Flipping and pitching are usually thought of as slow, methodical ways of fishing, and they definitely can be that. But there's a lot more to flipping and pitching than just putting a bait in heavy cover and letting it soak there. Depending on how you fish, flipping and pitching can even generate reaction strikes from bass.
What a lot of anglers overlook is the fact that most of the strikes you get when flipping and pitching — and a lot of the bites you get whenever you fish any sinking lure — come on the initial fall. If a bass is where you think he is and you put a jig, worm or creature bait right on his head, then he's probably going to grab it as it falls past. It's not something they think about; it's something they just do!
The key to making your flipping and pitching a reaction bite strategy is to really refine your pattern. The more you know about where the bass are positioned, the better you can make your presentation and the less time (and flips or pitches) you'll make.
For example, if you know that bass are holding on the points or indentations of a certain type of vegetation, you can skip everything else and just target those spots. And if you know that 80 or 90 percent of your strikes are going to come on that initial fall, you'd be making a big mistake to lift and drop the bait five or six times. By far, the best presentation would be to flip or pitch to the specific cover, let the bait fall to the bottom, and then, if you don't get bit, reel it in for another presentation.
One of my favorite flipping and pitching baits for a reaction bite is the Bass Pro Shops Beaver Bug. I like to fish it on 60-pound-test braid or 25-pound-test XPS Fluorocarbon line with a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 6.3:1 casting reel and a Pro Qualifier XPS flipping rod. With a 1/4-ounce XPS tungsten slip sinker and 4/0 extra wide gap hook, I can get a fast enough fall to generate reaction bites.
You can fish fast even when you flip and pitch, but you have to really know your pattern and be disciplined enough to crank the bait back in once it's hit the bottom. It can be the difference between 5 good flipping bites and 10 solid bites over the course of the day. Give it a try the next time you go flipping and pitching.