Fishing the nasty stuff requires gear that has to address a number of issues specific to heavy cover.

iROD Genesis Series Cast Rod 7'11" Bub's Punch Rod

Rods: Rods need to have a strong backbone for getting those big bass out of tough situations. But they can’t be a straight broomstick either. A great rod, whether for punching, frogging or powershotting  needs to have a forgiving tip that transitions smoothly into that strong backbone, too stiff a tip will just rip lures out of the mouths of the bass on hooksets. These rods will also need to have guides capable of withstanding up to 80lb braid, and reel seats that hold a reel rock solid when the drag is buttoned down tight. Add rod balance to the equation as punching all day with up to 2.5oz of weight, or chunking a 1/2 oz swim jig through heavy cover on an ill balanced rod will cause the angler to tire out prematurely.

Quantum Smoke 100HPT 7.0:1 ratio, 15lb drag

Reels: Reels need to be bulletproof. Silky smooth monster drags are a must. Strong frames that don’t flex while under great duress and gearboxes that will keep cranking against all odds are all necessities. I am of the opinion that a high speed gear ratio of 7.0:1 or higher is required in combination with a monster drag to get those fish up out of trouble in a hurry, not giving them a chance to bury themselves in cover or get hung up.

Sunline FX2 Frogging & Flipping 80lb Braid

Braid is the only way to fish the slop, weeds, and all types of vegetation except for wood. When it comes to wood, the abrasion resistance of fluorocarbon lines is required. In thick vegetation, there is so much clutter and organic matter in the water column that the visibility of braid is a non issue to me. I use up to 80lb braid for punching, 40-55lb for frogging, swimjigs, and powershotting.

Gambler KO Flipping Hook 4/0

Hooks: Hooks need to be strong, ultra sharp and with a nice wide gap for the bulky plastics that are used for frogging and punching. Eyelets should be welded so that braid doesn’t slide though gaps, and bait keepers are also a necessity to keep plastics from bunching up in the hook point/shank gap when in constant contact with cover such as weeds or pads. The wire the hooks are made of should be extra strong, for hook sets with a locked down drag and the added weight of large amounts of vegetation should not cause the hook to bend open. Flipping hooks should have an eyelet that is perpendicular to the hook bend for the proper action of the Snell knot on the hook set.

Reins Tungsten Punch Weight 2.5 oz

Weights: Tungsten weights are the only way to go when in heavy cover. The higher density of tungsten in comparison to lead means that they have an advantage of a much smaller size and surface area to punch through vegetation  and will achieve it much more easily than the same weight in lead. An additional benefit is that tungsten is harder, so detecting bottom structure and content in the midst of vegetation will be transmitted much clearer to the angler than your typical lead weight.

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