This article is from the Fishing bass FAQ, by Bass Rogue with numerous contributions by others.
Flipping is an underhand casting technique used to fish close to the shore
and around structure. It is primarily used where stealth and pin-point
accuracy are more important than casting distance.
When bass are located in shallow water, they tend to spook easily. When
they get spooked, they take off for deeper water where they have an up and
down to go along with their left and right and back and forth. In other
words, deeper water is safer because it offers more escape directions.
With typical over-hand or side-arm casting techniques, the lure enters the
water with a lot of sound and splash. This often spooks nearby bass. To
overcome this entry commotion, flipping is used. This casting technique
allow the lure to enter the water with no more than a plop, which often
corresponds to a critter falling off a branch into the water.
With the flipping technique, you let out all the line you intend to use
before you cast. Typically, this will be between 12 and 15 feet. Once
the line is out, engage the bail on your spinning reel or the spool on
your baitcaster. In other words, the reel should be ready to take up
line. Next, with the rod tip pointing up and away at a 45 degree angle,
grab the line between the reel and the first rod line guide and pulled it
out to the side. This should retrieve the lure 4 to 6 feet which should
get it out of the water. If it doesn't, take up a couple of feet of line
and try again.
Once the lure is just out of the water and 4 to 6 feet of line is pulled
out to the side, it's time to cast. Starting with the rod tip pointed up
and away at a 45 degree angle, pull the rod tip back to cause the lure to
swing back towards you. Once the lure is back, lower your rod tip so the
lure swings forward. As the lure swings forward, raise your rod tip so
the lure just skims above the water without touching it. When the lure
gets past the rod tip and starts to swing up, lower the rod tip to keep
the lure just above the water surface. When the lure has reached it's
greatest distance away from you, let it drop quietly into the water. As
soon as it hits the water, release the line you have been holding out to
the side. This sudden release of slack line will allow the lure to fall
straight down which will trigger more strikes than a lure that falls on a
curve due to a taut line.
If you don't get a strike on the fall, when you should get the majority of
strikes, let the lure sit on the bottom for a couple of seconds, then
twitch it a couple of times. If that doesn't cause a strike, pull in and
flip again. To pull in, grab the line between the reel and first rod line
guide again. As you lift the rod tip, pull the line out to the side.
Once you get the lure out of the water, shake it a couple of times to shed
excess water. This will prevent alarming the bass with a bunch of water
drops as the lure approaches the water. With the excess water gone, flip
the lure again. Once you get proficient with flipping, you should be able
to flip to a different spot at the rate of a spot every ten seconds.
Flipping is a good technique for working shoreline vegetation with a lot
of pockets or holes. It is also a good technique for working structure
like dock pilings. Strategies for flipping vary. One strategy is to
sequentially flip to every target you encounter. This strategy is based
on letting the bass in the next hole know that something is coming their
way. Another strategy is to randomly flip to targets within reach. This
strategy is based on surprising the bass. With either strategy, it's a
good idea to make repeated flips to prime targets. Sometimes, this
repeated intrusion is what causes the strike.
The lure of choice for flipping is the jig. The jig can be rigged with a
pork or plastic trailer and can be equipped with or without a rattle. The
next choice for flipping would be a plastic worm, rigged Texas style.
Sometimes, a small spinnerbait with small Colorado blades can be a good
diversion for a flipping lure.
The preferred flipping outfit would be something like a 7 to 7-1/2 feet
medium-heavy to heavy rod with a baitcaster reel loaded with 17 to 20
pound of monofilament. This outfit would be appropriate for flipping jigs
into heavy cover. For clear water lakes where finesse fishing produces
the best results, a 7 to 7-1/2 feet medium-light to medium rod with a
spinning reel loaded with 4 to 8 pound monofilament would be a good bet.
An outfit like that would be appropriate for flipping Texas-rigged finesse
worms on the out-side edge of weed beds.