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Flippin and Pitchin Structure

By: Tim Domaille


Much too often, when pulling up to a tree laying in the water or a flooded bush anglers will present their lure right to center of the target and work it back. This can result in many missed opportunities. If you do hookup and catch one from the heart of the cover you have now spooked additional and possibly larger fish positioned on the outer edges of the structure.

If you are guilty of this the following will hopefully help you put more fish in the boat. Start by looking at what kind of structure is in the water. Is it a tree branch, a bush, a treetop, or a rock pile. Try to picture what the piece of structure looks like under the water. Visualize the mass and length of the cover based on the information you can see above the water line.

Say it is a bigger tree branch with some good size branches coming off the main branch. Start by throwing to the outside along the edges of the smaller branches. Work your bait slow so you can feel it coming over the smaller branches and let it fall back after cresting the branch. Repeat until you cannot feel the bait coming over additional branches on the extreme outside of the cover. Then reel it back and repeat.

When fishing the outsides of the structure, you can throw baits like worms, jigs, creatures, tubes or just about anything else. At this point, you can get by with lighter weights which will make the bait fall slower and stay in the strike zone longer. As you work your way to the heart of the cover a heavier weight may be needed.

Once you have picked apart the outside edges, start working your way inward. Throw closer to the main branch and work your way back at a 30-45 degree angle. This may have you position your boat to one side or the other of the main branch. As said before, you may need to go with a heavier weight at this time, depending on the thickness of the cover. Here jigs or Texas rigged tubes or creatures seem to work best.

Finally you have made your way to the heart of the structure closest to shore. You will now want to make longer pitches and try to bring the bait along the main branches or base of the bush to catch those that are sitting right under it. Be sure to keep your boat well off the cover as bumping it may spook your quarry. Again, jigs, Texas rigged tubes or creature baits work well. If the cover allows you can throw spinner baits, swim jigs and crank baits around the area to complete your offering.

Rock piles work about the same way, start on the outside edges and work your way in. Use a sensitive rod and donít be afraid to miss the outer edges with your first offering. It is better to be off the cover at first and find the outer edge on your next offering.

If you have a very brushy tree or bush you are fishing. Again, start with the outside and work inwards. When flippin this type of structure, it may require several attempts to cover the bush. Flip the bait in and let it fall all the way to the bottom. Let it sit there for a couple of seconds and jig it up and down a couple of times. The fish will usually hit it on the fall.  If the fish did not hit it within this time, try another hole close to the spot you just flipped into. Much of the time, a fish in very heavy cover will not want to move far so you will have to put it right in front of them.

Try this technique and you may just find yourself covering half the water you did before and catching many more fish, especially when the bite is tough.