It’s one of bass fishing’s most broadly used techniques and for good reason. Pitching baits offers a highly efficient way to cover a shoreline with quick, accurate presentations, allowing you to slow down and pick apart promising cover.
Targets will vary, so keep a selection of rigs handy.
Light Cover: Sparse hydrilla and milfoil, patchy lily pads, or thin eel grass; bass may relate to this thin cover during early mornings or during their spawn. Here, you don’t need much weight — just enough to allow for accurate casts and the ability to navigate through the cover.
A classic Texas rig with a 3/16- to 1/4-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Worm Weight and a craw or creature bait on a 3/0-4/0 Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Hook fits this role. Other options: A 4- to 6-inch lizard or a soft stick worm on a 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad Offset Shank Worm Hook. Pitch your bait into gaps and breaks in the cover and stay alert for distinct holes amid grass beds, where hard sand or shell bottom offers ideal holding spots.
Heavy Vegetation: When matted grass or thick rafts of floating vegetation (hyacinth, pennywort, etc.) blanket the surface, the shadowy caverns below offer prime bass habitat, particularly during the heat of summer. Standard pitching rigs often hang on the dense cover, so you’ll want to switch to the “punching” technique, which uses heavier terminal tackle to drive a bait through the cover.
You can use similar baits used when flipping light cover, but you’ll want to beef up the hook to a Mustad Grip-Pin Max Punching Hook and add a 1- to 2-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Weight secured with a Mustad Weight Stop.
Nothing complicated here; you’re simply forcing a bait through the cover for what typically turns out to be a reaction bite. Even when fish are not in an active feeding mode, the sudden appearance of a forage profile usually triggers a reaction bite.
Multi-Purpose: Boaters have the advantage of carrying an arsenal of rods, each rigged for specific tasks; even modern-day fishing kayakers can transport a good selection. For the bank fisherman or the casual kayak angler, a minimalist approach necessitates making the most of two or three rods.
In such scenarios, the ability to immediately switch from pitching to a swimming or twitching presentation broadens your versatility. One of the best options for this is a 5-inch soft plastic stick worm rigged on a 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad Offset Shank Worm Hook .
With a tapered tail, the stick worm easily slips into sparse grass, holes in lily pad fields, and gaps in cattails or reeds. Pitch the bait into a promising area, give it a couple of twitches, then repeat. Optionally, add a nail weight to the tail for better control and a unique presentation. When the worm hits the water, that weight pulls it down and away for a darting look.
For thorough coverage, shifting to a cast-and-retrieve pattern allows you to work the vegetation’s perimeter edges or target fish that you see chasing baitfish. Add a screw-in spinner blade to the stick worm’s tail end for extra appeal during the swimming presentations.
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