Tokyo Rig Guide

Tokyo Rig With Biffle Bug

What Is A Tokyo Rig?

A Tokyo rig is basically a hook with a swivel attached via a split ring to the eye. A wire is also attached to the split ring on the same end as the hook. The wire is rigid, but it can be bent with pliers. It hangs about 2 to 3 inches from the swivel.

At the end of the wire opposite the hook eye, a weight of your choice is threaded on. Then, the wire is bent to keep the weight in place.

The rigidity of the wire keeps the lure off the bottom. The wire basically holds the bait up. This makes it more visible to bass.

The swivel allows freedom of movement. Since the wire is not directly fixed to the hook eye, the hook and lure are free to articulate. This can give your lure tantalizing action while the weight still holds it in place.

One advantage of the Tokyo rig is that you can easily customize the weights at the end of the wire by bending it straight to release weights and then bending it closed

Tokyo rigs are often configured with bullet types sinkers. They’re set up with the pointed end of the sinker facing down.

This helps the weight more easily pass through cover such as weeds.

Tokyo Rig Package

Where to Fish A Tokyo Rig

Tokyo Rig Over Rocks

The Tokyo rig excels because of its flexibility. It can be used in almost any scenario. If you’re fishing over a rocky bottom for example, the Tokyo rig can be hopped along the rocks. Paired with a tungsten weight, the clicking sound can really call the bass in. The bait is held slightly above the rocks for easy visibility. The bass will be able to see the lure from afar. This will help them home in.

You don’t just have to hop it. Another interesting aspect of the Tokyo rig is that you can swim it. 

Since the wire can articulate on the split ring, you can drag the whole rig. If the weight is light enough, the weighted end can start folding up towards the lure.

Tokyo Rig Over Weeds

The Tokyo rig excels at being punched into heavy weeds. Use a heavy enough weight to get through any matted vegetation. Make sure to orient a bullet sinker with the nose down to help the lure penetrate the weeds.

Be cautions in weeds that are not near the surface or more than a few inches off the bottom. You’ll need to make sure that your rig is not completely hidden under the weeds. 

Finding a bare spot in the cover or swimming the rig can help here.

Best Baits For A Tokyo Rig

As for baits, your creativity is the limit. Start off with the basics like plastic worms.

The Zoom trick worm is a good example. This profile will create lots of action.

You can also use creature baits like a Strike King Brush Hog or a Yamamoto Cowboy.

If you want to cover water though, try a swimbait. Even something like a Keitech Swing Impact can be hopped or swum along to draw strikes.

Another option that may not have occurred to you is a large worm. A 9 or 10 inch worm help up off the bottom in the middle of summer can be deadly.

Crawfish imitations are also a great Tokyo rig lure. Crawfish spend time in rocky bottoms and a Tokyo rig is a great way to mimic this behavior.

Try a soft plastic craw like the Missle baits Dbomb. I love the El Diablo color.

It truly matches late summer craws that have green and orange patterns.

Hoping one of these along the bottom is a ticket to get hooked up.

Best Setup For Throwing A Tokyo Rig

Any good worming rod will do. What really makes the difference is the thickness of the hook you’re using.

If you’re going to be using a thick gauge hook, you’ll want to make sure you’re using at least a medium heavy rod. You’ll want to pair this up with some stronger line too.

Consider using at least 30 lb. test braided line or 20 lb. test fluorocarbon line.

The thicker your hook is the more power you’ll need to drive it through a bass’ mouth. This also means that the line will need to be strong enough to take the shock of a solid hookset.

So, a good medium/heavy, 7 foot baitcasting rod should do fine. Try the Dobyn’s DC 703C. It’s a great choice for throwing a Tokyo rig.

If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, try the Dobyn’s    FR703C.

As for a reel, any good baitcaster will do. If you want to make a faster retrieve after you’re done hopping your Tokyo rig on the bottom, then opt for a faster gear ratio.

Try an 8:1 gear ratio that can bring in about 32 to 35 inches of line per handle turn.

Changing Hooks On A Tokyo Rig

Hooks on a Tokyo rig can be interchanged. This is one of the aspects that makes it so versatile. 

You can tailor your hook to the technique and the lure you want to use.

If you want to rig a small craw imitation, you can downsize to a 2/0 straight shank hook.If you want to use it like a drop shot, you can rig it with a size 1 owner mosquito hook.

Or maybe you want to use a giant worm and rig it with an 11/0 worm hook.But before you can do this, you have to make a modification to your rig.

Most Tokyo rigs come with a solid metal ring that holds everything together. To make your Tokyo customizable, you need to switch that solid metal ring for a split ring.

Use some cutters to cut the metal ring that the Tokyo rig comes with.

Make sure you get the right sized ring. A 30lb. split ring should do fine. I like to use the Spro brand of split rings.

Then connect the swivel, wire and hook to the split ring. Make sure that the wire is between the swivel and the hook. To do this, you can  use the following steps.

Connect the swivel first, then the wire and finally the  hook. 


You can buy Tokyo rig components including looped wires, swivels, split rings, and hooks.

You can then make your own Tokyo rigs set up to your liking. You will even save some money in the process.

When To Use A Tokyo Rig

Tokyo rigs are much more versatile than they look. You can even use them to punch through heavy cover. To do this though you need a heavy weight.

The Tokyo is great over sparse rocky bottoms. You can hop it around with an inverted bullet weight. The inverted weight makes sure  you won’t get hung up as often.

Imagine a bullet sinker falling into a rocky crevice. If it’s point is facing down, it will slide out much more easily.

Tokyo rigs are also great around flooded timber. The articulating wire helps the rig come through the timber without getting hung up that much.

Another interesting use for Tokyo rigs is bed fishing. 

While bed fishing, a Tokyo rig presents an elevated target that you can get right in a bass’ face.

This can definitely lead to a strike. A great bait to try this with is the Big Bite Baits Warmouth.

It will simulate a sunfish raiding a nest and can drive bass crazy. 

When used with a floating lure, this technique can be especially useful. For example, in a situation where you want to get a bait just off the bottom. 

Small chunk rocks fit this profile perfectly. The bait will flutter just above the rocks with the wire and weight oftentimes hidden by them.

It can make the lure easier to spot for a bass that’s on the prowl.


The Tokyo rig is definitely something you should have on hand. You never know when this presentation will be what triggers a strike.

Areas with small chunk rock and visibility in the 2 foot range are ideal for this lure presentation.

Leave a Comment