Stop Reeling: Try Flipping and Pitching for Bass and Trout

Great technique for stream fishing and bank fishing

Working your bail and spool while making long and accurate casts can be big fun. But those types of casts don’t always make sense. Sometimes more finesse is required if you want to get your lure in more difficult but less-fished locations.

How to Pitch Cast a Fishing Lure

Densely weeded banks and rocky creek beds are home to many bass and trout that flip and pitch casting can reach more easily than you would be able to by making standard casts.

The techniques take a little practice to learn but we’ll get you started on pitching and flipping your lures with this guide.

How to Flip Cast

Learning how to pitch cast first might help with flipping, but you don’t necessarily have to pitch a lure to start flip casting.

To begin flipping, let out enough line for your lure to reach the end point of where you are trying to fish – maybe 10 or 15 feet away from where you are standing.

Instead of casting and reeling like normal, you swing your lure to the end point with your bail closed. At the same time, use your free hand to work the line on your rod.

Your free hand holds some slack on the line while you swing your lure. That slack is released when you cast, and then you manually drag the line back through the eyes on your rod until you’re ready to swing the lure again.

You can swing the lure to that spot any way that you want, then drag the lure back and keep repeating that process until you’re ready to find another fishing hole.

But there’s a little more to learn about the “swinging” part, and this is what becomes useful for pitch casting.

Making a good “pitch” with your lure will see it swing just above the water where your target is, and drop from a few inches away with minimal energy transferred to the water. This creates less of a splash and scares less fish.

Pitch casting involves more than just swinging your lure where you want it to go. Here’s how you can make good pitches while you’re flip casting:

  • Have your lure extended to the right length for your target cast.
  • Have your free hand working the line on your rod with your bail closed.
  • Raise the tip of your rod upward so the lure swings back toward you.
  • Lower the tip of your rod so the lure swings toward the target.
  • Let go of the line when the lure is reaching ideal propulsion.
  • Begin manually dragging the line with your free hand and repeat.

Some more tips for flip casting:

  • Flip cast with the amount of energy you need for your lure to reach its target so the lure doesn’t bounce back and splash into the water.
  • Keep your lure as low to the water as possible. If you flip too hard, having your offhand slowing the line can reduce the amount that your lure snaps back at the end of a cast.
  • When retrieving your lure, work both the line with your free hand and the rod with your main hand.
  • On retrieval, your lure should typically come out of the water with enough momentum to be immediately reswung.

How to Pitch Cast

Pitch casting gives you a little more range than flipping, but offers a similar degree of precision for fishing in difficult locations. This is an ideal technique for bass fishing on shallow banks.

Since your bail is open while pitch casting, your lure might go further than you can manually drag like with flip casting. This technique requires some reeling, but much less than usual because you’re still making short casts.

Instead of leaving your bail closed like when flipping, keep the bail open and a finger on your line or spool until you are ready to release the lure and make your cast.

Here’s how pitch casting goes:

  • Have your lure hanging around the bottom of your rod or your waist.
  • Keep a finger somewhere on the line or spool with your bail open.
  • Raise the tip of your rod upward so the lure swings back toward you.
  • Lower the tip of your rod so the lure swings toward the target.
  • Remove your finger from line the or spool when you’re ready to cast.
  • Close your bail and begin reeling when the lure reaches the target.

Why Learn Flip & Pitch Casting?

Both techniques are ideal for instances where you don’t need to make such long casts and those times when you can benefit more from making many short casts in rapid succession. Again, especially along the banks of streams, rivers and lakes.

Maybe the pool you’re fishing is only a few feet wide, perhaps there are trees down in the area, or the bank just ahead is covered in weeds. If a bass takes your hook in that situation, you don’t want to have a long retrieval where your line may become tangled.

Along with being great for casting around obstacles, you can make more flip casts per minute at a small fishing hole than you can make full cast and retrieves.

If you want to make the most of your time on the water, efficiency boosts like that go a long way. It also helps that you’re close to any spot where your lure might get snagged. And we get less snags with flip casting in general.

We won’t be so quick as to say that you’ll catch more fish by flipping or pitching. But efficiency boost aside, these techniques are most useful for fishing at more challenging spots that are likely to get less traffic, so those fish are inevitably presented with less lures.

And the Best Flip or Pitch Casting Rod?

The one you have. Any rod can be used to flip or pitch a lure. Specialty rods are sold for those techniques and fast action rods measuring seven to eight feet long are typically suggested as being ideal for flipping or pitching. That said, we use a five foot Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite for creek fishing though and have no problems flip or pitch casting with that.

Need some fishing gear? Here’s what we use.

Author: Top Strike Fishing

We sell fishing gear that catch us fish and blog about our adventures. Buy the best lures for bass, trout, panfish & more. Read about fishing techniques, how to tie fishing knots & why we love to go fishing.

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