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Rod Review

Kistler Delta Pitch n Flip delivers accuracy and power at a fantastic price!

Date: 9/23/02
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Kistler
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.08 + BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction: Kistler Custom Rods continues to deliver high quality rods with plenty of performance at very reasonable prices. Using innovative design Kistler produces a serious Flip and Pitch rod that is designed to be the "finest flippin' rod" ever created.

Kistler Delta Flip n Pitch Special Specifications

Material IM7 Graphite
Length 7'6" (Telescopic)
Line Weight 12-20lb
Lure Weight 1/4-1oz
Sections 2 Section Telescopic
Guides 7 plus the tip
Rating Heavy
Color Red
Action Fast
MSRP $139.99

More about Kistler Rods: A little over 6 months ago when we got our first look at a Kistler Rod we discovered a rod that excelled in quality, and yet was offered at reasonable prices. Since that time Trey Kistler has continued to introduce rods that are application specific, allowing anglers to choose the perfect rod for any application or fishing technique. Rods like the Kistler Senko and Drop Shot special have become favorites of serious bass fisherman. The Delta Flip n Pitch Special (KDFPS76) was introduced to address the specific demands of anglers who dabble in the fine art of flipping and pitching.


The Delta Flip N Pitch is part of Kistler's high end Mark Tyler line of rods

Impressions: When I first set eyes on the KDFPS76 I could immediately see similarities in the rod design that were similar to premium rods like the GLoomis FSR904X. But the while the Kistler KDFPS76 bore a similar design in rod layout it immediately stood out with Kistler unique features that included a hook hanger and cork reduction design.


The KDFPS76 utilizes the heavy duty Fuji TPS reel seat

Ideally we would have liked to pair this rod up with a Shimano Castaic, but our Castaic was performing other duties at the time. The next best thing to do was to strap on the Castaic's slightly more refined big brother the Chronarch 100A, which exhibits the same cast characteristics due to the absence of Shimano Super Free. For all the tests we paired the
KDFPS76 with the Shimano Chronarch and spooled up 15lb Trilene Big Game Ultra Clear.

Complete Rig for Delta Flip n Pitch Special tests

Rod Kistler KDFPS76
Reel Chronarch100A
Line 15lb Trilene Big Game Ultra Clear


The Design: Kistler once again chose to incorporate a high quality 38mm graphite blank produced by Lamiglas for the backbone of the KDFPS76. In addition Kistler spared no expense when it came to using high quality Fuji components including the muscular TPS-16 seat and low profile black Fuji Hardloy guides. The design of the KDFPS76 is implemented in two sections. The rod is extends to a full  length of 7'6" before use. Because of this extending capability the lower rod can be extremely stiff, and the rod is much easier to store in tight spaces like boat lockers.


Flipping and Pitching places unique demands on your tackle. Proper tackle selection requires a balance of accuracy and power. Many flip and pitch rods I have fished with on the market tend to be underpowered, and simply don't offer enough backbone to muscle fish out of nasty conditions. The KDFPS76 is designed to be light in physical weight and balanced to reduce fatigue, but still offer good tip action and plenty of backbone when necessary.


Kistler increases vibration direct to the base of the rod by removing the cork normally found above the reel seat

Real World Test: The tests for the KDFPS76 consisted of hours of casting into some of the nastiest weed forsaken and snag infested structure imaginable. To get a first hand idea of just how good the KDFPS76 rod was it was critical that we test for power and accuracy on at last three different lakes, all offering unique obstacles in which to pull through. (These lakes includes Bay Area lakes: Anderson, Calero, and Coyote)


The KDFPS76 features a comfortable contoured cork grip that is wider at the reel seat and thinner at the butt

Casting: Pitching and Flipping definitely requires different attributes from your rod then traditional casting. Your rod must be stiff and powerful yet very accurate. Distance takes a backseat to perfect placement. Here's how the Kistler KDFPS76 did in both categories:

1. Pitching: Pitching is the ability to hover a lure over the water into the targeted zone. I prefer pitching over flipping in 75% of the time because it allows me to hit a target from a farther distance, so spooking fish is less likely. Poor pitch and Flip rods don't have a fast enough action so the lure is tossed uncontrolled and falls far from the targeted area. The KDFPS76 absolutely amazed me in the pitching tests. The KDFPS76 exhibits real confidence when cast in a smooth flip of the wrist, the lure seems to extend right off the rod in a straight line, making it easy to control height and distance.

