Flipping and pitching are two of the most effective bass fishing techniques for enticing fish onto the end of your line when you are around heavy cover. These techniques are especially useful when you come across bass hiding in grasses or under bushes and trees. Pitching and flipping allows you to get your lure right down under any cover to land the lure exactly where you want it to go without spooking the fish too much.
While the two techniques share many several similarities, there is a clear difference between flipping and pitching. You have to use the proper technique to get big fish out of heavy cover otherwise you are just going to struggle to get hits.
I am going to teach you something today that many fishermen still get mixed up. In this article I’ll share my tips as to when you should pitch, when you should flip and how these casting techniques differ!
What Is Flipping?
Flipping is a fishing technique where you peel off approximately 50 to 100% or even more line than the length of your fishing rod. You hold this line in your hand while you give a little underhand cast and then you flip the lure by giving a series of short pulls on your line using your free hand. You do not control the line using your rod when flipping.
What Is Pitching?
Pitching is a technique where you release the lure using a one handed cast with an underhand pitching motion. You let out enough line so that your lure hangs even with your reel, then you do an underhand flick out towards the bushes you’re targeting.
The Difference Between Flipping and Pitching
The most successful bass fisherman have a number of techniques and tricks up their sleeves that they lean on when they find themselves in challenging conditions. Flipping and pitching are two of the most well known and well used bass fishing techniques and you’ll find most every angler trying their hand at one of these at some point.
You need to understand the difference between flipping and pitching to determine which technique best fits which conditions. Some of the differences I’ll go over include:
- Casting Techniques
- Cast Distances
- Casting Conditions
Let’s go through how to pitch and flip a baitcaster.
Pitching involves throwing your lure using a short, underhand motion. It’s almost an underhand cast. Typically, you use a baitcasting reel and a rod in the range of 7′ or 7′ 6″ long. Having a longer rod really gives you the leverage you need to get up in under the cover where the fish are hiding.
You want to let out enough line so that your lure hangs down about even with your reel. You rest the lure in one hand – don’t hold onto it, just have it sitting there. Then with your rod hand you’re going to do an underhand flick out towards the bushes you are targeting. The faster you flick the rod up the further you are going to be able to cast, so adjust your flick speed as needed.
Pitching lets you target very precisely an area of water near the cover.
On the other hand, flipping requires you to actively use both hands to get your bait out into the water. Start with one hand holding the rod and then you’re going to use your other hand to pull some line extra line out. Let your line out so that your lure is dangling down near the reel again, but this time grab a couple of handfuls of extra line with your other hand. You want to pull out maybe double the length of your rod’s worth of line off the spool.
Now engage the reel because the rest of the time you are going to be using your hand to control the movement of your lure. You’re going to hold onto the line in your hand while you cast because this is what lets you do the flipping. To cast you just swing the rod forward in an underhanded manner again while letting the line run through your hand. And when it lands you are going to work the line with the hand that is holding the line.
You are going give a quick series of pulls on the line to make the lure flip, or skip across the water.
Flipping lets you fine tune the landing of the bait as you are using your hand to flip it a couple of times right after it lands, and this motion is what attracts the fish out of the cover.
The motion with the rod tip is much the same whether you are pitching or flipping. Start with the tip pointing down and then give a little flick up in an underhanded casting motion.
When pitching you can use a little more distance in your cast so that you can reach areas up to 10 to 30 feet away. Remember, the faster you flick your rod the longer your casting distance is going to be.
For flipping, the target distance is a bit shorter. You’re going to want to be quite close to the bushes or structure you’re fishing so that you can see exactly where your lure lands for when you start flipping. Usually you are looking to be no more than 10 or 20 feet away from your target.
Another difference between flipping and pitching is where and when you cast.
Pitching is a great bass fishing technique for thick cover water areas. When pitching you can guarantee a quiet lure entry with a single-hook lure such as a spinnerbait, worm, or jig. Pitching gives more control to the bait than the angler and its trajectory stays pretty low. This makes it easier to get underneath cover or structures where fish might be hiding, such as an overhanging tree or a dock.
Flipping is best used where it’s easy to spook fish and you want to land that bait right in next to them. It allows you to fish areas where you need to get your bait right up inside the bushes. You can then do as many flips as you need to jump through the pockets of the bushes where the fish are hiding. Flipping give you more control over the bait, as you are using your hand to manage where and how many times it flips through the water.
The Last Cast
You now know the difference between flipping and pitching and when to use each technique. The good news is that you can flip or pitch any time of the year. However, flipping and pitching for bass is most common from early spring to late fall.
Both techniques will allow you to land your lure in the areas where you will find the biggest fish hiding. In shallow water, under heavy cover.
Remember that practice makes perfect, and the only way to get better at these techniques is to actually put them to use!
Do you prefer flipping or pitching?