Improve Your Game with Rigging Innovations and Specialized Tackle

 It's been around for many years, but like all tenured tactics, flippin' has survived as a must-have tactic in the modern angler's playbook because fishermen nationwide constantly tweak, adjust and refine this presentation style for optimal effectiveness. Chances are that by the time you finish reading this roundup, someone somewhere will have figured a new trick to further enhance this deal, but we gotta start and finish somewhere, so here's a sampling of ideas and products that'll help you fine-tune your flippin'.

Lined Up and Level: For starters, flipping legend Denny Brauer knows that preventing his sinker from sliding up his line is important for flipping precision, but he also wants to keep that weight centered over the bait. He accomplishes this by sliding a Strike King tungsten weight onto his line, inserting a rubber nail peg through the weight and then pulling it snug against the line. He'll trim the back in of the nail peg and then pull it farther into the sinker so he only pegs the top third of the weight. Brauer finishes by snipping the peg as close as possible to the weight's top (narrow) edge.

"By doing it that way, it frees up the back of the slip sinker where the line's coming out so the line can re-center," Brauer said. "As careful as you can be in trimming that nail peg, there's still a chance you might nick that line, so I'll go ahead and pull (the weight) up a few inches and cut off that (bottom section) of my line so I'm absolutely certain I have not interfered with the line at all when I trimmed the rubber nail."

Brauer said the bottom line benefit of this rigging technique is preparing a bait the maintains optimal alignment for an effective presentation. Old school pegging with toothpicks, he notes, leaves the line cocked to one side of the weight and that mars the bait's appearance and fall angle.

Sound Off: Mississippi pro Roger Stegall's a big fan of the Carolina rig, so much so that he pulls a piece of that presentation into his Texas-rigged flipping baits. With worms, creature baits or any plastic, he'll add a plastic bead between the weight and the hook to add a visual accent plus that intriguing clicking sound that always seems to convince bass to look in the right direction.

Middle Matters: FLW Tour pro and Forrest Wood Cup champion Randall Tharp – heavy tungsten weights can abrade and cut your line when you swing and miss, weights with inserts are his preference. Tharp modifies those made without inserts by inserting a small section of heat shrink tubing, which will form to the weight's interior with a little cigarette lighter action, but maintains its own interior to allow line passage.

Tharp also adds a small section of heat shrink tube over the existing keeper on a flipping hook and leaves about a 1/16 inch lip on the hook shank at the lower edge. This increases the keeper's diameter so it holds baits more securely, while creating a smaller entry point when fitting a bait onto the keeper.

Kick It Up: Bassmaster Elite pro Greg Hackney always snells his flipping hooks to ensure they up on the hook set for maximum hooking efficiency. Often, he notes, a hard hook set with a big weight will pop the fish's mouth open and a hook rigged with an eye knot like a Palomar, for example, will usually follow the weight right out of the fish's mouth. Snelling, on the other hand, pulls the hook into just about a right angle with the line and that gives the point a much better chance of grabbing some lip.

The key, Hackney said, is to run your line through the hook eye front-to-back. This creates the correct angle, otherwise the hook kicks the wrong way and you miss your fish.


Tackle innovations are endless, but a handful of new ones may benefit your flipping efforts:

River2Sea's New Jack Hook - A secondary eye integrated onto the hook's bait keeper offers multiple rigging options so anglers can snell the hook through the first or second eye or tie any preferred knot to the first eye.

TWA Weedguard – Simple in design, but ingenious in its impact, this plastic cone fits over or against the head of most soft plastics and narrows the baits profile. The benefit is easier entry/exit when flipping into vegetation. The cone also escorts the bait nicely, should you decide to vary your presentations with the occasional swimming pass over top of those weeds.

An included threader pulls your line through the small opening at the top of the cone and once you've tied to your hook, snug the Weed Guard over the bait's head for a streamlined profile. The Weed Guard also protects your bait from tearing, thereby extending its usable life.

TWA makes a Weed Guard with a tungsten weigh pre-inserted. Otherwise, the larger models have plenty of room to insert your own weight.

Logic Lures Texas Twister – a Texas rig kit that includes a hook with a swivel for maximum bait motion.

EcoPro Diamond Peg – Rig your favorite plastic on any size or style hook, insert this metal peg (diamond shaped) through the plastic and into the hook eye. Outward facing legs on the peg's back side pin the bait in place.