Monday, June 13, 2011

a Pitch, a Punch & a Flip

You may not agree with me, but where I come from there are a awful lot of similarities between pitching, punching and flipping. A lot the same baits and terminal tackle can be used for each, and sometimes it just comes down to where you are and what kind of water you are about to launch your bait into.

Lets start off with terminology,( since in different region each can mean something slightly different) today Im talking about flipping, pitching and punching Texas rigged baits only, so get the bulky jigs out of your head. When i say pitching or flipping, im talking about the throwing baits in and around cover and structure. A quiet approach of slipping my bait into areas that I hope is holding fish. Now when I say punching! Im talking about the art of punching my bait through the thick slop or matted weed beds. This approach is not so stealthy as the other method but it does require accuracy and patience.. now that we have that out of the way...

As with all techniques gear, terminal tackle and bait are all very important and each angler will argue a case of each of them being more important than the other. For me they are all equally important.


Rod &Reel Lets start of with your rod and reel. For the rod i like to go with something atleast 7ft in length a MH rod with a F to XF tip. This is a great rod size for flipping and pitching. If the rod was only for punching, then i may opt up to a H rod over the MH. As for the reel, you need something with cranking power that picks up line quick. I use a Shimano Curado 300 series.  Everyone has their own preference in brands so I wont be insulted if you choose a Quantum

Line When it comes to these techniques you really have two choices.. braid, or braid with a leader.  The leader may come in handy in clear water situations but for most of the lakes i fish, i can get away with using straight braid. On average I will spool up with 50-65lb Power Pro, this season Im giving the new Suffix 832 a shot as well. There are many quality braids on the market so choose one you like, because at $20 or more a spool you don’t want to be throwing any away. 





Tip: If not using a leader when pitching and flipping you can use a marker to darker the line. This will allow you to get away with higher vis line. This tip is shared by many of the pro’s so I don’t think it will be news to you.


Hooks You want something sharp, and you want something strong.. Im guessing this is not news to you either. There is always debate over wide gap off set hooks over standard hooks. I use the standard hook for punching; I don’t need anything making it harder for my bait to slide through the slop. For pitching and flipping I still use a wide gap in most situations. You cant go wrong with Gamakatsu hooks, i carry both the standard and lighter gauge wire, in both red and nickel. 





Tip: Try new hooks when they hit the market. Purchasing a pack of hooks is relatively inexpensive. Even if you are happy with your current brand it is a good idea to see what’s out there, see with different options are available. You may be surprised and find something that improves your hook-up ratio or presents you bait a little differently.


Bullet Weights 
This is a vastly changing and growing market. With the introduction of Tungsten it has allowed for smaller and stealthier presentations. But tungsten is not the only change, weights went from being pegged or screwed down to being insert free and bobber stopped?  If you had looked at my collected of bullet weights 2 years ago you would have seen nothing but screw down weights with an insert. Now you will find insert free tungsten weights and a collection of rubber bobber stops. These new options still provide the snug fit of a pegged weight but do less damage to your plastic bait. If you are flipping and pitching you can ease up and leave a bit more play and when punching you can increase the pressure and keep the weight firmly on the head of the bait.





Baits

Here is where things start to veer indifferent directions.  Im not going to get into specific baits, but more styles of baits. I run with three styles.. Small (compact), medium (a bit of bulk) and large (bulky). If Im flipping and pitching I will usually opt for the medium to large baits. I don’t need to sneak into smaller holes and the bulky baits can ensure Im seen and seen quickly. When punching I tend towards the small baits.. remember small does not mean short! a 8in worm may still be small, since the thin profile allows me to get it into holes without hanging up. Each of these baits will cover a variety of areas and it all comes down to what the fish want.






I did not cover the skirt aspect of punching since this is something I have never tried. It is not a common method if my area , we stick to punching baits and leave the shirts on our jigs


So as you can see a few simple baits, a hook and a bullet weigh make up the key to all three of these techniques. Each may have it's suble differences, but if you have all of thee above, but sure to give each method a try.. you will catch more fish

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