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Finesse Flipping
by Massimo Zanetti

The weather scenario was the typical post-frontal one: You know, bluebird skies and locked-jaw largemouths. After three hours spent deliberately flipping conventional lures in the thickest cover and getting only one bite on a 1/2 oz. jig & pig, I thought that there must be better way to unlock those jaws and stimulate the fish into biting. I figured in my mind that a finesse approach should have been athe thing to try...but the light line finesse tackle didnít jive with that heavy cover! So, instead of using light tackle, I Texas rigged  a small 4" perch-colored Snakebite Mega Curl on my heavy 7í6" flipping stick, doused it with a generous shot of KickíN Bass fish attractant, and I started putting that small piece of plastic into the thick stuff!

Right on the third presentation, flipping my small bait at a log mixed in a patch of grass, my monofilament suddenly twitched! I quickly reeled in the slack and set the hook! A 2-pounder thrashed over the grass. "That's better!" I thought gladly as I pulled it into the boat and released it in few seconds. In the next five minutes, after catching another couple of fish about the same size, I felt I was onto something with my newly-discovered finesse flipping. So I decided to experiment by switching to an equally small 3/16 oz. skirted jig trailed by a 2.5 inch Snakebite Frog. After 20 minutes using the small jig without getting a single bite I started wishing to change back to the Mega Curl, when my line started slowly moving towards the boat. After a powerful tussle, the electronic handscale stopped at almost 4 pounds this time! In the remaining two hours of that fishing trip, my fishing buddy and I caught another couple of dozen fat and vigorous largemouths by flipping finesse style.

Small slow-moving lures and stout tackle. Since those early experimental days, this combo of finesse lures on flipping tackle has often represented a good cure to locked-jaw fish. You offer a subtle-looking bait right on the nose of those bass hiding in the thickest places. The fish hardly refuse this kind of offering.

The two categories of flipping finesse lures I use include:

Jigs: I include skirted jigs up to ľ oz in this category. I usually trim the skirts down to make them look even smaller, and I add an equally small trailer, normally a 2.5" Snakebite Frog or a 3" soft-plastic craw like the Snakebite Mega Craw. In this way, I obtain an extremely short, compact lure that I can put everywhere in thick cover.

Soft plastics: Snakebite is one manufacturer who offers a great line of small plastics ideal for finesse purposes when flipping and pitching. I love the 4" Mega Curl, a versatile Zipper-type worm with a great built-in action. I usually flip this bait with a 3/16 or ľ oz. bullet weight. The 3" Mega Craw (that Iíve just mentioned above as jig trailer) is a deadly lure all by itself when Texas rigged and flipped! The same goes for the other soft plastics which Snakebite hand-pours, especially the 4" Finesse Paddle. Just click here if you want to know more about Snakebite Custom Fishing Tackle.

Not a lot of weight. The great thing Iíve found about flipping small lures is that I donít need to add a lot of weight for them to puncture heavy cover. A 4" straight worm, goes almost everywhere even if you put a small bullet weight in front of it. And it is an offering that the bass just doesnít see too often in thick vegetation. Finesse lures are compact and because of that, they do not seem to ever intimidate the fish in any way. They in fact represent an unobtrusive and easy meal to the eyes of any bass.

The key is the small lure. I have experienced that flipping finesse lures is a technique that pays big dividends.  I can tell you of a lot of other times when flipping small baits has produced for me since 1993 when I first tried it. Using this tactic, Iíve had second big bass on the third day on the 1994 International Tournament flipping a 4" western worm in reeds. In one of last year's Italian Championship tournaments, flipping a 3/16 oz. black jig, I culled almost 4 limits of bass while the other contestants struggled to catch a couple of fish!

Another example is that in Italy in general, we started flipping tube jigs in the early 90s. We simply Texas rigged every kind of soft plastic lure we had and flipped them into the thickest cover. We werenít aware that US anglers typically did not flip tube jigs then. Were we wrong to flip the small profile tube lures? Not if you ask former 2Ėtime B.A.S.S. Megabucks champion Doug Garrett or 1998 Bassmasters Classic Champion Denny Brauer. Since the success of these national pros, many US anglers now flip tube lures into thick cover like we've been doing it in Italy! Likewise, I hope you may have picked up a few more tips from this article about finesse flipping and the lures we use to do it Italian-style!

Regards, Massimo

Author Information.

Massimo Zanetti is 33 years old, Italian by birth and bassman by choice! Massimo is married to his wife Annalisa since 1992 and they have two daughters, Paola and Chiara. Fishing since he was a kid, now Massimo fishes almost exclusively for bass since 1988. He started bass fishing competitively in late 1992. Massimo writes articles for a few Italian fishing magazines, club newsletters, and websites. Massimo has been a featured speaker at several seminars.

Massimo considers himself a versatile bass fisherman who always tries to adapt techniques and lures to weather/water conditions and to the bass metabolism. He loves to fish around shallow cover and visible targets, and he's mostly a river fisherman. In his opinion, this is the way to go!

He is a field tester for Shimano Italia/Rapala and he's sponsored by KeepAlive Oxygen Infusors, S.O.B. Fishing Products, Snakebite Custom Fishing Tackle and Scientific Bass Products.

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