BassWestUSA - Spring, 2013, Page 70

pro file

early Season Flipping

By ChriS Zaldain

talk and read a lot about warm water flipping and punching, but flipping can be just as effective and maybe even better in the early season. This is true for all river fed lakes and systems like one of my favorite places to fish, the California Delta. Generally, in the early season the water is dirty from the rains. This technique can be good with any water temperature, but when the water is in the mid 50’s to low 60’s is when you can really catch the giants. I’ll target tules and hard cover in dead end sloughs, the back of coves, or along rip-rap banks. If you can find an area that has rip-rap or rock along with stick ups or lay downs, you’ve got a double bonus area. Usually, I will shy away from the grass and vegetation during this time of the year, with the exception of tules. Tules, especially on the California Delta can really produce big bags this time of year. If you can find tules growing from a hard-pan bottom, that’s even better. My favorite bait for this technique is a black and blue Hack Attack Strike King jig. It has a big beefy hook and to put it simply; it just works. I will pair it with some sort of beaver style trailer in black and blue. Overall, black and blue is a great color in dirty water and is not only easy to see, but matches the color of the early season crawdads in most lakes and water systems. As the water begins to clear, I will switch up colors to possibly brown or green pumpkin colored Hack Attack jigs and trailers. Choosing the right line is essential. For mid to late season flipping or punch- ing, Seaguar Kanzen braid is often my choice in line. However, when I am flip- ping hard stuff I opt for Seagur Tatsu in 25-pound strength. The reason I go with the Tatsu fluorocarbon is because braid will sometimes dig into the wood and bury itself. With fluorocarbon that isn’t a


hoodies & LoNG sLeeves

GL2 seRies Rods

NRX Rods

GLX Rods

problem, it doesn’t dig into wood at all, yet it still has the strength to get the fish out of the wood. Tatsu also offers the low stretch properties that increase my ability to feel the bite. The fact it is very abrasion resistant allows me to pitch to gnarly cover without hesitation. For a rod, I would suggest a four-power rod instead of a meat stick (5 or 6 power) that I might use later in the season. The rod I use is an 804 Powell Endurance flipping stick. This rod has a more tip than a meat stick, but plenty of backbone for a great hook set and to horse a big fish out of lay down. I’ll pair the rod with a high-speed 7:1 gear ratio reel. The high-speed reel offers me two advantages over a lower speed reel. First, I can increase the number of flips I make, which is im- portant because I like to cover a lot of water. Second, when a big fish does bite there isn’t much for them to bury into, like when we are flipping near mat or grass. Because of that, the fish will often run right under the boat out to deep water. Being able to reel up line quickly and catch up to the fish before it gets under the boat is crucial to landing the fish. On tidal waters, I also pay close attention to the tides. I prefer early season flipping on high tides, but I have caught good bags on low tide also. Especially, near deeper targets off the bank. As the ice melts and the final winter storms blow through your area, break out the flipping stick and get on some early season flip fish. It’s a lot of fun and can lead to some big bags. BWU

duffeL BaG




Spring 2013