February 10, 2014
The Two Best Ways To Improve Your Pitching And Flipping Game
By Dave Wolak
I know it’s winter, but like me, you’re probably already dreaming of spring. I thought I’d give you some food for thought about flipping and pitching while you’re lying on the couch, as these methods (in my opinion) give bass anglers the most trouble. There are many nuances to be considered when flipping or pitching shallow cover for bass. Over the years I've found that anglers put too much emphasis on the minuscule details of lure selection and cover analysis, often causing them to forget about the more obvious things that allow statistics to play out over the course of an outing. Here are two of those things I've seen compromised most often by lack of forward thinking.
The first thing bass anglers could do better is get closer to the cover. Yes, ample distance is sometimes required for spooky bass, but the main intention of flipping and pitching is getting close, letting out roughly no more than 30 feet of line. Sure, good pitches can be attained from a greater distances, but can the task be completed as accurately over and over for hours at a time, at say, 50 feet? Probably not. Keeping a greater distance from the cover while trying to flip and pitch introduces a slew of other bite-deterring variables. These all become exacerbated as a day unfolds. Things like arm fatigue reduce accuracy, lack of hook set power causes misses, loud lure entries can spook bass, and even an angler's visualization of the bass's exit strategy from the cover can become reduced. Ultimately, whatever potential bite-enhancing factors are complemented by being at a distance quickly become trumped by the advantages of getting up close and personal.
The second factor guys don’t seem to find important is reel preparation. If you've flipped or pitched to any extent, you should know that a high-speed reel spooled with heavy line is advised in order to get bass out of cover faster. But the having the right reel and line alone doesn't mean the reel is set up properly. You have to put more emphasis on your thumb while setting the reel’s internal brakes and tension knob. A good start consists of adjusting the dial for the brake around the middle setting, and then setting the spool tension knob so that when you hit the free spool button your chosen lure falls at a decent pace, but hits the water without over running. Once you’ve got that set, you can start to make micro adjustments. Too little time spent on dialing in this intricacy sets up for a day of many missed opportunities. You’ll often miss targets and present lures with too much splash. By factoring thumb pressure into reel adjustment, your choice bait will hit the intended targets and fall at a speed that’s to the bass's liking more often than not.