First let’s introduce David Walker, this year is a big one for Team Evinrude angler David Walker. He’s re-entering the B.A.S.S. Tour as an angler to watch and is an active part of Evinrude’s pro staff. Walker, who runs an 250 H.O. Evinrude E-TEC engine on a Ranger boat, recently jumped into the world of social media. He’s active on Facebook, a blogging contributor to EvinrudeETeam.com and runs his own website, DavidWalkerFishing.com.
Second, I would like to thank Mr. David Walker for taking time to speak with us. I conceder myself pretty avid at flipping and pitching, however you can never learn enough or stop reinforcing what you know or believe. Mr. Walker is well known for his ability to put quality fish in the boat when flipping and pitching baits. So, who better to ask about these techniques that someone who makes a living mastering them.
Mr. Walker when you are flipping and pitching what gear ratio reel do you like and why?
For flipping and pitching, I like to use a high speed gear ratio 7 to 1 or at least something over 6 – like a 6.3 to 1. The reason for this is when you are flipping you are using a longer rod and you set the hook hard, once the rod is straight up over your head you then need to drop the rod tip in order to make your next pull to pull the fish away from the cover. Once you drop your rod tip you create slack in the line, so it is best to have a high speed reel to recover.
What length rod do you like to use for flipping or punching matted vegetation and why?
I like to use an 8 ft. flipping rod when flipping matted vegetation because I am not pitching, I am actually flipping. A longer rod gives me further range, also greater leverage when trying to pull a fish out of extreme cover.
And what length rod do you like for standard pitching baits to cover and why?
For standard pitching baits, I like a 7’2″ or 7’5″. A shorter rod for me is a little easier to use on a pitch because the rod tip does not drag the surface of the water.
For most anglers, when looking at a giant field of matted vegetation it can be very overwhelming, how to you break it down to find a place to start?
To break down a large area of matted vegetation, normally I will look for differences such as little points or pockets.
There are thousands of soft plastic bait choices out there, what do you look for in a soft plastic bait to use for punching vegetation?
For a soft plastic bait used to punch through vegetation I like a compact bait – something that resembles a crawfish.
And what characteristics do you look for in a jig for punching vegetation?
For a jig used to punch through vegetation, my favorite jig has a bullet style head and is heavy enough to go all the way to the bottom.
If you had a choice would you rather use a jig or soft plastic? What helps you determine which to start with?
A Jig or Soft Plastic? Well given the choice, my preference is a jig, but this is something you need to experiment with and let the fish decide which is better.
What conditions will get you excited about flipping matted vegetation, I.E. what are the perfect conditions?
For me, the conditions I like for flipping matted vegetation is in the fall. Normally this technique is used in the fall because this is when the grass has had the entire season to grow and mat over.
Are there conditions that you won’t consider punching matted vegetation?
No, there are no conditions that I won’t consider punching matted vegetation.
When learning how to flip matted vegetation, the question “what size weight (in either a jig or soft plastic)” is always a question that baffles anglers that are trying to learn this valuable technique. Where do you like to start in weight size and what factors do you use to adjust to find the one the fish will react to best?
The weight size on either a jig or a soft plastic I like to use for this technique is whatever weight will go through easily. This might be a 3/4 ounce or you might have to go up to 1 1/2 ounce. If it does not go through, get a heavier weight.
What’s your preferred hook choice, Offset – Straight Shank?
I personally like to use a straight shank hook because there is less tendency to get hung on grass.
Braid, Flouro, or Mono?
I will use Braid 90 percent of the time, the rest of the time I will use mono if I feel the fish are quite a bit line shy because of the braid, then I will switch to a heavy mono.
What is the best advice you would give a beginner about punching matted vegetation?
Don’t expect this technique to get you a lot of bites, this is a great way to catch a really big fish so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a lot of bites right away.
On EvinrudeETeam.com, be sure to check out Mr. Walkers Flipping and Pitching video in the archives, and you can also find it on his website DavidWalkerFishing.com under videos.
Again, I would like to thank Mr. Walker for taking the time to visit with us here on Ultimate Bass and providing some great insight into a technique that tends to baffle some of us. Being an experienced vegetation “puncher” myself I can tell you that this is a fun way to put some quality fish in the boat. My personal best fish came while punching mats of vegetation, so take these steps and give it a shot and you too could catch a fish of a life time. Just remember what he told us, it’s not a numbers game but more of a quality fish technique. So take your time be patient and enjoy the rewards.
Get the Net it’s a Hawg Mike Cork