The 6 Best Flipping and Pitching Reels: Expert Guide

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Flipping and pitching techniques are critical for catching fish, especially in dense or shallow cover or when fishing in smaller areas around weed beds or brush. To use these techniques with precision and accuracy, you need the right gear, including the very important high-quality flipping and pitching reel. 

With so many flipping reels available on the market, it can be overwhelming for beginners and experienced anglers alike to choose the best flipping reel for their needs.

In this article, we will take a look at the six best flipping and pitching reels that have been used or recommended by fellow anglers. We’ll also break down their features and benefits to help you make an informed decision when buying your next flipping reel.

What Is Flipping and Pitching?

High speed baitcasting reels 1
Anglers use flipping and pitching to accurately present their big bait or heavier lures in tight spots or heavy cover.

Flipping and pitching are two popular techniques used by many anglers to accurately present their big bait or heavier lures in tight spots or heavy cover. Both techniques involve short casts or flips of the bait or soft plastics towards the target area, with the key difference being in the casting style. 

Flipping is a technique where the angler holds the rod tip parallel to the water surface and swings the bait towards the target using only wrist movement to get the most out of the flipping reel or baitcasting reel. This is great for extremely tight spots or getting reaction bites from fish hiding around heavy cover such as lily pad clusters.

Pitching involves a more traditional casting motion with the rod tip held at a diagonal angle to the water surface. It’s better for casts up to 20 feet and is common when using a baitcasting reel, but it can also be very good for getting your lure into coves or deep under wide docks or piers when using a flipping reel.

What to Look For in Reels for Flipping and Pitching

When it comes to selecting a reel for flipping and pitching, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to choose a flipping reel with the right gear ratio that allows for quick but smooth line retrieval. While low is recommended, a high gear ratio can be used as well.

In addition to the right gear ratio, a smooth and reliable drag system on the flipping reel is also valuable for these techniques since it allows for better control when fighting larger or more energetic fish. 

A lightweight and compact flipping reel or baitcasting reel can also make a big difference since it reduces hand fatigue even if used for several hours and allows for more accurate casting at both short and long distances. Look for an expensive or budget reel that has an asymmetric design or the option for left and right-handed use for the best ergonomic comfort.

A good flipping and pitching reel with the right gear ratio and comfort should also have sturdy interior and exterior construction. It should be able to withstand heavy use and abuse, in addition to the normal dirt and moisture it may gather from general fishing.

All these features together can create the best flipping reel for your needs. And with enough versatility in the casting reels, you can use most flipping reels and the pitching and flipping techniques for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

The Best Reels for Flipping and Pitching: Quick picks

Best Overall
Shimano Curado DC

The Curado DC has an advanced digital control braking system that allows you to easily make adjustments to the magnetic braking system settings for optimal casting distance and accuracy.

It also has Shimano's X-Ship technology for enhanced gear durability and smoothness, as well as a Hagane body for added strength and rigidity. You’ll also find this flipping reel has a cross-carbon drag system and multiple retrieve ratios to choose from depending on your line capacity.

Best Value
Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP

Perfect for beginners and experienced anglers alike, the Speed Spool SLP baitcasting reel has a reasonable price point while still offering high-quality components and features like a strong drag system, durable aluminum frame build, and fast retrieve speed.

Additionally, it has a flipping switch and a compact design, making it easier and more comfortable to use for both flipping and pitching techniques for right or left-handed anglers.

Best Spinning Reel
Shimano Vanford

This spinning reel has a lightweight design, excellent drag system, and smooth operation, making it ideal for various fishing techniques. The CI4+ uses carbon in the reel's body and rotor, which reduces weight while maintaining strength.

It also has a high line capacity along with a smooth and powerful drag and dual braking system that can provide excellent control when handling big fish or when pitching and flipping into spots other reels simply can't handle.

Best Reels for Pitching and Flipping: Full Reviews

Shimano Curado DC
Shimano Curado DC
Shimano Curado DC
Our Score

The Shimano Curado DC is one of the baitcasting reels that is well-suited for flipping and pitching techniques by both beginners and experienced anglers. It features an advanced digital control braking system that provides accurate and consistent casting up close or at a decent distance. This baitcasting reel's low profile design makes it comfortable to use for extended periods, and you’ll love the lightweight yet durable feel of the Hagane body when compared to different reels.

  • Digital Control braking system
  • Gear ratio of up to 8.5:1
  • Durable Hagane construction
Abu Garcia REVO Rocket
Abu Garcia REVO Rocket
Abu Garcia REVO Rocket
Our Score

The Abu Garcia REVO Rocket is an excellent reel with a solid braking system that is designed to provide maximum power and speed for pitching and flipping. For flipping reels, it features a compact design and a low profile, which makes it comfortable to use for extended periods. Plus, the Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag and dual centrifugal and magnetic brake system make this the right reel for fast fishing techniques. 

