Best Reels for Pitching and Flipping: Bass Dragging, Hard Fighting, Ultra-Fast Options for 2024

Flipping and pitching a Texas-rigged soft plastic is as integral to bass fishing as fireworks are to the 4th of July. And whether you prefer a Punch rig, a Jika rig, a Tokyo rig, or stick with the tied and true, there’s simply no question that pitching and flipping a fat worm, Senko, or creature into thick cover delivers monster bass. If you’re in the market for a new reel that’s just perfect for flipping and pitching, you probably already know that the name of the game is speed. And while most any baitcaster can be pressed into service, some are simply better designed for flipping and pitching than others. Below, you’ll find our reviews of the best flipping and pitching reels, including a complete buying guide that explains the reasons for our choices:
Reviewed by: Pete Danylewycz
Last Updated:


Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

It’s hard to find anglers who aren’t fans of Daiwa’s reels, and the Tatula Elite P/F is a great example of why.

Daiwa is known for lightweight bodies, and in this case, that’s certainly true, but they chose to maximize torsion resistance for hard fights. Aluminum is the material of choice for the body as well as the side plates, yielding an overall weight of 6.9 ounces, but providing unmatched rigidity.

That’s a tradeoff I’m more than happy to make.

That rigid body holds aluminum gears right where they need to be, and Daiwa’s machining is legendary. Expect very moth performance with plenty of power being transferred to the spool and line.

Two gear ratios are available, and I’d choose the higher of the two: 8.1:1. The Tatula Elite P/F picks up 33.9 inches of braid per turn, delivering a very fast retrieve that’s only exceeded by the Curado DC.

The spool is capacious enough to hold acceptable amounts of heavy line, but this is definitely a purpose-built reel.

In this case, that also means that the engineers at Daiwa have tuned the Tatula Elite P/F’s magnetic braking system for these techniques, delivering flawless performance when pitching and flipping.

And as you’d expect from Daiwa, their carbon-fiber drag system is simply exceptional, though its maximum is rather low, just 12 pounds. That still enables you to run heavy line in the real world, but without the exceptional numbers of the Kastking and Lew’s.

Overall, it’s hard to find fault with Daiwa’s Tatula Elite P/F.

Body material: aluminum

Maximum drag: 12 lbs.

Line capacity: 40/80, 50/60 (braid)

Bearings: 7 + 1

Gear ratio: 8.1:1 (33.9 inches per turn)

Weight: 6.9 oz.

PROS:

  • Aluminum-alloy body delivers unmatched stiffness
  • Excellent gear machining
  • Excellent gear ratio and very fast retrieve
  • Excellent drag system
  • Magnetic braking system tuned for pitching and flipping

CONS:

  • I’d like to see a higher maximum drag capacity
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

KastKing’s MegaJaws Elite is a fantastic reel for flipping and pitching, uniting the features we like to see on a reel that’ll be dedicated to these techniques.

The MJE comes with a die-cast aluminum body and a carbon-fiber side plate. Not only does this allow it to shed weight like an IFBB Pro getting ready for the Mr. Olympia competition, but this material choice also enhances stiffness and torsion control.

That’s critical in a reel that’s going to see hard fights.

A stiff body is necessary to resist the forces monster bass will exert on the spool and gears, holding them in place to ensure gear teeth mesh perfectly, delivering the performance you need to land a trophy.

The MJE is also nicely palmable, and it feels great in the hand. At just 6.4 ounces, it’s roughly 15% lighter than its competitors, reducing fatigue on long days on the water.

KastKing runs a 7.2:1 gear ratio in the MJE that, in conjunction with its spool, delivers 29.8 inches of retrieve per turn. That’s not blazing speed by any means, but it’s a respectable number nonetheless, and I wouldn’t feel outgunned in the real world. With a good pitching rod, the MJE can manhandle fat females in heavy cover, getting them into your boat before they have a chance to tie you up around a stump or other dangerous objects.

The main gear of the MJE is a precision-cut aerospace aluminum design hardened to Rockwell B 80. It’s very smooth and more than ready to deliver fight-winning torque to a manganese brass pinion gear.

Looking at the drag, the MJE is ready to fight, sporting a triple carbon-fiber disk drag system that delivers smooth, consistent performance, especially at the high end. Offering 17.6 pounds of maximum tension, you can safely run braid as heavy as 50 pounds, anchoring big bass to your reel.

Capacity is excellent as well, and you’ll find the spool holds plenty of line for cutting and retying as the morning gives way to mid-day.

Overall, you can count us as impressed by the MegaJaws Elite, and while its competitors may deliver high speeds, the MJE is plenty fast enough for us.

Body material: die-cast aluminum with a carbon-fiber side plate

Maximum drag: 17.6 lbs.

