Flipping and Pitching Sticks

The best rods to reach for when fishing gets up close and personal.

Field & Stream Online Editors

When it comes to flippinG and pitching, hardcore bass fishermen commonly carry two or three rods for each approach. That's because both casting methods are often used under diverse conditions: cover that ranges from skimpy to scary; water, from clear to cloudy; fish that could be either feisty or finicky. Having rods at hand that meet the demands of any combination of these variables can improve your efficiency and success.

Here's what to look for:

FLIPPING STICKS
The basic flipping stick is 71/2 feet long with a heavy action. You need a stiff rod like that for menacing cover and 20-pound or heavier line. But bass in sparse cover and in clear to stained water might demand relatively light line and small baits. When you must downsize, a lightweight 71/2-foot rod that has a bit of flex greatly reduces your odds of breaking off on the hookset (it's also a pleasure to cast).

The two types above will get you through most situations, but when you want to extend your distance by a few feet to reach tough targets or spooky fish, an 8-footer comes in very handy.

**PITCHING STICKS **
Most fishermen prefer shorter rods for pitching because they're less tiring to fish with. They can also double nicely for overhand casting, which is handy because you can't always get close enough to pitch to every target.

When you're pitching almost exclusively, a heavy-action 7-foot rod has the muscle to combat dense cover. For light baits of 3/8 ounce and under, go to a medium-heavy action. Also, shortening the rod by even a couple of inches, to a 6-foot 10-inch model, makes a big difference. If the area you're fishing requires as much overhand casting as pitching, a 61/2-foot, medium-heavy rod lets you handle both presentations well. [NEXT "Compare the Two"]

[BRACKET "FLIPPING STICKS"]
**G. Loomis GL2Series FSR904X (800-456-6647; www.gloomis.com) **
Length: 71/2 ft.
Action: Heavy
Line: 12- to 25-pound-test
Lure: 1/4 to 1 oz.
Guides: Fuji O-ring Price: $165
Comment: Loomis' original flipping stick has a slightly softer tip than other models. It matches well with lighter lines and lures and reduces fatigue.

Lamiglas XFT 806 (360-225-9436; www.lamiglas.com)
Length: 8 ft.
Action: Heavy
Line: 15- to 30-pound-test
Lures: 3/8 to 21/2 oz.
Guides: Low-profile Fuji Concept System Price: $180
Comment: The perfect rod for extra flipping distance, this 8-footer is lighter-at 5.1 ounces-than many 71/2-foot models.

The 12 low-profile guides together weigh less than a single guide on many other flipping rods.

Team All Star Big Boy TAS 908BB (800-334-9105; www.allstarrods.com) Length: 71/2 ft.
Action: Heavy
Line: 12- to 30-pound-test
Lures: 3/8 to 2 oz. Guides: Titanium-coated stainless steel
Price: $110
Comment: It's a very powerful yet lightweight flipping stick for manhandling bass out of the most imposing cover. The Sensa Touch "blank-thru" reel seat helps you detect light bites.

[BRACKET "PITCHING STICKS"]
Browning Citori C1610MHT (800-227-7776; www.browningfishing.com)
Length: 6 ft. 10 in.
Action: Medium-heavy
Line: 10- to 20-pound-test
Lures: 3/8 to 1 oz. Guides: Fuji Alconite Concept
Price: $80
Comment: Ideal for pitching lighter baits, the Citori's 46-million-psi graphite matrix blank is sensitive and responsive. And it's priced right.

St. Croix Avid AC66MHF (800-826-7042; www.stcroixrods.com)
Length: 61/2 ft.
Action: Medium-heavy
Line: 10- to 20-pound-test
Lures: 3/8 to 1 oz.
Guides: Fuji Alconite Concept
Price: $160
Comment: The SCIII graphite blank delivers a smooth, light performance, peerfect for a combination of pitching and casting. Alconite Concept guides increase strength, sensitivity, and casting distance.

Team Daiwa Advantage TDA701HRB (562-802-9589; www.daiwa.com)
Length: 7 ft.
Action: Heavy
Line: 12- to 25-pound-test
Lures: 3/8 to 11/2 oz.
Guides: Fuji New Concept aluminum oxide
Price: $90
Comment: The HSD graphite blank is tough enough to haul big bass out of thick cover but is still relatively light and sensitive.