When most anglers think of flipping and
pitching, they think of heavy cover, heavy lines and big, heavy baits. I
used to be the same way, but that was before I realized I could take
the basic concepts of flipping and pitching and turn them into finesse
tactics. Now I use light line and finesse baits for a lot of my flipping
and pitching, and I'm catching more bass than ever.
reason flipping and pitching work so well is that there are always (or
almost always) some bass in shallow water, and when a bass is in shallow
water, he's often there to find something to eat. That doesn't mean he
wants something big, like a traditional flipping jig or giant creature
bait. Sometimes those bass are targeting smaller forage or are shallow
because there's more cover there or oxygen levels are higher.
usual flipping gear won't work with finesse flipping and pitching. It's
too heavy. I like a 7- to 7-foot, 2-inch Big Bear rod with a medium
action for my finesse work. The lighter action helps to absorb the shock
when you set the hook and will prevent you from breaking off fish. This
is critical because of the line you'll be using.
most of my finesse flipping with 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100%
Fluorocarbon line. If the cover's really heavy, I might scale up to 12,
but 10 is less visible and gives your baits better action.
reels are Abu Garcia Revos with a 6.4:1 gear ratio. You want the high
speed so you can get your bait back quickly to make another pitch or
flip. It also helps when a bass takes off with your bait and you need to
pick up the slack and set the hook.
go-to baits for finesse flipping and pitching are (1) the NetBait T-Mac,
a 6 1/2-inch Trick Worm-style bait, in junebug, (2) the NetBait Finesse
Worm, a smaller straight-tailed worm, in Okeechobee Craw, and (3) the
NetBait Baby Mad Paca, a small creature bait, in Bama Bug. Those three
lures give me enough variety in terms of profiles and sizes that I'm
confident one of them will get bit.
I use a 2/0 hook for everything when I'm finesse flipping and pitching.
each of these baits, I usually use a 1/8- to 3/16-ounce sinker.
Occasionally, I may go up to 1/4-ounce in heavy cover, but that can
defeat the purpose of finesse flipping and pitching. I want a small
profile, a light weight, a slow falling bait and a very natural
presentation. That's the finesse part, and that's what gets bites.
should you finesse flip and pitch? In lots of the same places where you
do your regular pitching and flipping, but also in places where the
cover's not so thick, the water's not so dirty and the fish might be a
little more spooky. Finesse pitching and flipping is perfect for those
situations where other people don't think about flipping and pitching.
of my favorite types of cover for this technique is boat docks. They
hold lots of bass, including some big ones, and few people fish them
really well. Once you get the hang of finesse flipping and pitching,
you'll be able to put a bait into spots around boat docks that other
anglers can't reach. That makes a big difference.
to make extra long pitches with my finesse presentation. On waters that
get a lot of pressure, staying back from your target is important. So is
turning off your electronics. You won't need them anyway since you're
mostly presenting your baits to shallow, visible cover. The noise of a
depthfinder can turn off shallow bass.
What makes finesse
flipping and pitching work? You're going to make a super quiet
presentation to a shallow water fish using a finesse bait and light
weight. He won't know what hit him! These bass have all seen
spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, square-billed crankbaits and other power
presentations. When that little worm with the 3/16-ounce sinker slowly
drifts by, they won't be able to resist it.
usually fishing for pressured bass, don't forget that the first word in
finesse flipping and pitching is "finesse." I catch a lot of bass by
pitching to a spot and letting the worm soak there for several seconds
before barely twitching it to life. Sometimes that's what it takes, but
you're better off to fish that way and get five or 10 strikes than to go
heavier and hope for just three or four.
flipping and pitching doesn't always mean stout rods and 65-pound-test
braided line. You'll get more strikes and catch more bass if you scale
back and finesse them!