Line capacity: 30/150, 40/120, 50/110 (braid)

Bearings: 11 + 1

Gear ratio: 7.2:1 (29.8 inches per turn)

Weight: 6.4 oz.

PROS:

  • Aluminum body and carbon-fiber side plate deliver excellent stiffness
  • Extremely light!
  • Excellent gear materials and machining
  • Excellent capacity
  • Great drag system

CONS:

  • Not as fast as the competition
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Shimano’s Curado DC 150 XG is simply a fantastic reel for flipping and pitching. It combines a wide range of high-tech features into a reel that’s hard to beat at any price.

Shimano equips the Curado DC line-up with an all-metal aluminum alloy Hagane body that’s remarkably stiff, resisting torsion and holding fast its MicroModule gears. But while rigidity is exceptional, the DC’s weight is a hefty 7.9 ounces.

That’s nothing to cry about to be sure, and the Shimano remains eminently palmable, though noticeably heavier in hand than the MJE.

The Curado DC runs Shimano’s legendary gearing, machined to create tiny teeth that improve smoothness and torque delivery by increasing the points of contact. Held firmly in place by that rigid body, this reel clearly means business on every crank.

For these techniques, the 150 XG is the clear winner, running an 8.5:1 gear ratio that gobbles nothing less than 36 inches of braid per turn. And when you’ve got a tournament winner on your line, and speed is everything, you’ll swear by this reel.

Shimano’s Cross Carbon Drag system is one of the best in the business, and it delivers buttery smooth, consistent performance across a wide range of resistances. That said, its maximum setting is just 11 pounds, theoretically limiting you to 30-pound braid, though you could push that test strength a bit higher in the real world.

In any case, the competition offers greater drag maximums, and thus heavier line options, so if that's a deal breaker, look elsewhere.

The Curado DC 150 XG comes with a spool that’s big enough to be practical, but not particularly impressive in its capacity. You’ll find more than enough line for short-range fishing, no question about it, but if you step up to heavier braid, you'll find the spool isn’t as large as you’d hope for casting at distance with other techniques.

That said, this Shimano is still a great all-arounder that can be pressed into service for other techniques that demand fast retrieves.

The DC system deserves some attention, even though it’s not critical for flipping and pitching.

A computer module assesses and regulates the braking system on the Curado DC, delivering awesome casting performance and minimal backlashing or birdnesting. That’s not going to be a big deal up close when flipping and pitching, but it can help new angler snake the transition from spinning to baitcasting tackle less painful.

In summary, the Shimano DC 150 XG emphasizes rigidity, smoothness, and speed, but it does so at the cost of capacity, drag maximum, and weight.

Whether that’s a trade-off you want is something only you can answer.

Body material: aluminum/magnesium alloy

Maximum drag: 11 lbs.

Line capacity: 20/150, 30/135, 40/105 (braid)

Bearings: 6 + 1

Gear ratio: 8.5:1 (36 inches per turn)

Weight: 7.9 oz.

PROS:

  • Aluminum-alloy body delivers excellent stiffness
  • Awesome gear machining
  • Excellent gear ratio and lightning-fast retrieve
  • Very smooth drag system
  • Almost unrivaled casting

CONS:

  • Heavier than the competition
  • Light drag maximum
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Lew’s Team Pro SP (PSP1XH) is a dedicated skipping and pitching reel that’s amazing for these applications - but all but useless for anything else. That’s not a knock against it, though, as some of the details are designed to minimize issues with these techniques at the cost of versatility.

Lew’s supplies the Team Pro SP line up with an aluminum body and graphite (carbon fiber) side plates, reducing weight to an amazing 6 ounces! The overall size, weight, and shape of these reels makes the Team Pro SP really comfortable for long days on the water, and it all but disappears on your rod.

As with the other reels on our shortlist, this Lew’s holds your gears in an unyielding grip, keeping those teeth aligned in hard fight.

For pitching and flipping - as well as skipping - I’d recommend the PSP1XH, which runs precision-machined aluminum gears at a ratio of 8.3:1. In concert with the spool, this model eats 33 inches of line per turn, which while a tad slower than the Curado DC, is still fast by any metric.

One problem that skipping creates is overrun and birdnesting, and there’s nothing that can spoil a morning fishing faster than constant headaches like that. To reduce this, Lew’s equips the Team Pro SP with a very shallow spool, holding just 40 yards of 50-pound braid.

With very little line on the spool, backlashing and birdnesting is physically limited, nipping these problems in the bud. But that also means that the Team Pro SP can’t do double duty: it’s a dedicated reel that’s perfectly fit or purpose, a master of one, not a jack of all trades.

