There’s no argument that fishing is the most exciting of all outdoor sports. It’s also a sport you can do 365 days a year, no matter what the change in seasons may bring.
Fly fishing enthusiasts often describe the excitement of watching a big brown, rainbow, or even a quick striking brook trout breaking the surface to take a fly. It is an electrically charged moment, but it can’t compare with the thrill of watching the water boil as an enraged largemouth bass hits your top water lure.
To get that thrilling encounter with a big bass you have to perfect many fishing techniques. Among the top for bass fishing is to flip and pitch.
Flip and pitch may sound like a baseball play designed to pick off a base runner as he tries to steal second, it’s not, it is an established technique of enticing bass from floating vegetation like lily pads, or from around stationary plants in shallow water like cattails and reed beds.
The idea is to toss your lure over the exposed plants, then work it with a fast retrieve to simulate a frog, salamander, or mouse swimming on the surface.
The rod is important in flip and pitch fishing, the reel is essential. Keep reading to determine how we determined the best reels for flipping and pitching.
The Best Flipping and Pitching Reel
The Shimano Curado DC flipping reel earns the top spot among flipping and pitching reels. Shimano is an established, renowned leader in baitcast reels, and they hit it out of the park with the Curado DC.
The baitcasting reel is designed for ambidextrous use, with every option imaginable standard in its design.
The only drawback to the Curado DC is price, it is one of the higher-priced baitcasting reels on the market.
Below is our picks for the 6 best reels for flipping and pitching, for in-depth reviews keep scrolling.
The reel offers seven stainless steel ball bearings and one stainless steel roller bearing. A compact bent handle and adjustable star drag make one-handed use easy.
What to Look For in Pitch and Flip Reel
This style of fishing is vastly different from any other technique. Surf fishing requires long-distance casts with heavy line, jigging doesn’t require as long a casting distance, but sensitivity is the most important aspect. Trolling is just sitting in your chair waiting for the pole to bend, but flipping and pitching is an arm wearying, repetitive process akin to flying as a passenger on a commercial airliner. Long periods of boredom with a few seconds of intense, heart-pounding action when the plane takes off and lands. When bass hit after a few dozen failed attempts, it is similar.
Getting your heart pounding with bass swelling up from the depths after your plastic crawdad requires a reel with a high-speed retrieval, ideally 7:1.1 or higher. It needs to be powerful since big bass can wreck smaller, lower-quality reels. It has to be durable since you might be casting a baitcasting reel hundreds or even thousands of times on a single outing.
Drag isn’t as important with smaller game fish, but a big eight-pound bass will run with your line, snapping it instantly if you don’t have a quality drag at the ready.
A big, cushioned handle, with a crank radius that fits your hand, and a light reel weight since you’re going to be holding this reel for a long time round out the key features to look for in a pitch and flip reel.
With these parameters to consider, spin cast, and spinning reels are quickly eliminated as choices. The spin cast can’t handle the workload, and flipping that bail all day on a spinning reel will dampen the most enthusiastic anglers’ attitude.
That means you’re looking for a baitcasting reel. Baitcast reels come in a variety of styles, looking for the one that allows you to pitch and flip with ease while retaining integrity out on the lake is what you’re after.
How the Best Baitcasting Reel Was Determined
We’ve outlined the reasons for choosing a baitcasting reel for flipping and spinning, but there is more to choosing a baitcasting reel than simple comfort in holding it.
The first consideration is cost. Is it worth the price? Can you find a lower-priced baitcasting reel that will deliver the same quality? When you’re hunting the best baitcasting reel, you also need to consider line capacity, spool size, reel weight, drag strength, drag settings, reel seat, and handle dimensions.
That’s a lot of parameters to consider when trying to find the best flipping reel to fit your unique needs. Add all of those considerations together, and you’ll find the best baitcasting reel for you.
The good news is there are a lot of great reels to choose from in a wide range of prices, with standard, and extra features offered. There are more than enough choices for the finickiest angler.
The Best Flipping Reels Reviewed
1. Shimano Curado DC
This flipping reel is available in six configurations, but you’ll only want to look at the CUDC 150HG, 151 HG, 150HG, and 151XG offerings since they have high gear ratios.
The Curado 150HG and 151HG sport a quick retrieval rate of 31 inches per crank thanks to a 7.4:1 gear ratio. The 150XG and 151XG are even faster with gear ratios of 8.5:1 delivering retrieval rates of 36 inches per crank.
Aside from the difference in gear ratios, created by slightly larger spools on the 150XG and 151XG the reels are identical.
