How to Pitch a Lure
Pitching can be a very effective method of getting
the bait where you want it without spooking the fish. Don't confuse
pitching with flipping. Pitching is totally different than flipping.
When you flip, you let all the line that you desire to cast out before
casting. Your reel doesn't spin. When you pitch, you cast underhand
and let the weight of the lure take your line out. Pitching is not much
different than a backhand side-arm cast. Think of hitting a tennis ball
with a racket. In a normal swing, your arm is extended and your dominate
arm (not wrist) does most of the work. That is parallel to a normal
When you hit a tennis ball backhand, you use the same dominate arm only you hit the ball on the other side and your wrist does most of the work. Pitching is very similar. The difference between pitching and a backhand side-arm cast is that in a backhand side-arm cast your rod goes out to the side, whereas when you pitch, your rod goes underhand towards the water and back up.
The object of pitching is to get your bait to make a straight line to the target and glide as close to the water as possible and land with the slightest splash.
There are two common mistakes that most beginners instinctively do when they try to learn to pitch. The first is they start with too much line out. My rule of thumb is to never go past the reel. If you have a 7 foot rod and you have 7 ft of line out, you have too much. You would do better with 4 or 5 ft of line out. The next common mistake is to try to do too much with the hand that holds the bait steady. Many people try to throw the bait or bend the rod with too much pressure. The only thing the other hand should do is hold the bait and release it. Do all the work with your dominate wrist.
Rod selection: I prefer at least a 6.6' rod that is fairly stiff, but not a broomstick.
Reel selection: There are many reels that work good for pitching and several that don't work so well. My rule of thumb is that if you can throw a light weight without backlashing, you probably have a good pitching reel.
I recommend using the lightest weight possible. You may want to start with a heavier weight and work your way down to a lighter weight.
Practice: I recommend practicing in your home if your ceiling is high enough and your wife will let you. I recommend setting up a coffee table or something similar with a plate or frisbee underneath and to the back of it. Then, measure off 20 feet and set up a chair. You want to stand on the chair and pitch the bait under the coffee table and land in the plate or frisbee.
The reason for going under the obstacle into a plate or frisbee is twofold: For one, it helps you prepare to pitch under docks, trees, etc. The other reason is that you want to get the bait as close to the water as possible so you don't make a splash. If you are throwing in a bucket, your bait is going up. So, when it comes down it will make a splash.
Keep in mind that when you are pitching for real, the boat may be moving, the wind may be blowing, and you may have obstacles in your way.