That doesn’t bother me at all, and I’m more than happy to set up a specific rod and reel combo for these techniques.

Lew’s uses a carbon fiber drag system in the Team Pro SP that’s slick and reliable, offering fully 20 pounds of maximum. That enables heavy braid, and you can count on this reel to drag monsters out from their lairs.

If I were looking for a dedicated pitching, flipping, and skipping reel, I’d definitely give the Lew’s Team Pro SP (PSP1XH) a second look.

Body material: aluminum body with graphite side plates

Maximum drag: 20 lbs.

Line capacity: 40/50 (braid)

Bearings: 8 + 1

Gear ratio: 8.3:1 (33 inches per turn)

Weight: 6 oz.

PROS:

  • Aluminum-alloy body delivers excellent stiffness
  • Extremely light!
  • Excellent gear machining
  • Excellent gear ratio and very fast retrieve
  • Excellent drag system
  • Shallow spool reduces backlashing and birdnesting to a minimum

CONS:

  • The shallow spool makes this a dedicated flipping, pitching, and skipping reel

Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Dedicated Pitching and Flipping Reel

Speed

Some anglers believe that speed is always a good thing, but it’s not.

Crankbait reels, for instance, are at their best with slower retrieves. 

But when you’re pitching or flipping fat creature baits into thick cover, you can’t afford to allow a bass even an instant to circle a stump, wrap your line around a submerged tree branch, or run through nasty stuff that can cut your line.

A good, dedicated pitching and flipping reel will need a high gear ratio and a fast retrieval speed. Gear ratio alone won’t tell you what you need, as a small spool spun by big gears won’t grab as much line as a larger spool turned by the same teeth.

That’s why we report the gear ratio as well as the inches per turn each of our shortlisted reels can pick up.

The slowest reel to make our cut is the KastKing MJE. It runs a 7.2:1 gear ratio and eats 29.8 inches per turn. That’s plenty fast for pitching and flipping, but can’t touch the blazing speed the Shimano Curado DC offers with a gear ratio of 8.5:1 and fully 36 inches per turn!

“Fast” reels count as anything running a gear ratio of more than 7.1:1, and I think that’s a solid baseline for pitching and flipping.

Drag

An excellent drag system that can deliver smooth, consistent performance is critical for pitching and flipping, just as it is for any other technique.

But heavy line is a must in these techniques, as you need every advantage you can get to drag big females out of thick cover, turn them immediately, and prevent line breakage.

I look for heavy maximum drag settings to support 40-, 50-, or even 60-pound braid.

The KastKing MJE and Lew’s Team Pro SP pack 17.6 and 20 pounds of maximum, respectively, backing my heavy braid with plenty of resistance.

It’s not that I’d turn my nose up at the lower maximums of the Shimano Curado DC or Daiwa Tatula Elite P/F, but rather that given an option, I’d prefer more rather than less.

Stiffness

Heavy line, high rag settings, and big fish fighting for all their worth are going to transmit incredible force to your spool and gears. That energy is going to try to twist your reel’s body, rip those gears free or at the very least, torque the body enough that the teeth don’t mesh properly.

Aluminum bodies are essential for pitching and flipping reels, as only metal can provide the torsion resistance necessary for this application. 

Frankly, I even like to see aluminum side plates, as in the Daiwa Tatula Elite P/F, because I want maximum strength in my reels.

Weight

Every ounce matters when you’re fishing hour after hour and money’s on the line.

And while none of these reels are heavyweights by any means, the Lew’s is the lightest of the bunch. On the other end, you’ll find the Daiwa with its aluminum body and side plates. 

Whether you want to minimize every ounce or maximize torsion resistance is up to you, but all other things being equal, lighter reels reduce fatigue.

Final Thoughts

For my money, two reels really stand out on our shortlist today, covering both budget and high-end options.

For anglers looking for affordable performance, KastKing’s MegaJaws Elite is just about perfect. Roughly half the price of the Shimano or Daiwa, it offers a stiff body, loads of drag, and respectable speed. And while it may be the slowest of the reels on our shortlist, it has what it takes to wrangle bass from thick, nasty cover, allowing you to run very heavy braid on its big spool.

Better yet, it can also serve as an all-arounder for techniques that demand fast retrieves.

If you’re looking for a truly dedicated pitching and flipping reel, my pick would be the Daiwa Tatula Elite P/F. An ultra-rigid body is paired with smooth, lightning-fast gearing. And though the drag could be heavier, it’s undeniably smooth and consistent. In my mind, it beats the Shimano Curado DC or Lew’s due to its rigidity, as it just won’t surrender in hard fights. And when you factor in the tuned magnetic braking system, bird nests just disappear.

I hope that this article has helped you make the best choice for your needs and budget, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you might have.

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.
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