Gear Up Now For More Bass Flippin’ Success

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

A recent field-test of new Seaguar Flippin’ Lines shows they are a logical addition to this specialized technique—and deserve a strong look in any avid bass-hunter’s arsenal.

Walker&Bass600Sometimes you’ll find big bass cruising a shallow flat, or maybe you’ll stumble onto a school of above-average fish up on a primary weed edge or long, narrow, structure-laden point. All of these can call for somewhat “standard” fishing tactics, or maybe some “finesse” fishing methods might come into play. But when big bass bury themselves in dense cover, it’s a whole different ballgame. Now is the time to break out more-specialized tactics and gear.

When big fish seek out the nastiest, densest cover on a given body of water, I tend to get a little excited. Primarily, because I know it’s time to reach for my heavy-duty flipping gear; another pulse-quickening factor is that I’m about to go “toe-to-toe” with some of the biggest bass in the lake. The adrenaline rush of these short, “knock-down-drag-out” battles is why many bass fishermen become addicted to flipping.

Flipping comes into play when targeting bass buried in various types of thick to ultra-thick vegetation; another ideal application is targeting bass positioned under boat docks, blowdowns, or other smaller, isolated structure. This is why the tactic of flipping is such an important one for bass anglers to employ; it is extremely effective at placing your bait in very tight areas, places where other presentations simply won’t work. It’s also a time when using the wrong gear or making the wrong decision can cost you a big bass—sometimes, in just a blink of an eye.

Throughout the season I do a lot of flipping, especially during the summer months when bass are notorious for burying themselves in the densest cover possible. At this time they are taking shelter from the heat, and smartly, placing themselves in a prime position to ambush an easy meal.

fliplines600The new Seaguar Flippin’ lines are available in both Braid and Fluorocarbon; the author prefers the Fluoro in clear-water areas, and the Braid in areas of heavy vegetation, where he’s found the super-strong, no-stretch line can slice right through vegetation to help with solid hooksets.
Techniques don’t get any more “extreme” than flipping, which is plainly evident in most “flipping specific” gear. Heavy-duty flippin’ sticks, as well as unique flippin’ baits and flippin’ jigs, have been around for many years, and all continue to evolve. Also exciting is the recent development of specialized, high-tech flipping lines, a charge that has been lead by line innovator Seaguar. Last season I had a chance to use these new high-tech lines, and can say without reservation that if you are a fan of this technique, you need to try these new lines.

Seaguar worked with Denny Brauer, considered by many the all-time master at flipping, to develop its Seaguar Flippin’ Line. The specialized line is available in both Fluorocarbon and Braided line versions; the key characteristics of both lines are strength and sensitivity, and both are critical when flipping. To maximize flipping success, you need to be able to feel everything your bait is doing, instantly, as the amount of “working line” is quite short. At the same time, you can’t sacrifice line strength, as you are dropping your bait into truly unforgiving cover: wood, sharp rocks, and, as previously stated, the heaviest, nastiest vegetation around.

As mentioned, I had a chance to try Seaguar’s new Flippin lines last fall, during an October trip to Kentucky Lake, and was extremely impressed. The “testing grounds” were the lake’s boat docks and stump fields, and I was able to boat many fine largemouths in the two- to three-pound class. These weren’t lunkers, but certainly big enough to whet my appetite and show these new lines are something special. Based on those results, I’ve been busy spooling up my reels with the new lines this winter, in preparation for my annual season-long, multi-state assault on all types of flipping cover throughout 2016.

WalkerFlippin600Flipping around heavy vegetation requires a line that is extremely tough, yet sensitive—qualities Seaguar seems to have figured out quite well in its new Flippin’ Lines.
If choosing between Flippin’ Braid or Flippin’ Fluorocarbon seems confusing, you might consider my own approach. For me, the two deciding factors are water clarity, and whether I will be fishing around vegetation. If I’m flipping my bait into heavy vegetation, such as lily pads or a dense patch of milfoil, Seaguar Flippin’ Braid gets the nod. The line’s color is a low-visibility black, and the construction features 8 ultra-thin strands in a tight, round-profile weave. This line has no stretch, so you get a solid hook set into the bass, and as a bonus, the line will actually cut through surrounding vegetation.

If I’m flipping around boat docks, riprap, and stumps, or if the vegetation is sparser, I’ll reach for a combo loaded with Seaguar Flippin’ Fluorocarbon. What sets this fluorocarbon line apart from others, is its best-in-class impact and knot strength, performance I saw for myself during my 2015 testing. Both of these factors are critically important in a flipping line, as the amount of working line is relatively short, so your choice must be able to absorb a tremendous amount of stress. Seaguar’s Fluorocarbon makes the grade.

I’m loading Seaguar Flippin’ line on a high-speed (7.9:1), Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon Reel, so I can quickly bring my flipping baits up out of cover, if I don’t get bit on that initial fall. Using a heavy-action flipping stick will help you drive that hook through the fish’s mouth and turn them right now, so they don’t bury themselves further into the cover. Having a stout rod is important, but you still need to have a sensitive and lite weight rod, so you can flip all day and feel those bites. I rely on the Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon Big Jig/Worm Rod which measures 7 feet, 4 inches.

FlipJigs600Two smart lure choices for flipping include a jig and a Texas-rigged soft plastic; the author tends to use one or the other, and he keeps his color choices fairly simple, depending mostly on black/blue, green pumpkin, and some form of watermelon flake.
When I’m flipping a Texas-rigged plastic bait around heavy cover, I rely on a very strong, sharp and dependable Lazer TroKar TK130 Flippin hook. This hook has proven to help me stick and hold bass with ease; also helpful is the TroKar barb near the eye that keeps my plastic bait of choice in place as it dances through cover. Keeping your bait as “low profile” as possible will help it ease through cover and otherwise avoid hang-ups; I accomplish this with tungsten weights that are heavier than lead so I can keep size down. Typically I’ll make use of Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Tungsten weights between ½ and 1 ½ ounces, depending on the thickness of the cover I’m trying to penetrate.

When it comes to flipping bait selection, keeping them low-profile again is key. Using craws or creature baits with the fewest number of appendages will keep them from getting hung up on the way through cover, allowing them to reach bottom quickly. When I choose a Texas-rig for fishing heavy cover, it is typically a Zoom Super Speed Craw or Super Hog; for colors, I like to keep it simple and depend mostly on black/blue, green pumpkin, and some form of watermelon with a flake in it.

If I’m not flipping a Texas-rig, I’ll likely be flipping a jig into heavy cover. Which type I choose will depend on the cover I’m flipping, the body of water, and any preferences the bass have shown. For jigs, I’ll typically use ½-ounce to 1 ½-ounce models; it’s helpful to select models that feature a line tie that will not catch vegetation. You also want sharp, strong hooks that won’t bend on a hook set. Using a trailer that keeps the bait compact and low profile can also be important in offering a natural-looking presentation.

Using the correct gear is vital any time you go head-to-head with big largemouth, but it is especially important when flipping. As you prepare for your upcoming fishing season, taking time to ensure you have everything you need will pay weighty dividends this season when it comes time to flipping up big bass.



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