Compared to other freshwater species, bass have the most varied predatory instinct. From live bait to artificials – you can catch a bass on just about anything, in just about every part of the country. For that reason, the number of techniques an aspiring bass angler must learn can be daunting to say the least. From slinging a big 4 ounce swimbait, to drop shotting a diminutive 3 inch plastic in 40 feet of water, the ways to catch a bass are limited more by anglers’ imagination than bass’ feeding instincts.
In all the talk of cutting edge techniques, rigging secrets, and bass fishing tips, the one thing that’s lost is thorough discourse on the basics, which makes it tough on anglers just coming into the sport.
Just like any high school coach would say, it all starts with the fundamentals. Get back to the basics with this guide on one of bass fishing's most popular techniques, flipping and pitching.
What Is Flipping And Pitching?
Flipping and pitching are simply two methods for presenting a bait accurately and efficiently in close quarters. Both techniques keep the bait low to the water’s surface, which allows you to conveniently place lures in and around shallow cover. When done correctly, there’s no better way to effectively target bass hanging in shallow heavy cover.
When To Flip And Pitch?
Flipping and pitching is most effective whenever bass are holding on shallow, heavy cover like grass, laydowns, or docks. Depending on the lake, this may only be during a portion of the year, but even the deepest lakes are likely to harbor at least some shallow bass all year round that can be caught by flipping or pitching.
Where Should I Be Flipping And Pitching?
As was previously mentioned, the best places to flip and pitch are wherever a traditional cast won’t allow you to accurately or efficiently place your bait. Ideal spots are around flooded bushes, overhanging branches, laydowns, grass beds, tule lines, and even undercut banks. It’s difficult to place your lure in a small, basketball sized hole in a grass bed with a normal cast, but by learning to flip and pitch, it’s easy for even novice anglers.
Mechanics Of Flipping And Pitching
Although they’re related, the only difference between flipping and pitching is that while flipping, you don’t reel up between casts.
Here’s how to pitch:
1. Let enough line out that the bait hangs about where your wrist falls at your hip.
2. Hold the rod tip up at 12 o clock, and let the bait rest in your off-hand.
3. Eye your target and free-spool the reel, but keep your thumb on the spool.
4. Bring your rod tip down towards the target, and simultaneously release the bait.
5. Once the bait is falling, lift your rod tip back up and let the bait pendulum forward, at the same time as you release your thumb, the momentum of the bait will pull line off the spool as it travels toward the target.
6. Once it hits the water, stop the spool with your thumb, and engage the reel.
7. Let the bait fall to the bottom, and then reel up and do it again.
Here’s how to flip:
1. Start with a short pitch.
2. Instead of reeling in when you want to flip again, grab the line between the reel and the first guide, and pull it out like drawing a bow, while lifting your rod tip up, this will pull the bait from the water toward you.
3. Once it pendulums back toward the water, aim its descent toward your next target, and follow the bait with the line in your hand, never free-spooling the reel.
There are tons of videos online, but with a little practice, you’ll be flipping and pitching in no time.
Rigging Flipping And Pitching
Because flipping and pitching are designed for big fish in heavy cover, you need a stout setup to get it done. Longer rods (over 7 feet) are ideal, as they give you more control and accuracy during the process. An ideal setup for most applications would be a 7 ½ foot, heavy power, fast action flipping stick, paired to a high speed reel (you need to reel fast to catch up to a fish that’s swimming toward you) spooled with heavy (20lb) fluorocarbon or (50 pound) braid. At the business end, try a Texas rigged creature like the BioSpawn VileCraw, skirted jig, or worm.
Flipping And Pitching Tips
• Practice makes perfect. Set up a target in your back yard, and practice until you get it down. It’s a lot easier to learn in your back yard then on the water when it counts.
• Try pegging your weight in heavy cover, it will get hung up less, and you’ll be more accurate while you learn.
• If backlashes are a problem, make about a 25 yard cast, and then put a small piece of scotch tape over your remaining spool, then reel back up. Doing so will prevent backlashes from getting too deep as you learn.
• Practice thumb control, as it’s your thumb that does most of the work. It’s easy to focus too much on the rod, but doing so will cause you nothing but trouble.
• Don’t over-cast, or pull back on the lure, it’s not archery. You want to let the weight of the bait falling propel the lure forward.
Updated January 22nd, 2021 at 2:52 AM CT