Well we’ve got a pretty cool piece of bass fishing gear to review today in the VMC Crossover Pliers. These pliers were created primarily to assist in the assembly of wacky and Neko rigs, though I’m sure a few creative anglers will find another use or two for them in time.
Some of you young anglers have been spoiled by the O-ring wacky tools that came along several years ago. But for the older anglers who have been around awhile, you’ll remember the early days when wacky rigging first came along. We were just skin-hooking worms and going through two or three packs a day. It was about as hard to keep one on as a hotdog weenie on a catfish hook. But similarly, if you could keep the worm or the weenie on the hook until it hit the water, you were probably going to get a bite.
The VMC Crossover Pliers have done the best job keeping wacky- and Neko-rigged worms on the hook of any method I’ve seen so far. Let’s take a closer look at them now.
To state the problem again, it’s hard to keep a worm on the hook when using a wacky or Neko rig. Some methods like the O-ring will at least keep the bait on during the cast, where just skin-hooking a worm can’t even do that sometimes. But even with the O-rings, your bait rarely makes it back to the boat once you get a bass on. And quite often, the bait will even be snatched free on the bite or missed hookset.
While developing the VMC Crossover Pliers, VMC took a new approach to this problem and created little bands to go around the worms called VMC Crossover Rings. These bands are wider and flatter compared to the traditional O-rings used for wacky and Neko rigs. The greater surface area of the Crossover Ring gives it a better grip on the worm, where the round and thinner O-rings tend to roll down a worm or even slice it in half.
To get the Crossover Ring onto your worm, you’ll need the Crossover Pliers, which are the main subject of this review. These spring-loaded pliers operate opposite of how most pliers work. Traditionally, to open the tip of a set of needle nose pliers for example, you’ll open the handles. Instead, with the Crossover Pliers, when you squeeze the handles the tips separate.
To use these for rigging, first put a Crossover Ring on the tip of the pliers and then squeeze the handles together. This will open the ring and reveal grooves within the tips of the pliers. Simply poke the end of your bait through the ring and then pull the worm the rest of the way through til you get the bait centered however you like. Then slip the ring off the pliers and you’re good to go.
Comes with rings and hidden compartments
There’s a small compartment in each of the handles of the Crossover Pliers, one of which has a surprise inside. The Crossover Pliers come with 4 of the clear, 6mm Crossover Rings. These will give you a great starting point and are likely the most versatile color and size. But there are so many more options.
The Crossover Rings come in 3 colors and 5 different sizes. Black, clear and green pumpkin give you something that will blend in with a wide variety of baits. Sizes ranging from 4mm to 8mm ensure you’ll have a Crossover Ring that will grip tightly to everything from a thin finesse worm to a thick, oversized soft-plastic stick bait.
Two ways to rig
The Crossover Rings also have a really neat feature that will allow you to rig your hook inline with the bait or perpendicular to it. There’s a small raised chunk of rubber on each ring that has two crossing channels within it. By inserting your hook through one of the channels, you can create the closest thing I’ve seen to the perfect wacky rig. Go through the other channel and you’re on your way to the perfect Neko rig.
This method works far better than the O-ring deal where you simply slip your hook between the O-ring and the worm. When you do that and you go to cast, get a bite or during the fight, the hook pulls slack in the O-ring and the worm often slides out. Or the O-ring will sometimes roll up the bait and come off. For that reason, whenever I use the O-rings I will also skin-hook the bait a bit as I go under the O-ring to at least lock my setup in place until the plastic of the worm tears. But the Crossover Rings still surpass that method in my opinion.
All that being said, you’re still going to lose a few baits, even with this new system. But I do believe the Crossover Pliers and Rings are the best options I’ve found for wacky and Neko rigging. Having the various colors and especially the 5 different sizes gives you a greater chance to really dial in the exact right ring for your desired presentation.
I really like the compartments in the handles too. Most of us are creatures of habit and likely only use a couple different style worms for wacky and Neko rigging. Once you figure out the exact ring you need for each technique, you can conveniently keep them separated and stashed right there in the handles of the Crossover Pliers. Then when you do need to rig, everything is right there at your fingertips.
The Crossover Pliers and Rings are durable and solve a problem; that makes them an easy buy in my opinion. At $14.99 for the pliers and first 4 rings, they’re a bit of an investment. The additional rings come in packs of 10 for $4.49. But considering a pack of worms can easily cost $5 to $10 nowadays, these things will pay for themselves pretty quickly. And after that, they’re not only saving you money but precious rigging time on the water as well.
The VMC Crossover Pliers are available at the following retailers: