FAQ: How should I match the rod to the jig?

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Will be fishing with a sea-anchor. If the group wants to fish light jigging we go to 50-80. and a bit heavier we go 90-120m. I originally planned on using Slow Jerker 603-3 for the 50-80M then 603-6 for the 90-120M.
Maybe we focus on 90-120m? Or should I buy a dozen jigs for each range?

It seems that I haven’t been able to explain effectively how to match the rod and the jig.

Rod to Jig Match →

Having 2 rods of different power is very efficient in the field. But the depth is not the only factor of how we choose the rod. It is just one of many factors. And the jig weight is just one of the factors too. For example, when we fish in 300m deep, we may use 603-3 (Slow Jerker 3oz rod) with 400g jig. And we may use 603-6 (Slow Jerker 6oz rod) at 70m deep with 150g.

Action Tone

One of the keys to the success is to know what action tone you have at the moment. And to choose the type of jig that works best in that action tone.

Action tone is my coined word.  It’s how strong the rod is (in term of springing back the bend) in relation with water resistance.

You select the rod power, the line, what type of jig, the jig weight, and what kind of actions you make. Action tone is the key factor of these judgements and choices you make.
waterresistance

Action tone is determined by the balance of your rod power and the water resistance.

Water resistance is determined by the jig weight, your line, the currents, the depth, and how vertical your boat is with your jig. These factors are what your rod has to work against.

The depth is just one factor. You just need to drop to the bottom to see what action tone you are getting on your rod at that time. And it’s important to always pay attention to the water resistance that is constantly changing while fishing. This awareness makes a huge difference.

Roughly speaking,
If you hold up the rod at 3 o’clock and the rod springs up slowly but completely, you are in medium action tone.
If the rod springs back fast, you are in strong action tone.
When the rod doesn’t springs back completely at 3 o’clock, but it springs up at 1 o’clock, or not completely at 1 o’clock either, you are in soft action tone.

This is a chart of different action tones by rod to jig match. It’s just to give you a reference point. The actual action tone in the field can be totally different by the water resistance.

Rod Strong Action Tone Medium Action Tone Soft Action Tone
Slow Jerker 603-2 60g – 80g 80g – 120g 120g – 180g
Slow Jerker 603-3 80g – 130g 130g – 150g 150g – 300g
Slow Jerker 603-4 100g – 150g 150g – 210g 210g – 400g
Slow Jerker 603-6 120g – 210g 210g – 270g 270g – 500g
High Pitch Jerker 600 150g – 300g 300g – 380g 380g – 600g
Typical Jig Selection
in Each Action Tones
GAWKY
CRANKY CRANKY
ABYSS ABYSS
RECTOR RECTOR RECTOR
SPUNKY
MESSIAH
ARC ARC ARC

There is no clear definitions of each action tone. There’s no clear boundaries. I’m just trying to explain how we sense and judge what jig of what weight to use. Each action tones are a succession of different degrees.
(We do longfall with the soft extreme, and we do high pitch with the strong extreme)

Jig weight is just one of the factors to determine the water resistance.
The water resistance is pretty different in 40m and 80m, isn’t that right? And it changes every hour and it’s different in places too.
So, we need to build up our senses to know how heavy is the water is and what action tone your rod is at.

For example, let’s say you have a 150g jig on 603-3.

603-3 to 150g is supposed to be medium action tone. It’s medium at 40m (A). But it can be soft action tone at 80m because the water pulls down your line more (B).
Let’s say 2 hours pass. Now the current has eased down. It’s close to strong action tone at 40m (C). It’s medium at 80m (D).
And each jigs have preferred certain action tone which they work best with. Gawky works best at soft action tone, so 150g Gawky will work in (B) situation but not in others with 603-3. Spunky works best at strong action tone, so 150g Spunky will work in (C) situation but not in others with 603-3.

So it’s very important for us to build up that sense to judge the water resistance and to choose the weight and the type of the jig accordingly. Plus, it’s always nice to have 2 different power rods.

