Guide to Springtime Flipping
Spring can be a beautiful time of year, winter is gone the sun is shining and the bass are moving shallow. The days are getting longer and it is time to watch the weather and see if the April showers really do bring May flowers. A combination of the warm spring rain causing water temps and water levels to rise and watercolor to change only means one thing for me. It’s time to put a flipping stick in my hand and flip as much cover as possible.
With the seasonal warmup, the largemouth begin moving from their wintering grounds and prepare to spawn in the coming weeks. This means transitioning to nearby flats and coves and invading the various types of cover in these areas. This includes bushes, trees, cattails, or docks. With your spring, rain often brings a rise in water level and a change in water color. With a combination of muddy/murky water starting to creep shallow and the sun starting to shine, water temps will start to climb from the cooler temps into the mid 50’s which is a great time to start flipping.
The most consistent baits I use for this time of year and technique are a jig and a Texas-rigged soft plastic based on conditions. I am searching for a reaction bite, so the bait's action isn’t as important for me. Based on the generally dirty water this time of year, I'm choosing darker colors such as black/blue, black with red or blue flake, and green pumpkin, and different variations of all three.
- A compact jig that I can flip into almost any piece of cover.
- It still has the weight and bulk presentation you want in a jig but is compact and balanced.
- Paired with a Missile Baits Baby D Bomb in a contrasting color as a trailer.
- My choice when I want less action on a bait but a bigger profile.
3/8oz – 1/2oz Texas Rig
- Missile Baits D Bomb
- Strike King Rage Craw
- 4/0 VMC flipping hook
- Slender profile/Subtle action
- I am flipping these in the thickest part of a piece of cover where I potentially can’t get a jig.
Whenever I flip cover in the springtime, I want a combo with speed and power. I opt for a 7’6” Heavy action rod because I prefer the length and feel I have more leverage on a fish in thick cover with a longer rod. But the size can depend on how you are fishing or what feels comfortable to you; a 7'0" or 7'3" may suit your style best.
I pair that rod with 200 size reel with a high gear ratio from 7.4:1 and up. The higher the gear ratio the better. The goal of that high gear ratio is to move that fish out of cover as quick as possible. There is not a lot of time to play around. Being able to pick up line quickly is essential to landing that fish.
Having the right bait, rod and reel set up is all for not if the line you are using isn't up to par. My choice of line is 20lb Seaguar AbrazX Fluorocarbon. This is a smooth and abrasion-resistant line built to hold strong in heavy cover. This size line can hold strong when fighting a fish in cover. A fish will inevitably wrap you around a log, dock post, you name it. If you aren't using a strong enough line, you risk losing that fish. A heavy fluorocarbon line provides a stealthy, subtle approach for those wary fish up shallow. A rod, reel and line combination such as this allows me to feel confident in my abilities to fish deep into cover without fear.
It is hard to be close quarters, hand-to-hand combat with bass up shallow in some bushes.
This is hands down one of my favorite ways to catch fish and dissect a body of water. Hopefully, this spring you're able to tango with a few fish up shallow yourself!
- Stan Miketa