2. Flipping: Basically what flipping entails is being able to place the lure right smack on top of the targeted fish. This usually requires anglers to be close enough to the target to get the lure in position. I usually reserve this technique for when pitching is not a option...usually when the cover is atrocious or the targeted area is less then a foot in diameter. With the KDFPS76 a soft easy action will allow anglers to use the rod like a solid stick, enabling you to flip plastics or jigs softly up and down through the target area. Doing this in a smooth motion the rod has no flex at all, so accuracy is unaffected.

In both categories the KDFPS76 was excellent. The rod felt just as strong and accurate over 20 feet distances as it did in tight quarters of less then 5 feet.

The KDGPS76 can be collapsed to fit into normal sized rod lockers

Sensitivity: Many anglers think that a flip n pitch rod is nothing more then a stiff stick with relatively poor sensitivity. In actuality a good flip and pitch rod needs to be stiff and accurate and be able to translate even the most subtle bites, especially when using the thick heavy duty lines necessary for this application. It is hard to distinguish bites when your jig is bumping against all sorts of structure, and a rod that translates vibration well is a must. With the KDFPS76 detecting bites is definitely above average. Bites usually feel like slight ticks and subtle tugs, rather then hard hits from charging bass. Kistler's KDFPS76 increases sensitivity by removing the usual cork found on top of the Fuji seat. Thus vibration is transferred directly to the seat rather then being deadened by additional cork. Many anglers wonder why flip n pitch rods usually don't incorporate blank through reel seats...the answer is sheer power. These are heavy duty fighting sticks that require a strong seat (similar to that found on saltwater gear) in order to win the tug of war with big fish in heavy cover.

Setting the hook with the KDFPS76 should be done with finesse. Because the rod is stiff and has a lot of power, over zealous pulling on the rod will often unnecessarily pull the lure away from the fish or snag the lure. Pulling softly will be enough to set the hook...now the hard part is pulling the fish out of that nasty structure.

Though actually two pieces when expanded the rod has seamless action and actually benefits from the stiff base section

Accuracy and fishing vertical: Positioning lures is an easy task once you have the motions down with this rod. Flipping and pitching takes a long time to master, and anglers often become frustrated with snags. Avoiding snags is near impossible since the best target areas for the application are usually the most dangerous. You can keep snags to a minimum by keeping your lure from being pulled through structure. This requires accurate casting into your target area and withdrawing the lure up and out of the zone rather then in a straight line horizontally back to you. The KDFPS76 is designed perfectly for this practice. The length of the rod at 7'6" allows you to reach out and up easier then shorter rods. In addition the stiff backbone of the rod allows you to drop and pull jigs vertically with ease.


I catch the majority of fish with flip and pitch techniques as the lure is falling rather then retrieving, and rather then retrieve the lure slowly I found that I could use the KDFPS76 to heft the jig vertically out of structure thanks to the length and stiffness of the rod.

Carefully wrapped and coated each guide is designed to bear thick line and heavy loads

Power: Kistler rods are among the strongest on the market and have earned a reputation for sporting a great deal of power when it comes time to fight big fish. The KDFPS76 can bear huge loads on its stiff and powerful blank. The rod is rated for 12-20lb line, but I would be comfortable running even 25lb test on this rod. The lower section of the rod is reinforced graphite which exhibits no flex at all, creating a base with a true rigid foundation, adding to the fighting power of this rod. All guides are threaded with great detail, and the entire blank is coated with thick gloss to prevent the possibility of nicking the graphite blank. While all of this may seem excessive for the average bass, you will praise the KDFPS76's fighting power when you need to tow a lunker out of vegetation before he turns on you and heads for deeper cover.