Factors to Determine Water Resistance

  • jig weight
  • how vertical you are aligned with the jig
  • depth
  • currents (different in depth)
  • your line (how much it catches current)

How to choose a rod to jig match?

Here is the chart of my mind process when choosing a rod to jig match. There are a lot of factors to consider. And you want to pay attention to the feedback from the water. The same soft action setup can be medium action tone an hour later when the current changes.

Question #1 How deep is it?
Your Fact 100m
Question #2 What is the water resistance like?
Your Fact Vertical from a spankered boat. Medium cuurent with not complexity
Question #3 What does the sounder show?
Your Fact Some scattered concentration up to 10m off the bottom.
(No typical indications. Anything can happen.)
Question #4 Do you want the size or the contact?
Your Choice I want the contact. Expecting up to 10kg, no more than 15kg.
Question #5 What action tone do you choose?
Your Choice SOFT
slow and falling
MEDIUM
sliding / falling combinations
STRONG
energetic and sliding
Question #6 What rod makes the action tone with that weight?
Your Choice SOFT
603-3 w/ 220g+
MEDIUM
603-4 w/ 180g+
STRONG
603-6 w/ 150g+
Question #7 What jig and what weight with what rod?
Your Choice #1 220g Gawky
with 603-3
180g Rector
with 603-4
150g Spunky
with 603-6
Your Choice #2 300g Gawky
with 603-4
230g Cranky
with 603-4
180g Rector
with 603-6
Your Choice #3 240g Rector
with 603-3
200g Arc
with 603-4
150g Messiah
with 603-6
Question #8 You still don’t get a contact. What are the other anglers on the boat doing?
Your Choice Do the same as the one who is catching. Do different from anyone else. Do somethings you haven’t done.

Check out the characteristics of Seafloor Control jigs here too.
Seafloor Control Jig Tactical Info →

I hope you find this article informative and helpful to you!

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  1. DanWulff
    DanWulff02-16-2016

    Firstly, thanks for a very informative and detailed website! As a slow pitch jigging wannabee this site has been extremely helpful.

    I have a question regarding choice of rod. I live in Denmark and spend considerable time with conventional light jigging for north Atlantic cod, both from boat and kayak. Jig weights (conventional jigs or robbers) for lighter tackle are typical in the range of 50-150g. When current becomes an issue we use conventional jigs with weights from 250g and up – not light tackle. Water depths are typical 15-20 meters and fish up to 6-8 kg are not uncommon with the occasional +10 kg specimen.

    In addition to the Danish saltwater fishing, I fish in tropical water once or twice every year, mostly Eastern Africa with focus on GT, doggies and smaller reef species. On these trips there is commonly a 50:50 mix of speedjigging and popping/stickbaits and water depth is typical 30-40 meters with some trips to deeper water after AJ. It would be very interesting to try slow pitch jigging on these trips as an alternative to heavy speedjigging.

    I have considered to opt for PE2-3 and purchase a Poseidon Slow Jerker 603-2 or 603-3. Which one will be most appropriate for a mix of Danish and African waters? My own guess is that 603-2 will be most appropriate for Denmark, whereas 603-3 will be fine for tropical waters. Though, for now I will only purchase one rod, so I would be very grateful for some advice – despite the obvious conflict when comparing the two salt water scenarios.

    Best wishes,
    Dan

    • Totos
      Totos02-17-2016

      The rod model selection depends mainly on the following factors.
      A. What is your main depth range?
      B. How is your boat operating while fishing? Free-drifting? Drifting with sea-anchor? Or controlled drift by the captain?
      C. What are your main targets? Pelagic fish? Demersal fish? Or both?

      I don’t have your info on B. But you are probably free-drifting.

      You are fishing less than 40m of water anyway. With slow pitch jigs which fall slower, you should use 20% to 50% heavier weight than conventional jigs. You would be probably using 100g to 180g mostly. I would choose 603-3.

      Use the lightest possible line you can. Maybe PE1.5.

