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Going Toe-To-Toe With Big Bass  at Cabela's

Going Toe-To-Toe With Big Bass

Author: Karen Savik

When you use the flipping technique for bass, it's a close-quarter technique -one that puts you in a toe-to-toe fight with little room for error. When the bass takes the bait it's near the boat. You may have only ten to fifteen feet of line out at most when you set the hook.

Karen Savik
You only get a half dozen cranks on the reel when that fish hits boatside and that means the bass is still fighting hard and will be thrashing hard to throw that lure. You have to be prepared if you hook a big one and want to get it landed.

Flipping and pitching to bass works well on any body of water that has some cover. The cover could be docks, downed trees, heavy vegetation, anything that requires a precision cast to effectively get a bait into position. Most of my pitching and flipping are done in heavy milfoil. The lakes I guide on are covered from top to bottom with the stuff, in water that is 15 feet or shallower. You can't cast a lure into this thick slop because it is immediately snagged. The only way to get a lure to the fish that are in the maze of stalks under the surface mat is to flip it into pockets. And the best lure for this is the weedless jig.

The thickest section of the vegetation is that which is on the surface. Under the surface mat, there is a maze of stalks and leaves and the bass use this as sanctuary and ambush points. The vegetation under that surface mat is much less dense than what you find on the surface. That's why a jig dropped into the heavy vedge is so effective.

The mistake most anglers make is they pitch the jig too far. You want an almost vertical approach. You just pitch the jig about six feet from the boat and let it sink. By the time the lure hits the bottom, your boat should be positioned so the tip of the rod is right above the jig.

The action you put on the jig is minimal. After the jig hits bottom, you pump the tip a couple of times. Wait a second or two, and then reel it in and pitch it to another spot. Typically the bass hits the jig as it drops, and you feel the fish as you put some tension on the line or you see the line twitch. Many times you know from making a few casts how long it should take for that jig to hit bottom. If it stops early, you know what that means. When flipping or pitching, whether on docks, in weeds, wherever, you need polarized glasses. You'll want a good view of what's right below the surface, because you need to spend some extra time on the stuff that looks good.

What looks good on a dock is a cross member on a boatlift or a mooring cable. In weeds, hit the pockets and spend a little time on transition areas where you have an inside weedline. In downed timber, the tree trunk is a typical hiding place for big bass.

Most flipping is done with a baitcasting reel spooled with 20 to 30-pound test line. You need that heavy line to get a good hook set and haul those fish out of the thick stuff or over any snags. You need a good hook set because you are fighting the fish on a short lead and need that hook to bury deep. The thick-wire hooks on those weedless jigs, not to mention the weed guard, can make a hook set nearly impossible with light line, and the heavier line doesn't seem to spook a hungry bass in the heavy vegetation.

My jigs consist of heavy, three-quarter and one-ounce weedless style jigheads that are always tipped with a Power Bait to make sure that bass holds on. The added action of a Power Craw or a Power Grub gets the fish's attention, and the added scent keeps them holding on until you bury the hook. You get a lot more fish hooked with the added plastic trailer.

The final thing to keep in mind is that flipping and pitching takes practice. You can't be good at it immediately. You have to get a feel for what the jig is doing in the cover and discover how to sense a bite. Plan on working with the technique for some time before you are proficient. You will discover then why the pros use the presentation so much. It's because big bass love heavy cover, and the only serious way to get them out is by strategically placing the lure right in front of them. The best way to do it is flipping and pitching.

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