The innovative Kistler hook hanger is probably the easiest and quickest hook hanger we have ever tested

Innovations: Kistler adds a couple innovations and features to the KDFPS76 that set it apart from competitor offerings, these include:


1) Modified Hook hanger: The KDFPS76 sports a unique hook hanger that is so simple yet works very well. The hook hanger is actually on top of the rod by the reel seat and bent over so that when stowing lures on the rod you don't ever have to thread a hook through the hanger. Instead the hanger is bent so tension of the line is enough to hold the hook securely. In addition the hanger holds the lure firmly flat against the rod preventing it from moving and scratching the graphite.


2) Contoured Cork Handle: Flipping and pitching requires great control and can be tiring on your hands when you are tossing huge jigs. To increase comfort the KDFPS76 features a contoured cork handle that is slimmer at the base and wider below the reel seat. This design is ergonomically sound, and feels natural in your palm.


3) Modified reel seat: As mentioned earlier in this review, the KDFPS76 features a modified reel seat removing the unnecessary cork grip on top the reel seat so that subtle vibrations transfer better directly through the blank.


Great accuracy allows anglers to pitch into tight target areas with confidence

KDFPS76 Techniques: Kistler has designed a well thought out package with the KDFPS76, and thanks to a good balance of control, power, and sensitivity there are a number of "Pitch and Flip" techniques that the KDFPS76 perform very well.


1) Fearless Pitching: When fishing rods with less backbone many anglers are more hesitant to toss jigs into heavy cover. Thus limiting their fishing to the outskirts and just hitting the fringe of the best zones. Many would agree that where there are snags there are fish, and with the strength of the KDFPS76 it is possible to pull free of all but the most stubborn of snags, making it possible to target zones where the fish are most likely to be holding.


2) Sensitive Jigging: Most anglers will agree that the majority of fish caught while pitching and flipping is on the drop...but that doesn't mean that you can't catch fish on the bottom. The KDFPS76 is sensitive enough so that you can feel exactly when your jig comes in contact with the bottom. At this point rather then pulling out and preparing for the next pitch you can allow the jig to rest for a second or two...then begin jigging it slightly up and down to create commotion on the lake floor, allowing it to rest every few seconds. This jigging action sometimes draws the attention of fish and entices what I consider to be bonus strikes. With the KDFPS76 you will be sure to feel ticks and a sometimes subsequent tugs, as the fish strike.


Kistler KDFPS76 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Kistler's IM7 graphite and overall construction are very good. The Lamiglas blank is very stiff and offers good sensitivity 9
Performance The performance of this rod was excellent. Even with big fish in heavy cover...this rod has the muscle to pull them out with authority 9
Price This is in all respects a premium, application specific, rod at a impressive price 9.5
Features The use of all high quality Fuji components and innovative features increase the usability and value of Kistler's offering 10
Design (Ergonomics) Great contoured cork that makes extended fishing easy 9
Application Built application specific...this rod is a great example of everything done right for a solid flip and pitch solution 8.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great attention to detail, great use of high quality Fuji components L As with all application specific rods...this rod excels in one category (not good for anglers that require flexibility in one rod)
J Extending design, can fit into normal rod lockers J Not for tossing small plastics, large lures work far better
J More strength then superman  
J Sensitivity surprisingly good  
J Fantastic price  

Conclusion: The Kistler KDFPS76 is a fully featured rod that is a great example of what to look for in a rod designed for the sole purpose of pitching and flipping. While the art of pitching and flipping takes a long time to master, it is a lot easier to become proficient at this proven technique armed with the KDFPS76. The KDFPS76 has a great balance of features, sensitivity, accuracy, and power at a price that is more then 20-30% lower then competitor rods of comparable quality and design. If you are in the market for a pitch and flip rod the KDFPS76 is a great choice. You would be hard pressed to find a similar rod with the same quality and features for such a reasonable price, and it is for this reason that the Kistler KDFPS76 was an easy choice for our Best Value Award!

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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