One of the most popular techniques in all of bass fishing is flipping and pitching. The technique allows you to cover a ton of water and keep your bait in high percentage spots. If your lake has timber, docks, or grass you can bet a fair share of tournaments are won year after year by using this short line approach. Most avid bass anglers know how to flip and pitch these days, so often it helps to be able to offer the bass something a little different. I like to flip a jig probably more than anybody but there are times when you can generate more bites on a beaver style bait. I tend to prefer beaver style baits over tubes as alternatives to throwing a jig because I get a much better hook up. Beaver baits offer a large profile yet have a thin mid section which makes hook penetration really easy.
Most of the time when I am throwing a beaver I like to use a 1/2oz bullet weight. The heavier weight gives the bait a quick drop which generates a lot of reaction strikes. Sometimes fish will prefer a 3/16th oz weight but the 1/2 oz weight is my bread and butter. A lot of the lakes I grew up fishing in Illinois have real thick bushes that the fish tend to bury themselves in and the beaver is a bait that you can work in and out of the cover quick and easy. If I am fishing cover like docks a lot of times I will not peg the weight. The bait will have a more erratic fall without a pegged sinker and that is what tends to trigger the strikes.
When fishing grass or the thick stuff I will peg my sinker with a Naked Bait Co. Slip stop. For rigging my beaver baits I use a 4/0 light wire wide gap worm hook. Everyone thinks that when they flip you have to use a heavy wire hook. If you are fishing on a lake where you don’t have a whole lot of 6 to 7lb fish you will have an advantage if you use a lighter wire hook. The problem I’ve experienced with using real heavy wired hooks is that you will loose more fish due to the fact that it takes more force to penetrate a heavy wired hook into the fishes mouth. If you are flipping heavy cover a lot of times fish will take your bait and try and swim with it to where they will wrap the line around a piece of cover. This can sometimes hinder the kind of hookup you can get on a fish. If you throw a lighter wire hook you will still have plenty of holding power and get real good penetration. It seems counter intuitive to use a lighter wire hook in some of the heavy cover stuff but unless 6 to 7 pound fish are real common you don’t have to worry about having fish straighten your hook and you will be better off using a lighter diameter one.
One of the most deadly presentations to give the bait is to give it a short quick hop and then let it sink back into the brush on a slack line. When you do this your bait will rise off the bottom quickly and then spiral back down as the weight takes it to the bottom. I catch probably 80 to 90 percent of my beaver fish using this retrieve. The action that one of these baits has on the fall is totally different than any other bait on the market. The trick is making your bait fall as many times as possible.
Lake Fork Trophy Lures has a couple of beaver style baits that work really well. The Flipper is a great bait that looks a lot more like some of the other beaver baits on the market. The difference is that this bait has an abundance of ridges which help move a lot of water. The plastic has just the right combination of softness and durability that you look for in a quality plastic for flipping. The Hyper Freak is another beaver style bait in their line up. The bait has a good sized paddle tail that gives it a unique action along with short appendages that help it to move some water.
As far as colors go I like the Blue Bruiser color (black and blue) for stained water while the Green Pumpkin and Watermelon Red colored baits are dynamite for clear water. Those are standard colors that work everywhere. Certain colors seem to produce a lot better for whatever reason on different lakes. Okeechobee Craw is a great color for Lake of the Ozarks and Watermelon Candy can be hot at times on Kentucky Lake. Watermelon red has to be one of the best colors for during the spawn. June Bug is a great color to have for dirty water or night fishing and Red Shad and Blue Fleck are great when the water gets real hot in the