  2. Talhat
    Talhat02-27-2016

    I m leaving in saudi arabis at the red sea
    I like to use slow jigg i have 634 sf rod what kind of jig if i wont to go less than 50 m and what jigg for 75 ,100,150 m
    Did i need to anchor the boat or i can do the jigging with drafting

  3. Chris Sach
    Chris Sach04-01-2016

    Dear mister Totos i am planning to get a ps sl 603-3 and i will use it with a shimano torium reel with line retrieve 117 cm 6.2 ratio.
    I think i understand mostly what you are saying and your explanatiions are very good but since most of my budget will be going on the rod i would apreciate if you could suggest what sfc jigs i mostly need for fishing from 50 to 100 m of depth. Thank you in advance.

    • Totos
      Totos04-02-2016

      Hi Chris.
      You can send me an email from Contact Form and we can discuss the details.

      For general information…
      If you are free-drifting or drifting with a sea-anchor, given boat-friendly ocean conditions, you would probably need 130g to 180g jigs in the shallow half of your field, 150g to 230g or heavier in the deep half to stay somewhat vertical. And 603-3 will be medium action tone in the shallow, soft action tone in the deep.
      Therefore, I recommend following jigs.
      Arc 140g
      Spunky 150g
      Cranky 170g
      Arc 170g
      Rector 180g
      Abyss 200g
      Gawky 220g
      Abyss 230g

  4. Benjamin Fabia
    Benjamin Fabia05-01-2016

    Dear Totos,

    110-160m depth
    Free drifting boat

    Reel: Ocea Jigger 2001NR-HG
    Rod: Poseidon Slow Jerker 603-6
    Line: PE2
    Leader: 40lb flouro

    For strong action – 210gr Spunky, Rector
    For medium action – 240gr Rector
    For soft action – 300gr Gawky

    Are my jigs selection OK?

    Cheers,

    Benjie

    • Totos
      Totos05-10-2016

      Hi Benjie.
      That sounds about right. But free-drifting in such a depth is so hard to be vertical unless you have super friendly conditions.
      Rector is such a versatile jig if you are vertical, but not for non-vertical situation. You would like Arc 260g, 290g, Abyss 260g, Arrow 260g better.

  5. Benjamin Fabia
    Benjamin Fabia05-16-2016

    Thanks Totos! Will check those out and give it a try.

    Cheers,

    Benjie

  6. Chris Sach
    Chris Sach07-15-2016

    Totos i can’t find anywhere the tactical info for arrow. Can you enlighten us please?
    Thank you.

  7. Iyartz
    Iyartz08-23-2016

    Hi Totos,

    Newbie here. I have gone through your website and found it very informative. Nice work.

    I’m sorry I have more than a question to ask but also for more clarifications and suggestions based on what my set up is at the moment,

    I currently have the below set up,

    Rod: Poineer – Blue Lagoon, Jigging rod. (light weight)
    15-30lb / 6.8-13.6kg / PE: 1.5-3 CW: 80-170gr / 3-6oz

    Reel: Penn, SSV7500
    MONO YD/LB: 440/15 300/20 210/30……BRAID YD/LB: 430/40 360/50 320/65
    Bearing count: 6, Max drag: 35lb | 15.8kg, Gear Ratio: 4.7:1, Weight: 28.70

    For above, I have reeled 60lb braid and using a shock leader of 80lb, using jigs between 100g to 150g. All I do is jig according to youtube videos, but I want your suggestions to what I can do more accurately. I live in Maldives where all islands are surrounded by salt and with different depths reachable easily. I want to know which type of jigging work best on this set up and how and which depth should I be trying.

    I have another set up ordered on the way – Shimano Saragosa 6500 and rod Shimano Caranx Yasei LP, 7 feet – type, light pleasure. This is so interesting that I keep buying stuff but I know a whole multiple set up won’t help before acquiring knowledge on how to use them properly.

    Look forward to your criticism and advise. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Iyartz

    • Totos
      Totos09-18-2016

      Hi Lyarts.
      I know the concept of slow pitch jigging is really mind-blowing for conventional jiggers. Once you use the tackle in the field, everything starts making sense. But it’s hard to swallow before you get the tackles.

