rig.
The Texas rig is a technique that’ll often just get smashed on the initial fall because of its more natural presentation as it sinks to the bottom.
On the Bottom
Another key location where plenty of bites take place - the bottom. This is a key indicator for any bass angler. Once the bait hits the bottom, we’ll twitch a few times and then retrieve for a new cast.
The Tokyo rig really shines on the bottom. Like a drop shot, the weight sits at the bottom while the bait quivers and moves just above. Keeping bottom contact with the Tokyo rig is vital to its success.
Another unique feature of the Tokyo rig is that the weight will create a slight cloud of sand and instead of the bait sitting right in the sand at the bottom, the bait hovers just above. The cloud of sand will often bring about curiosity in bass and having your favorite bait sitting just above it will help the cause.
The Texas rig can sometimes be questionable on the bottom. With the weight being attached to the bait, it may pull it down into the silt/sand and the presentation may be less noticeable.
Giving your Texas rig a few twitches up and off the bottom before you retrieve for another cast is vitally important.
Tackle and Equipment
When it comes to tackle and equipment you could call these two techniques pretty similar. They both require reasonably heavy tackle because you’ll definitely be fishing heavier structure and you’ll need the added reassurance.
You’ll want similar characteristics in your rod for both of these techniques. A baitcasting rod that has a heavier power and a fast/extra fast action is suitable for pulling power and getting a good hook set.
Anything from 7’2” and up lengthwise will give you the necessary leverage to take up line quickly which is very necessary when fishing heavy cover.
Once again, you can use the same type of reel for these techniques. A baitcasting reel with a slightly faster gear ratio, such as 7.1:1 and up is perfect.
The added speed will help with taking up line quickly and you’ll be able to catch up to any bass that may swim your way after he/she bites.
Personally I enjoy using straight fluorocarbon for both of these techniques. Anything from 14-20lb will do just fine.
If you’re fishing heavy vegetation don’t be shy to use 20lb.
Braided line can also be an option if you're fishing extremely thick cover and need to pull fish out of these heavy areas.
The VMC Tokyo Rig hook is a fantastic option for the Tokyo rig. I often prefer EWG hooks as they hold the soft plastic in place better! This hook is also quick and simple to setup for the Tokyo rig.
For the Texas rig, you can either go with an EWG hook, which as mentioned, holds the soft plastic in place better and also does a good hook in hiding the hookpoint, or, you could go with a straight shank hook, which many says will get you a cleaner hookset.
When it comes to baits, your classic pitching soft plastic baits will work on both equally well. One can comfortably use the same baits on both applications. Personally, I love creature baits for when I'm pitching!
Unlock the secrets of bass fishing around heavy cover with two potent techniques: the Tokyo rig and Texas rig. Harness the power of their unique presentations in the water and elevate your fishing game. Learn the nuances that set these techniques apart, and master the art of leveraging them to your advantage when tackling isolated cover.
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