  • Gear ratio of 10.1:1
  • Durable construction
  • Dual centrifugal and magnetic brake system
Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP
Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP
Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP
Our Score

The Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP is a high-performance baitcasting reel that is specifically designed to provide maximum power and speed for flipping and pitching at your favorite bass fishing spot. It features a durable aluminum frame construction and a low-profile design that makes it comfortable to use for extended periods. The multi-setting brake system on this baitcasting reel allows for manual control to give you the best handling on the fly.

  • Gear ratio of 7.5:1 to help you catch fish
  • Strong aluminum frame
  • Multi-setting centrifugal brake system
Daiwa Tatula Elite
Daiwa Tatula Elite
Daiwa Tatula Elite
Our Score

The Daiwa Tatula Elite is a powerful and lightweight reel that is versatile and great for beginners as well as professional anglers alike. It features a compact design and a low profile that makes it very comfortable to use the entire weekend or throughout long and busy fishing tournaments. You’ll find this reel is made to provide a seamless transition between different bait sizes and fishing techniques without reducing your accuracy or success rates in catching fish.

  • Retrieval rate of up to 8.1:1
  • Lightweight design for ergonomic comfort
  • T-Wing System for improved smooth casting distance and accuracy
Abu Garcia REVO SX
Abu Garcia REVO SX
Abu Garcia REVO SX
Our Score

The Abu Garcia REVO SX is a reliable pitching reel that is suitable for a wide range of fishing applications, including pitching and flipping for big bass fishing. It is made to be extremely durable thanks to its corrosion-resistant internal and external material. Plus, the low profile shape and asymmetric design make it comfortable to use for hours at a time.

  • Multiple gear ratios of up to 7.3:1
  • Carbon Matrix drag system
  • Corrosion resistant construction
Shimano Vanford
Shimano Vanford
Shimano Vanford
Our Score

The Shimano Vanford is lightweight and durable enough to be used on a daily basis while also being well-suited for use with flipping and pitching techniques. It features strong and lightweight construction and a low-profile design. The high line capacity and powerful drag system with a thumb bar make this light reel suitable for hauling in trophy-sized bass or other sport fish with ease.

  • Smooth gear ratio of up to 5.0:1
  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Smooth and powerful drag system.

Best Gear Ratio for Flipping & Pitching

Round Baitcasting Reel
For precise presentations in tight spaces, it’s best to use a reel with a low gear ratio, preferably 6:1 or lower.

A high gear ratio enables fast retrieval, while a low gear ratio offers more torque, making it easier to retrieve larger fish. When it comes to flipping and pitching, a versatile reel with low gear ratios is ideal because it allows for slow and precise presentations in tight spaces. 

A gear ratio of 6:1 or lower is normally recommended for pitching and flipping. However, if you plan on using your high gear ratio reel for multiple different techniques and fish species, you should go with the right gear ratio that feels best for you.

A higher gear ratio will work for flipping and pitching, even if they aren’t the recommended ideal gear ratios for the best bass fishing experience. In fact, a high gear ratio on baitcasting reels, casting reels, or designated flipping reels can be very useful for keeping tight lines on fish that do a lot of quick movements or running.

Best Line for Flipping and Pitching

The best line for flipping and pitching will depend on the fishing conditions as well as your own personal preference. Generally, I will use monofilament or fluorocarbon lines anywhere from 12 to 20-pound tests for pitching and flipping when targeting big fish. 

The key factors to consider when choosing a line are its sensitivity, strength, and stretch. Fluorocarbon lines have low stretch, which makes them a good option for detecting bites and setting the hook quickly, while monofilament lines have more stretch and may be better for fishing in thick cover and brush. 

Some bass anglers swear by using braided lines, which have no stretch and high sensitivity but may require a different line type for your leader to prevent spooking fish in clear water. It’s important to choose a heavy line that is suitable for the specific fishing situation you are in at the time, so be prepared to switch your line now and then to get the best results or if you need to pull big fish out of heavy cover areas.

Reels With Flipping Switches

Some of the best flipping reels with flipping switches, also known as flip levers, are designed to make flipping and pitching techniques easier and more efficient. These switches are typically located on the side plate of the reel and can be engaged with a simple flick of your thumb. 

When engaged, the side plate flipping switch disengages the reel’s anti-reverse mechanism, allowing you to make quick and precise casts with minimal effort. This feature is especially useful for fishing in tight spaces where accuracy and speed are crucial to getting a good hookset and hauling the fish out of cover. 

While a flipping switch is not necessary for the flipping and pitching fishing technique, it can make the process much smoother and more efficient. With enough line and the right spool tension, you can let your bait fall to the depth you prefer and still retrieve the line quickly enough to haul in your catch without the use of a switch.

Many of the best flipping and pitching reels on the market today include a flipping switch feature, and most anglers will recommend getting a reel with a switch even if you don’t make use of that switch on every fishing adventure.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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