      I’ll be honest with you. Forget the spinning tackle. Get a overhead reel with high gear. Use lighter line, maybe PE2.0 or 30lb. Use heavier jig weight, maybe 1.5 or 2 times heavier than what you normally use.

  8. Iyaz Hassan
    Iyaz Hassan09-18-2016

    Hi, thanks so much. I have been reading and watching some videos as well and as you said, I will have to go for an overhead reel. Can I ask you if Shimano Trevala S series Rod will be a good option? I have yet to decide which one to go out of the 5 models, or perhaps, please suggest me one. For reel I will use a Saragosa SW6000 for now and will get a good overhead reel once I can give my wallet some time before I spend again.
    Many thanks,
    Iyartz

    • Totos
      Totos10-23-2016

      Hi Lyaz.
      Well, unfortunately this Shimano rod is not a slow pitch rod. It’s the hard-working fast jigging rod. I would not say you can’t do slow pitch with this rod if you are vertical. If you are not vertical, this rod will actually work better with high-speed jigging.
      But I would not recommend this rod if you are looking for a rod to start slow pitch jigging.

  9. Shukor Ali
    Shukor Ali11-08-2016

    Hi Toto san,

    You blog is so full of information that i cant atop reading it. The more i read the more deeper i want to know and gain knowledge.

    I have been in fast action jigging all this while and now venturing into Slow Pitch jigging as its the inn thing now

    After reading your blog i have finally bought Shimano Ocea Jigger 1501HG.

    The places where i went for jigging usually ranges from 30m to 80m.

    With the above info i need your advise what the best rod to go with the overhead reel which i have already bought.

    I intend to get either 1 of the 3 brands you Claasified under Class A.

    1) Poseidon by Evergreen
    2) Propogate by Beat
    3) Ocea Jigger by Shimano.

    What i am not sure is what model of each of the brand you classified under class A.

    Need your helpful advise.

    Hope to hear from you soon

    Regards
    Shukor Ali

  10. Shukor Ali
    Shukor Ali11-08-2016

    Hi Toto san,

    What i mean is which model to buy if i choose to buy any one of those 3 brands to go with my OJ1501HG.

    Thanks
    Shukor Ali

    • Totos
      Totos11-16-2016

      Hi Shukor.
      Thank you so much for supporting Japanese Angler’s Secrets.

      The rod model selection greatly depends on how vertical you are with the jig.
      How is your boat operating while fishing? Free-drifting? Drifting with sea-anchor? Or controlled drift by the captain?

      If you are free-drifting, you should use heavier jigs and the rod model needs to be heavier. But I would say power 4 rod would be good for your depth range. Like Slow Jerker 603-4.

      And sure, OJ1500HG would be good. You may wish you had the power and the speed of OJ2000HG sometimes in tough conditions with heavy jigs, but now that you have a 1500HG, you should try your best with it.

  11. Mido
    Mido04-24-2017

    What if I use 60g Jig with 603-4 rod , I think I cannot feel the jig right or it is normally I can use it ?

    • Totos
      Totos05-03-2017

      It also depends on the depth and the line. You can go to the fishing port and try. If you drop the jig in the water while most of your line in the air, you can feel the jig. The more water influence is on the line, the less you feel the jig.
      Anyway, slow pitch jigging does need certain jig weight to get the action going.

  12. Cenk
    Cenk05-10-2017

    Greetings from Turkey. Great informations about slow jigging. Appreciated for your help by preparing this website.
    I have decided to start slow jigging in Aegean saltwater.
    I think its better sea anchor drifting regarding your comments. So i will buy one.
    The depht will be between 40-90 meters.
    I need a rod and reel reccommendation. And i will be happy if you give a jig weight advise.
    Thanks and best regards.
    Cenk D.

    • Totos
      Totos05-21-2017

      hi Cenk.
      I’ll be answering you on another comment you made.

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