Flipping is no longer for specialists. Look into most bass anglers rod lockers and you’re going to find at least one long, stout rod latched to a gutsy reel spooled with heavy-duty line. You can Flip anywhere in the country from Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota to Okeechobee in Florida, or the California Delta to the Potomac River in Maryland,Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, everyone is sneaking jigs or soft plastic baits into cover and catching fish. As good as the technique can be, however, there are times when conventional flipping tactics aren’t going to be as effective. Basic fundamentals will catch fish, but extreme conditions call for extreme measures. How to catch cold-front bass that were less likely to submit to conventional tactics. Instead of nibbling around the edges of vast brush and pencil reeds aim for the heart of dense hydrilla mats where the bass will be seeking comfort amid tumbling water temperatures. Scroggins says, “Schools of fish were burrowed underneath them.”The presentation required more than your basic bullet sinker/plastic bait or a jig-and-pig. The grass was so thick on top that Scroggins had to rig a 1 1/4-ounce sinker with a 3-inch craw to drill his bait to the bottom.”
“The technique can be just as deadly in deeper water, but the bites may not come on the bottom, adds Scroggins.”The bass will suspend just beneath deep mats,” he offers. “If the water is deeper than a couple of feet, I’ll let the bait go to the bottom, shake it, pull it about halfway up and shake it, and then raise it to the bottom of the mat and shake it again. That’s a good way to determine where they’re holding.Gearing upMost pros believe that any bait you can get in front of a bass hiding in thick cover will trigger a reaction. But getting any bait through a wall of grass requires a heavy sinker and a compact lure.”A big worm or bait with a lot of appendages tends to grab onto the cover, slow the presentation or even hang up,” explains Klein. “You need something you can drive through the cover and won’t catch on leaves or stems.”
“The key is to get the bait where the fish are and trigger a reaction,” he describes. “Sometimes, like in cold water, you may have to hold the bait down there for several seconds and shake it to entice the strike. In either case, the big weight is critical to the presentation.”Line and hooks are equally important. Many pros prefer braid over monofilament because of the added strength, sensitivity and lack of stretch. When hooking big fish in heavy cover, you need the power to drive the hook home and haul the bass to the top.I used 80-pound SpiderWire Stealth with a small diameter, which helps the weight penetrate the mat easier,” says Klein.
“Because of the heavy line, extra-strong hooks that won’t bend or break are required. You’ll need wide gap designs to give the hook enough room to penetrate the plastic and secure itself in the bass’ jaw.Naturally, a 7- to 7 1/2-foot flipping rod is a must; the stouter the better. Thick vegetation drags on the line and diminishes power on the hook set, so you need something with extra muscle.
“I normally use 6.2:1 baitcast reels for my fishing, but I want a slower (5:1) reel for this technique,” Grigsby adds. “The slower-geared reels give you more power to crank fish out of cover.”
The Technique of Punching
Punching has quickly become one of the hottest techniques nation wide for catching large bass. During the hot summer months the largest bass often move deep into the cover where anglers couldn’t get. The development of new products like “punch skirts”, large tungsten weights, miller punching weights but don’t forget your big jigs tipped with craw worms, super strong braided line and stronger hooks has made getting to these deep cover fish a reality. There something about hooking a fish through a foot of vegetation and then fighting them out and getting them in the boat that is pretty darn exciting.
As a Follow Up Bait
Punching is also a great way to follow up those missed frog fish. Often times when fishing a frog in the thick vegetation the big bass will show themselves but, not get the frog. This makes a punch rig a great follow up bait for getting to those bass that just won’t commit to the frog through the thick vegetation.
The most popular punch’n rig consists of the following pieces
Listed in the order you add them to your line.
1. Minimum 65lb Braided Line
2. A bobber stopper / weight stopper
3. A large weight generally 1 ounce or more
4. A Punch Skirt
5. A Flippin’ hook
6. A plastic bait from Ghost Baits, Bass Magnet baits or Bite It Baits.
For your punch’n jig needs check out Paridise Tackle Co.
Source: Monster Tackle, Bassmaster