By Vance McCullough
The bottom weighted “sasuteki” rig is perfect for flippin’ and punching through matted cover.
At left is a traditional Texas-rigged craw. At right, the Sasuteki.
He’d crossed the continent, from California to Clewiston, looking to score a huge payday. As we stepped between two SUVs in the Walmart parking lot he spoke in a low tone and handed me a very small baggie with valuable contents.
No contraband changed hands. Nothing illegal took place, though boatloads of bass probably wish someone would outlaw the sasuteki rig.
“With this weight, rigged to the bottom of the craw instead of the top, you can use a ¾-ounce weight and slip it through cover where someone else, using a Texas rig, would need an ounce and a half,” shared FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer.
Hidden in the name is the essence of the concept—a backward Texas rig. Tekisasu—Texas, in Japanese—is phonetically reversed to form sasuteki, just as the weight is placed below the lure to turn the Texas rig itself upside down.
At 1.2 ounces, the tungsten cone with protruding wire loop that Meyer gave me is the equivalent of a conventional 2.5-ounce mat-busting bullet—until it gets beneath a snarl of flotsam, where it sets itself apart. He continued, “It goes right through, but it’s a quieter presentation, a slower fall, you get more bites.”
Meyer had just placed 5th among a field of 178 touring professionals in an FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee where Floridians tend to dominate. He was one of two western anglers to mention the Jackall Lures Sasuteki Craw on stage. When the craw is paired with the weight, made by Zappu, the sasuteki rig is tailor-made for Florida’s sunken jungles.
“The Sasuteki Craw is an awesome bait,” he said. “You can flip it regular, just Texas rig it, but it was made to be fished with a Zappu Sasuteki Weight.
“Put the Zappu weight on the bottom (butt end of a soft plastic craw) use an EWG hook and rig it through the top (pincers end of craw) so when you flip it out, there’s no line that’s going to fold over. The weight just goes straight through and the craw follows. The hook-up ratio is awesome.”
The rig requires no major change in equipment and no steep learning curve on the part of an angler who already knows how to flip. “Use the same setup,” said Meyer, “same rod, same heavy braided line, set the hook the same way.”
Zappu weight clips on the bend of the hook. The craw bait has wide-set pincers to straddle the line.
With a sasuteki weight there’s no need for a snell knot, as an extra wide gap (EWG) hook is called for rather than the traditional straight shank model needed when flipping a conventional Texas rig. The weight is on the back end of the lure and will not interfere when an angler rears back to set the hook. Use any knot you like.
The hookup ratio is also enhanced by the lighter relative weight of the rig. Fish will hold a lighter lure for a longer time thereby aiding in strike detection.
Other companies offer similar rigs. Sizmic Lure Company introduced the Warhead weight and Jungle Toad combo at the Bassmaster Classic Expo in 2006. The Classic that year was held on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain of Lakes which is a logical launching pad for the concept. The Okeechobee Rig, as they called it, was the hottest new item at the show. But this technique, also known as the Punch Through Rig has since languished in relative obscurity. That’s great news for those who want a secret advantage on our pressured Florida fisheries. “When everyone is flippin’ the same stuff, this is something that the fish haven’t seen,” said Meyer.
While other manufacturers produce suitable lures that can be turned around and fished the “wrong” way, Meyer says the folks at Jackall engineered the Sasuteki Craw to be rigged backward. “If you look at the nose of the lure you see a little flat spot. That’s where you insert the hook point.” The meaty, blunt nose is located between appendages designed to flap as the lure descends. The flappers are set apart so as to straddle heavy fishing line, commonly used in this bare knuckles tactic.
There is a handful popular of craw and creature-style lures that can be easily modified to ride a sasuteki rig. Cut off the head, antennae or other appendages to create a flat spot that will accommodate and conceal the hook’s eye and the knot between the outermost flappers. FS