June 11, 2021
By Dr. Todd A. Kuhn
Bass fishing has become very specialized in recent years. Fishermen must now master a plethora of techniques while possessing the knowledge of when to apply each to consistently catch fish.
The geographical region, individual lakes, rivers and/or impoundments, seasonality and weather all contribute to our individual specialization.
Manufacturers have responded in kind to the demand for technique-specific equipment. Today, on any given bass boat deck you’ll find rods and reels designed specifically for cranking, pitching, skipping, flipping, frogging and more.
We acquired some of the best new gear out there and put it through its paces as part of our annual Tackle Test gear reviews. Here’s our take on seven of the best new flipping rods available.
More Tackle Test Reviews
JENKO DCVR GAMBLER SERIES G710CFEH
Jenko’s DCVR Gambler Series is built using proprietary resins and fiber tailored to maximize performance of each individual rods action. The DCVR Gambler Series 7-foot, 10-inch flipping rod (10 ALPS guides plus tip) has an extra-heavy action, even for flipping. The rod is rated for bait weights of 1 to 3 ounces. After time on the water with the Jenko we’ve decided that flippers will be hard-pressed to exceed this rod’s rating no matter how hard they try.
The distinct blue and red styling of the Jenko line sets it apart from all other rods in retail. Whether it appeals to you aesthetically or not, the Jenko flipper is just the ticket for those who go extra-heavy while punching mats. The 16-inch handle is nicely sized for getting under for extra leverage while presenting big baits and while dragging fish from thick slop or woody stick-ups.
The "all-weather grip" (as called by Jenko) offers great traction and feels good even after hours of hoisting giant creature baits. The Jenko is rated for 20- to 80-pound test but we think it will easily handle larger line for those who flip and can never seem to go heavy enough. ($159; jenkofishing.com)
- Bottom Line: The Jenko is well-suited for extra-heavy duty flipping applications where a very stout flipping stick is needed. The retail price is very reasonable for a rod with this many features.
DOBYNS KADEN SERIES KD765FLIP
Gary Dobyns is a very well-known tournament angler out West, having won more tournaments than he can count. Dobyns brings this extensive on-the-water experience and knowledge to his rod line. Gary’s Kaden 7-foot, 6-inch flipping and pitching combination rod offers anglers a generalist in the flip-stick category. The Kaden is rated for 12- to 25-pound test lines and ¼- to 2-ounces baits.
The radially wrapped blank has plenty of heft in the butt section, with a surprisingly lively tip (fast) for a flipper. It’s this action that lends itself to pitching lighter baits around hard structure like docks, emergent wood, vertical vegetation, cattails or the tules. A 15-inch all cork handle is another surprise on a flipper/pitching rod. The gentle taper fits the hand(s) comfortably and transmits bait data back to the user with amazing fidelity.
The rod's gentle action will be great for those anglers who like to flip or pitch lighter baits into vegetation where shear muscle isn't required to manage buttoned fish. ($179; dobynsrods.com)
- Bottom Line: The Dobyn's flip/pitch rod will delight anglers looking for a manageable action capable of fishing a wide variety of baits under varying water conditions.
FAVORITE BIG SEXY BSXFC-771EXH
The 7-foot, 7-inch flip stick with the memorable name offers anglers a big dose of eye candy to take in. From the multi-directionally wrapped blank, high-gloss finish and sparkling reel seat, the Big Sexy was easily the most attractive rod in our field of flippers.
The rod is rated for ½- to 2-ounce bait weights and 14- to 30-pound lines. The fast action and lower line weight rating makes this rod a great option for anglers who flip smaller baits is less obstruction-congested waters. In fact, we felt the Big Sexy would be a great clear water rod given its rating and action. However, it will also excel for those who want to flip or pitch bigger baits in the thicker stuff, too.
We felt the line rating could be easily bumped up to 50-pound without any fuss. The abbreviated cork grip works well, and the extra-large butt section makes it a comfortable rod for those who tuck flipping sticks up under their arm. The Favorite comes with a rod sleeve—nice for keeping it looking nice and unharmed in rod lockers or on rough boat rides on angry water. ($199; favoriteusa.com)
- Bottom Line: The Favorite Big Sexy, with its bling, will be a welcomed addition to any anglers flipping quiver. It is a generalist rod predisposed to handling a variety of bait and line weights without a whimper.
LEW'S SUPER DUTY SPEED STICK SD76MH
The Lew's Super Duty was the lightest flipping stick we tested, due in part to its proprietary, multilayered, multidirectional, HM60 graphite blank. The 7-foot, 6-inch rod is adorned with plenty of high-end features which include a Winn Dri-Tac full length handle, graphite skeletal reel seat, stainless-steel guides, with a zirconia-inserted top guide.
While it may sound petty, the line keeper on the Lew's is a great, low-profile number that refuses to get fouled by the line (as many other brands do) while flipping. Attention to build detail is evident throughout the Lew's, and evidenced by the little things, like the ample guide wrap epoxy coatings. Ten guides plus the tip manage line equitably along the blank no matter the bait or line size. Rated for a surprisingly low 12-pound-test to 50-pound-test and 1/2- to 1 1/2-ounce bait weights, the Lew's has a medium action with a fast tip which will manage these without hiccups. ($179; lews.com)
- Bottom Line: The Lew's Super Duty will appeal to flippers searching for a lightweight, manageable stick for all day flipping sessions. The lightweight rod has the backbone needed to manage big fish and sizey baits comfortably when asked to do so.
FITZGERALD FISHING BUDDY GROSS BG710H
Trevor Fitzgerald is an accomplished tournament fisherman, winning several national-level competitions on different circuits. Fitzgerald uses his tournament knowledge when designing rods. His 7-foot, 10-inch Buddy Gross flip stick is a serious tool for ardent flippers. The 10 guides plus tip and unfinished blank are all business.
We liked the extra 4 inches of reach over traditionally length 7-foot, 6-inch flipping sticks. It is this extra length, and the rod's heavy action rating where it shines. The rod is rated for ½- to 2-ounce baits, at 12- to 25-pound test, the sweet spot for most flippers.
A large cork split grip (cork handle, with EVA foam butt) is quite comfortable or ergonomically pleasing. We were impressed with the blank sensitivity, a feature rarely discussed when talking flipping sticks. However, this blank is sensitive, so much so the smallest ticks are distinguishable in the sloppiest of aquatic terrains. ($189; fitzgeraldrods.com)
- Bottom Line: The Fitzgerald Buddy Gross flipping stick is a competent flipper capable of managing a wide variety of baits with confidence and above average sensitivity.
WITCH DOCTOR HYDRILLA GORILLA
Witch Doctor Tackle is a boutique rod builder based in Florida. Their "Hydrilla Gorilla" wins our best name competition hands-down. Their 7-foot, 11-inch Gorilla is exactly what you would imagine a rod named this would be—a stout flipping machine.
The Gorilla’s blank is a proprietary layup of 43-ton carbon in the lower section, then transitioning to 30-ton at the tip. This biased material construction lends itself to strength in the butt while offering flexibility and longevity at the tip. The rod has name-brand components, like its ALPS reel seat and guides.
The most notable feature of the Gorilla is its ruggedness and the fact it is rated for a whopping 1- to 6-ounce baits, and 50- to 70-pound lines. Yep, that's 6 ounces. We dare anyone out there to find a bait that cannot be dipped on the Gorilla.
The double-locking reel seat nut keeps reels lashed no matter how rough the use becomes. An oversized EVA butt cap is welcomed when flipping unimaginably big baits in the nastiest of water. All Witch Doctor rods go through a grueling quality control process, rendering a beautiful rod. ($299; witchdoctortackle.com)
- Bottom Line: The Witch Doctor Hydrilla Gorilla is a serious flipping stick for anglers looking for an ultra-rugged build, one capable of providing years of trouble-free service under the most inhospitable of conditions.
DAIWA TATUL ELITE PUNCHING/FLIPPING TAEL801HXB-AGS
The Daiwa Tatula Elite is a stunningly attractive fishing rod, clad in all silver with alien-inspired components. The heavy power, extra fast action 8-foot rod sports eight AGS guides plus tip, all in strikingly contrasting black.
Rated for 30- to 50-pound braid (Samurai) and ½- to 2-ounce baits, the Daiwa has one of the most comfortable reel seats we've used. This is especially important when flipping big baits all day long. The EVA split grip melts seamlessly into the reel seat without any pronounced transition.
At 8-feet, the Daiwa is a long flipping stick admittedly. However, those few extra inches in length are appreciated when reaching out on long pitches. It is also beneficial when leveraging fish from less-than-ideal conditions. The rods taper is noteworthy too, narrowing quickly from midsection to tip, allowing anglers to present big baits with a touch of finesse.
The level of design thought that went into this rod is evident throughout and easily seen in the matching silver guide thread and generous epoxy coatings on each. ($289; daiwaus.com)
- Bottom Line: The Daiwa Tatula is a serious fishing rod with thoughtful design features. At $289 this rod will appeal to the most serious of anglers shopping for the best-of-the-best.