Flipping and pitching thick vegetation — close range fishing in thick vegetative cover with heavy tackle
Flipping was invented by Dee Thomas in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an alternative to "tule dipping." With tule dipping, the angler used a long pole (with no reel) to present a jig or other bait to bass in heavy cover. When tournament rules prohibited tule dipping, Thomas developed flipping. Pitching came along several years later as anglers learned they could make precise, quiet presentations using underhanded casts with their flipping gear.
When to Use:
In the South, Scroggins says the best time to pitch is winter to early spring, ideally November to April. He says you can flip and pitch year round in most of the country.
Where to Use:
Lily pads, hydrilla that reaches the surface forming a mat, or any place the wind clumps floating vegetation together is prime flipping and pitching real estate.
Flipping and pitching a lure into thick, matted cover requires extreme tackle. Scroggins uses a Castaway heavy action 7-foot, 6-inch Terry Scroggins signature flipping stick mated to a 6.3:1 Pflueger Patriarch baitcaster. Sixty-five-pound Stren Super Braid is needed to get fish out of the cover and to the surface quickly. Scroggins uses custom hooks he forms from spinnerbait hooks that have a keeper and a large barb to hold fish in dense weeds. He uses anywhere from a 1/2- to 1 1/2-ounce Xcalibur tungsten weight, pegged up against the bait, to punch through the thickest mats.
Scroggins uses either Yum's Big Show Craw, which he designed, or a Yum Vibra King tube. He favors Cooter Brown and black and brown colors.
When searching for the right place to pitch to, Scroggins looks for cover that is connected to the bottom in some way. Reeds, tall grass, or a stump sticking up is what he looks for, and then he targets holes within the cover. He also says that as long as the cover is in two or three feet of water, it is worth pitching to. Once you find good cover, pitch or flip your bait to it. After the bait enters the cover, Scroggins lets the lure drop naturally by peeling line off the reel until it hits bottom. Hop it once or twice before pulling it back out. Until you figure out the pattern within the pattern and zero-in on the cover, depth and other conditions that make a spot productive, you may need to make hundreds or thousands of presentations over the course of the day to put your bait in front of a limit of bass. Once you feel a strike, set the hook as hard as you can to get the bass moving up and out of the cover. If the fish is allowed to move with the bait, it may bury itself in the cover or pull loose from the hook.
One More Thing:
Scroggins fishes quickly when flipping and pitching. If a fish doesn't take his offering within just a few seconds, he's on to the next piece of cover.