Flipping vs. Pitching

Bass Fishing for Beginners - Part 5

Meet the Author

Jonathan is an avid tournament bass fisherman. He currently fishes on the Penn State Bass Fishing team. He has placed in the top 15 in multiple FLW BFL tournaments as a co-angler. He competed on the United States Youth Fly Fishing Team, where he placed 11th in the world and was a part of two world championship team gold medals. Jonathan serves as an ANGLR expert to help the ANGLR community constantly improve.

Chapter 1 - Intro to Flipping vs Pitching

Jump to Chapter: Top | Introduction | Flipping | Pitching |

Intro to Flipping vs Pitching

Two of the most commonly referred to techniques in bass fishing today, are flipping and pitching.
When most people say flipping, they actually mean pitching.
Flipping refers to the technique where you use your non-dominant hand to pull an arms length of line off of the reel. You then use the rod to swing the bait into close proximity areas.

Pitching is when you actually make short casts to precise targets. Either way, they are a bank fisherman’s dream, both for people who fish from the bank or people who fish banks from a boat.
It is a fast and efficient way to get baits in front of fish that make their homes in thick cover that is avoided by most finesse fisherman.
These techniques have won millions of dollars over the years and should be a staple in any anglers arsenal.

Chapter 2 - Flipping for Bass

Jump to Chapter: Top | Introduction | Flipping | Pitching |

Flipping for Bass

As stated above, flipping is the art of using the momentum of the bait and the swing of the rod, coupled with an arms length of line in your non-dominant hand to place a bait in close proximity to the area of interest. This technique was developed for fishing fast and covering as much water as possible, while keeping the targets close to the boat.
Examples of this include grass beds, lay-downs along a bank, thick grass edges, and thick grass matts.
Photo Credit: https://www.bassmaster.com/50th-anniversary-bass/birth-flippin
These are areas where you are trying to find the area where fish are congregated, or the hot spots. If you were to pitch to these areas, you would be wasting time on the wind up and actual casting. Flipping allows you to easily and swiftly make multiple presentations in a short amount of time.

Flipping Gear

In order to be as efficient as possible, there are a few gear tips that will make your life much easier and help you land more fish. The first and most important thing is the rod. You’ll want a long, 7’ 6” – 8’ 0”, rod. This allows you to have more reach, allowing you to cover more water and get more flips into tighter areas.

As far as action of the rod, a medium heavy to heavy action rod with a parabolic bend will be a solid option. Parabolic means that it bends the same from the tip, all the way to the handle. This allows for higher landing ratio when pulling fish out of thicker cover as fast as possible. Those fish will be shaking and jumping around and you want a rod that will be constantly “loaded” on the fish to maintain that pressure.
Photo Credit: https://www.bassmaster.com/50th-anniversary-bass/birth-flippin
A safe bet is to pair this parabolic bend with a fast gear ratio reel, even though fast is a relative term. Any reel from a 7:1:1 to a 8:5:1 or even the new Abu Garcia Revo Rocket at 9:1:1 will work.
Now what do these ratios mean? This is referring to the amount of line that each reel picks up with one rotation of the spool. So, if turn the handle and it rotates that spool let's say five times, then you just picked up 35.5 inches of line with a 7:1:1 gear ratio reel.
These gear ratios are important because those fish live in that thick environment. That means they know their way around. If a tornado was next to your house, then you have a place you know you can rely on to get away, like the basement. Fish are very similar, when something hits them in the face, they have an escape route. Sometimes this means thicker grass, wood, etc.

This means you want to get them out of there as fast as possible. As far as line goes, it depends on what you are fishing. For woody debris i prefer fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon doesn’t cut into the wood, it wraps around it. So even if a fish takes you around something, you still have a chance to get it out. Braided line is better suited towards grass because it cuts the grass when your line rips through it with speed.

Braided line allows you to be more efficient when flipping through even the thickest grass. Click here to read about weights and hooks.

Chapter 3 - Pitching for Bass

Jump to Chapter: Top | Introduction | Flipping | Pitching |

Pitching for Bass

The technique that is most commonly used amongst all bass anglers is probably pitching. This is where you are making short casts to a target instead just flipping the bait. To start, you hold the bait in your hand, while pointing your rod toward the intended target. As you drop the bait you make the same swinging motion as you did flipping but now you let go of the bait and allow the line to come off the reel to carry the bait further.
The harder you pitch the farther the bait will travel.
This technique allows you to fish all targets that are farther away from you as you go through your target area. This certainly lessens how many casts you are going to get, making this technique more of a spot oriented technique. If you are going down a bank or area and you see a lay down or grass bed, or just an area you think has to have fish. Slow your presentation, and see how pitching comes in handy.

Pitching: Accuracy Is Key

The biggest issue with pitching is being accurate. You are now casting to a target and not just using your rod to swing it into a spot. This means there is more room for error. The solution? Practice your casts before going fishing.

This casting motion often times makes the bait hit the water hard and create a large splash. If you are fishing in shallower water you want to be as stealthy as possible, it is rarely a good thing to let that bait hit the water hard. These shallow fish get conditioned to people throwing baits on their heads all year, so a soft presentation is key.
Fish this presentation the same way as flipping. The only difference is the distance from the target. This distance allows you to drag the bait more if you are on a ledge and home in on the zone the fish are keying on.
This can be done on virtually any structure or cover that is too far to flip. A common area to pitch is rock walls, this allows you to stay back off the fish and cover to avoid the bass spooking. You then fish the bait down the wall to see where the fish are holding on the edge. This is overall a very effective technique that can be implemented in a lot of bass fishing scenarios!