All these baitcasting reels come with adjustable drag settings up to a maximum of 11 pounds (ca. 5 kg). They are all built with six ball bearings and one roller bearing and weigh nearly the same. The 150HG and 151HG tip the scales at 7.8 ounces, while their 150 and 151 XP weigh 7.9 ounces (0.3 kg).
You can wind these reels with either monofilament or braided line. They have identical spool capacities of 120-yards with 10-pound test, 110-yard with 12, and 90-yard with 14-pound test monofilament line.
As usual, you can pack on more braided line due to its smaller diameter. In braid, the capacities are 150-yards with 20 pound, 135-yards with 30 pound, and 105-yards with 40-pound braided line.
A blazing fast microprocessor-controlled braking system monitors spool speed a thousand times a second. This flipping and pitching reel fits almost every baitcasting rod on the market.
You can adjust the brakes to your liking with four easy adjustment settings inside the side plate.
Casting, hook setting and line retrieval are all at the top of the standard for flipping and pitching reels with this model.
2. Shimano SLX DC
It’s no surprise that Shimano holds the top two reviews in determining the best flipping reels. The SLX DC flipping reel is nearly identical to the Curado DC except it only comes in a right-handed configuration.
It does sell for about half the price of the Curado DC so that’s a strong selling point if you are a right-handed angler.
There are a few other differences that kept this flipping and pitching reel from the top ranking, some subtle, and some not-so-subtle.
Fewer ball bearings are one reason, there are only four ball bearings and one roller bearing in this reel.
The weight is slightly lower as a result of fewer bearings at 7.6 ounces. Gear ratios vary with the six models of the SLX DC from 6.3:1 to 8:2.1. The 7:2.1 available on the 150XG and 151 HG are marginally within the suggested parameters for line retrieval. Both these flipping and pitching reels roll in line at 30 inches per crank.
The 151XG and 150XG have faster retrieval rates at 35 inches per crank thanks to a gear ratio of 8.2:1.
The drag is slightly larger at a 12-pound maximum for the base model DC150 and the DC151. The others all have maximum drag settings of 11-pounds.
Line capacities are identical to the Curado DC with both braided and monofilament line. The maximum capacity of 20-pound braid is 150-yards and the maximum for 10-pound monofilament is 120-yards.
3. Lew’s Team Lew’s HyperMag Speed Spool Baitcast Reel
You’ll pay a little for this flipping reel than competing models, even more than the top-of-the-line reels offered by Shimano.
The reason is durability and corrosion resistance. The HyperMag is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, with a magnesium frame, stainless steel handle, anodized aluminum gears, and fiber carbon side plates.
Corrosion resistance isn’t a big issue with most flip and pitch anglers since they’re in freshwater after bass. If you live in a coastal area that offers tremendous freshwater bass fishing, with the option to take your equipment out on the ocean, this might be the best flipping reel for you.
Anglers from the Carolina Coast, around Florida into the Texas coast have a lot of options when it comes to fishing. One day you’re after largemouth bass in backwater ponds, and the next you can be tossing surface lures for shallow feeding saltwater fish.
The HyperMag is incredibly smooth with 11-ball bearings and a roller bearing packed inside a double-shielded case.
The zero-reverse, one-way clutch lets you quickly set the hook firmly and without any slippage.
A centrifugal braking system with the 27-position clutch creates smooth casting, for long distances, but more importantly for flip and pitch use, it is incredibly accurate.
The adjustable, one-handed, star-style click-drag allows you to change drag settings in the midst of a battle with trophy bass.
The rod seat is designed to fit all popular baitcasting rods.
This baitcasting reel is available in either right or left-handed configuration.
Light at just 5.4 ounces, it offers gear ratios of 8.3:1 or 7:5.1 on a pair of models. The line retrieval rate varies from 30 to 33 inches per crank.
Line capacity is standard on all four designs with holding capacities of 110-yards of 12-pound test braided line.
4. Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
Abu Garcia found a winning design with their Pro Max model baitcasting reel. They still offer the wildly popular, venerable flipping reel but have made a few changes to enhance their new Max Pro model.
The palindrome naming doesn’t change the basic features that make this such a popular reel for flipping and pitching lures after bass.
The biggest difference between this flipping reel and the ones listed above is price, this is a low-cost, high-performance baitcasting reel with a long history of success.
The flipping reel offers seven stainless steel ball bearings and one stainless steel roller bearing.
It comes standard with Abu Garcia’s Power Disk drag system, and MagTrax braking system.
A compact bent handle and adjustable star drag make one-handed use easy for flipping and pitching.
