First Published March 30, 2009
There are many ways to present a bait while bass fishing with flipping being one of my favorite methods. Flipping baits is the predecessor to pitching baits. Pitching was developed when a need for long range flipping was discovered to prevent spooking bass. Once that happened flipping baits was all but forgotten because those that got good at pitching baits with quite entries were able to hold the boat farther away from cover. Flipping requires you to keep your boat very close to your target cover, so being very quiet and stealthy is of the upmost importance. Flipping baits is at its best when bass are buried up deep in cover either from weather fronts or extreme fishing pressure.
The main goal with flipping is to quietly present baits to bass that are very tight to cover. Simply put, you put your boat right on top of the cover (grass or timber) and then drop a bait right on their nose, making sure to not make a single ripple in the water when the bait enters. In a flipping situation you are fishing depths of 8 ft or less, so that you can pull the line just above your reel to your side, lifting your bait out of the water and then position your bait over the next target and gently set it back in the water.
In lakes with a lot of vegetation like milfoil or hydrilla you will need to use a heavy weight to penetrate the surface mats of this vegetation to the open water underneath. It will usually take between a ¾ ounce all the way up to a 1 ½ ounce weighted worm or jig. Obviously with weights this size it is going to be difficult to get an extremely quiet entry but if the grass mats are such that you need a weight this heavy the noise will be muffled by the grass.
In lakes with a lot of timber, flipping this timber can be an outstanding pattern especially after a cold front. I like to use a jig in the 3/8 - 1/2 ranges as a starting point and go up or down from there depending on depth and the rate of fall the bass are wanting at the time. I also prefer to go with crawdad patterns with flipping timber.
General rules for flipping are first and for most to use the trolling motor as little as possible, let the boat drift. Use the wind to set up a drift line; however, if you have to use the trolling motor make sure to use it as little as possible. Remember, you are right on top of the fish so any noise coming from the boat is going to spook fish.
Next, make sure to saturate the cover you are fishing. You are right on top of the cover for a reason. If you are working a brush pile, make sure to bounce your jig or worm off of every limb on that brush pile. Bass in post front conditions hold very tight to cover with their noses up against the thickest part, you want to present your bait to that fish in every possible direction to get its attention.
Again, because you are right on top of the fish make sure your bait enters the water with little to no wake. Flipping is all about the element of surprise. Flipping allows you to present baits to bass in a way that it doesn't realize it came from the surface unless that fish was watching the surface, so don't announce your entrance.
Be a line watcher! Most flipping bites come on the fall! So much so that I rarely work the bait after it hits the bottom. Once it hits the bottom, I pick it up and move to the next spot on the target. I might let it sit for a second or two to see if it swims off but that is usually it.
One last piece of advice is set the hook quick and hard, you want to get the fish moving away from the cover fast. Whether it is wood or vegetation, a large bass will quickly wrap you up and you will lose it. So set the hook and get it headed towards the boat. Once you are clear of the cover then you can take your time and play the fish out.Get the Net it’s a Hawg
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