I think we can all agree that big largemouth bass like to bury themselves in dark and hidden spots. One of the few ways to reach these fish is by flippin’ or punching. These are techniques that 99 percent of all tournament anglers use, in many cases, year-round. If you are new to fishing or just haven’t started flippin’ for bass, here are some tips to help you be more successful.
1. Choose the right line for the type of cover you are fishing
Braid is the obvious choice for most conditions, but it’s not always the right choice. When flippin’ around soft wood braid will dig itself into the wood and cause the line to get wedged, so I use heavy (25+ pound) fluorocarbon when fishing around soft wood. Also, in super-clear water I will use fluorocarbon. For everything else I use braid. The braid I use is Tuf-Line and for fluorocarbon I use Gamma Edge.
2. Pay attention to the depth you get bit at
Bass will often find a comfortable depth and stay around that depth in the cover. Once you find a depth they are in, find more areas with similar water depth and fish it.
3. Look for small changes in the cover
If you have a hundred yard bank of tules, but only a few small patches of hydrilla within those tules, fish the parts with the hydrilla and the tules. It doesn’t always work out, but fish like when they can find a combination of cover types or vegetation types. Grass types, rock, wood, docks, and even trash mats can all make for great flippin’ spots.
4. Be sure to use a long and powerful rod built for flippin’
A long rod will allow you to flip further distances, and it provides great leverage for bone jarring hook sets. For me, the Megabass Orochi XX F8-79XX Aaron Martens Flipping Special. It’s a 7’9″ rod that is not only powerful enough to horse big fish from deep cover, but light enough to fish all day.
5. Use a super-fast reel
While you won’t be reeling in from long distances, you’ll need to be able to take up a lot of line quickly. Often once a fish bites it’ll run for deep water, and that means right under your boat. It’s important to take up all the slack line as fast as possible and use the power of the rod to keep the fish from running under the boat. It’s not impossible to land a fish that has gone under the boat, but it’s not easy either.
As the summer season starts to arrive and the fish move to deep shallow cover flippin’ can be a very effective technique. Keep an eye on the depths you are fishing and getting bit, look for changes in the cover and use the right line, rod and reel and you’ll be more successful.
Image courtesy Luke Clausen