Made of graphic and anodized aluminum this lightweight beauty will last you a long time.
It’s just below the recommended gear ratio at 7:1.1 but still brings in your bait at 29 inches per crank.
It has a line capacity with 12-pound braid of 145-yards.
5. KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reel
Not everyone has an unlimited budget when it comes to bass fishing. If you’re a novice, getting a youngster started on the sport, or just need a good flipping reel at a low price, this is the one to choose.
KastKing is a leader in all things fishing-related and is constantly moving up the chain against competitors.
The Legend GT delivers a lot of features for the lowest price of any of the flipping and pitching reels reviewed so far.
Available in either left or right-handed models, this all-graphite frame constructed flipping reel is durable and corrosion-resistant.
The 7:2.1 gear ratio delivers a 30 inch per crank retrieval rate with an impressive maximum drag setting of 17.65 pounds.
The reel weighs just 7.2 ounces and features five stainless steel ball bearings and a single roller bearing.
The line capacities are ample. Filled with monofilament line the reel holds 130-yards of 10, 110-yards of 12, and 90-yards of 14-pound test line.
With braided line, the capacities are naturally higher. You can load 90-yards of a heavy 65-pound test line, 110-yards of 50, or 130-yards of 40-pound test braid. This reel is designed to catch heavier fish as noted in the heavier recommended line sizes.
All these high-end features, combined with a low cost and one of the most attractive color designs on the market with its contrasting glossy black and vibrant red scheme make an excellent choice in a low-cost flipping and pitching reel.
6. Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel
Any review of the best fishing reels, no matter the design, configuration, or venue just isn’t complete without a Pflueger reel in the list.
Pflueger was a pioneer in reel design and remains a vibrant competitor into the 21st century.
When it comes to bass fishing, there aren’t many competitors who can hang with Pflueger.
In the pitch and flip category, Pflueger offers a tremendous reel in their Low Profile President XT.
All the features you’ve grown to know and admire with Pflueger reels are packed into this one.
A nine-bearing system offers incredibly smooth casts and retrieves for flipping and pitching. The low XT profiles fit almost every rod on the market, creating a fish catching machine when placed in the right hands.
A slip-resistant, soft-touch knob, monogrammed with Pflueger’s trademark logo offers great control even in misty, rainy conditions.
Weighing in at just 6.8 ounces, it’s one of the lighter reels on the market. The 7:3.1 gear ratio is perfect for bass fishing with a flipping and pitching technique.
The retrieval rate of 31 inches per crank is also ideal. A maximum drag setting of 12 pounds will tire the hardest fighting largemouth you can hook.
Line capacities are excellent as well. In monofilament, the President can hold 145-yards of 12-pound test, 125-yards of 14, and 100-yards of 17-pound test line.
The braided capacities are a whopping 185-yards of 20-pound test, 140-yard of 30, and 100-yards of heavy-duty 50-pound test.
The only drawback to this venerable flipping reel is that it only comes in right-handed configurations.
Bass fishing is as exciting an outdoor sport as there is. Searching for largemouth bass often takes you into conditions you won’t find with other species. There is no fast-moving water with wide open casting lanes. Making long casts across open water doesn’t get many strikes from wary bass hovering just beneath the surface.
Bass are ambush, hide and attack style fish. They’ll float nearly invisibly just below the surface waiting for some unwary rodent, frog, snake, turtle, or even smaller waterfowl to cruise by on the surface before they viciously attack.
The lures you cast onto a pond or lake shoreline packed with vegetation mimic those creatures that bass love to feed on.
Get your lure, whether it’s a plastic worm, a crankbait, or buzz bait around the exposed willows, cattails, and floating lily pads. All without hopelessly snagging them and scaring off the fish, requires a reliable flipping and pitching reel that casts your bait exactly where you want to place it.
The best flipping reels we’ve listed above will all work well in these conditions.
Which one you select is based entirely on your needs, and your budget.
There are a couple of outstanding flipping reels listed above that only come in right-handed configurations. If you’re left-handed, that takes them out of contention.
There are a couple that might be too costly for you to buy if you’re just an occasional flipping and pitching angler. Weekend warriors who fish only once in a while don’t need to pay the extra price for durability and corrosion resistance that a professional bass angler might.
Cost, features, name recognition, and the reputation of the manufacturer are all final decision points in determining which flipping reel is best for you.
Like bass fishing itself, the pursuit of the best reels for flipping and pitching you can land is all part of the fun.
For more guidance on choosing your next reel, check out the pages below: