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Getting Backlashes When Flipping And Pitching? Try This!

Getting Backlashes When Flipping And Pitching? Try This!

You are learning how to flip and pitch, but you constantly keep getting backlashes (or as everyone calls it “the bird’s nest”). As a new angler, it’s normal to go through problems like this, especially if you are new to baitcasters. Hopefully, I will be able to help you go through this in this article.


Poor thumb control is the most common cause for getting backlashes when flipping and pitching. Practice putting your thumb on the spool throughout the whole flip/pitch to detect the backlash on early stages and apply proper pressure. Another common cause is creating a whipping motion when releasing the bait during the pitch. Fix this by letting the bait drop from your hand instead of creating a whipping motion.


There are many things you can do to reduce backlashes on learning stages. And when practicing at your place, you can apply a few hacks you can apply to reduce the level of backlash you get.  That way, you can get back to practicing in matter of no time. Now, let’s get into this!


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Understanding how backlashes happen and why they happen when you Flip and Pitch

The main reason a bird’s nest happens is because the momentum of the spool is greater than the momentum of the line. In other words, the spool spins faster than the line, causing the backlash. When you apply pressure with your thumb, you are breaking the spool. No matter how many brakes your reel has, the best one will always be your thumb.



Check out the video above. It will give you a better understanding of how backlashes work. I will also talk about a couple of concepts that Debo talks about in that video. As you can see, it all comes down the basics: you need to train your thumb.


There is something Debo mentions in his video, which is what you should be practicing at home. Practice doing thumb-spool. On all the stages of every single cast you do, your thumb has to be on the spool. This is not only for flipping and pitching, but for all of your casts. Get used to it. It has to feel uncomfortable if your thumb is not there. Create muscle memory.


You will always be adding very slight pressure to the spool. What this will do is that when a backlash starts to happen, you will detect it at the spot and correct it by applying more pressure. Once again, this has happen by reaction, by muscle memory. If you have to think about it or rationalize it at the spot, it will be too late when you react.


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Increasing the spool tension knob

As the video mentioned, the tighter the spool tension knob is, the slower the spool will rotate. Thus, backlashes will decrease proportionally to how tight the knob is. But there is a catch to this: the tighter the knob is, the more casting distance you will sacrifice. How tight your knob is should be based on what technique and bait you will use.


According to what I’ve researched, a tight spool tension knob is not ideal for flipping and pitching. But if tightening it reduces backlashes, you might use it in your favor when practicing. My take on this is to only tighten it when you practice at home, not at the lake. Go loosening it as you go getting comfortable.



Practice Flip/Pitch at Home (Quick hack to reduce backlashes)

If you only practice when you go to the pond, your progress will be considerably slower. The best way to practice is to do it at home. Practice at home at least every other day and apply what you learned when you go to the water.


Here is how you can practice your flipping and pitching. Besides tightening the knob, I added another tweak so the backlashes are not so bad when they do happen. This way you can fix them quickly and go back to practicing in no time.


Here is how you can practice at home:


1. Find a wide space. Your backyard, driveway or garage are great options.

2. Choose a target. A cup is a good choice. If you are practicing pitching, try placing the cup between 20 ft and 30 ft from where you are. If you are practicing flipping, try something like 5 ft to 10 ft.


3. If you are struggling with casting distance due to the spool tension knob being a little bit tighter, feel free to bring the cup close, that’s fine. Go loosening the knob and moving the cup further away as you go getting the hang of it.


4. This is the hack to reduce the deepness of the backlashes when they do happen: do a cast of about 25 or 30 yards. On the remaining spool, put some tape on it. I tried electrical tape and it worked great. The tape does not affect how the line is spooled. Whenever you get a backlash, it will be very easy to fix. It won't get messy. This will save you lots of trouble.


5. Time to practice! Remember it’s all about thumb control. No matter what, you thumb must be on the spool touching the line, even when not applying pressure. The goal is to detect the backlash at an early stage and apply proper pressure.


6. Don't put the cup or target on one single spot. Try moving it around. And besides putting the cup on different spots, also try practicing with other objects. For example, try pitching your bait under a chair or bench. Be creative with that. Remember that when you are on the water, there will branches, docks and more. It’s not always a “clean” scenario.


7. Practice at home, apply it on the water (unless you get to go to the lake often). This will make you progress faster.

    Here are three amazing videos that you can take as a reference. This will give you a clear idea on how to practice at home.


    Another reason that could be causing a bird’s nest when pitching

    I left this one at the end of the article because I think this issue is less likely to happen. If this is your issue, it’s fine. Everyone’s learning curve is different.


    If you tense the line and create a “slingshot” or whipping motion, that will cause a backlash immediately. You have to drop the bait. You don’t have to create any type of momentum with the hand you hold the bait with.

    The reason I think it’s less likely that this is the cause of your backlashes is because if you are trying to pitch with such an aggressive motion, it’s defeating the purpose of the pitch itself, which is entering the water very silently. I would suggest to learn a little bit more about flipping and pitching before moving forward. Stealth is the best word that, in my opinion, describes the purpose of flipping/pitching.


    Final tip for backlashes: learn how to fix them quickly

    Backlashes are going to happen. Either for flipping and pitching, or some other technique. It’s best if you dedicate some to time into learning how to fix them. Here is another great video from Debo that will help you big time. Here it is:


    And there it is! I truly hope this helped you out. Was it helpful for you? Also, if you have additional tips or any comments, feel free to drop them below.


    PD. It's always a good idea to recycle your line. Here is a good resource you could use. Make sure you check it out! 


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