Jig and Rod Match

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Sato Sensei found that it’s when the jig is on its side, a horizontal position, that you get most contacts. That is why slow pitch jigging uses a center-balanced jig. Sato Sensei points out that you get 70% contacts when the jig is falling. All the slow pitch jigs have different shapes and balances for the falling performances like a weak, hesitating, scared, crippled or dying bait fish. They also have different properties for uplifts. Some slash through the water and then slide and swim on its own. Some hesitate and suspend, and then fall backwards sliding through. Some wobble and rock to fall slowly. All different kinds of patterns to perform in a horizontal position. Some work great in hangtime after uplifting. Some work great in falling.

You would want to match the weight of the jig to your rod to take advantage of all the different properties of the jigs. What you always want to take into your consideration of your tactics is “change of pace” of jig movements. Change of pace always triggers the hunters to react. If you want to focus on hangtime after pitch, you want to use a lighter jig, what I call “strong setting”, so that the jig moves fast in uplift then swims to the side. If you want to focus on falling, you want to use a heavier jig, what I call “soft setting”, so that the jig moves slowly or quietly in uplift and then, after a moment of suspension, falls in different attractive patterns.

You want to know how much weight is the standard for your rod. It is a point of your reference. Once you set that reference, you can go lighter or heavier, depending on your tactics and the current.

I call the lighter jig match “strong setting”, meaning the rod is strong to the weight of the jig. I call the heavier jig match “soft setting”, meaning the rod is soft to the weight of the jig.

In reality, the reference can change a little by the depth, the current, and the line. It’s the amount of water influence that pulls down your line, just like the weight of the jig does. Even when you have your standard jig match, if the current is strong it becomes soft setting. But it’s important to know your point of reference to each rod.

Action Tone by Rod Jig Match

Here is the list of my personal reference of Slow Jerker for example.

Rod Strong Setting Medium Setting Soft Setting
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
Seafloor Control Gawky

Slow Jerker is small in diameter, parabolic action, and made of highly resilient material. It is the best slow pitch rod ever made. The spring action is so wide, so slow, and so strong that you can use the wide range of jig weights and in wide range of current situations. If you want to substitute with other rods, look for the one with the closest properties in those 3 factors.

The standard weight can be determined when you keep your rod 90 degrees to the line in your usual depth, reel 1 round, and you see the rod slowly springs back to a straight line. Try this with a lot of different weights. If the jig is light, the rod bends less and kicks back fast. If the jig is heavy, the rod bends more and kicks back slow. If the jig is heavier, the rod doesn’t kick back to a straight line. Find the middle and that is your standard weight for your rod.

In the actual application with soft setting, you would want to use the rod’s full length’s power by pushing down the rod butt with your elbow when you lift and keeping the rod tip angled less than 90 degrees to the line.

My reference is based on my usual fishing conditions. I fish at average 100m of water, from 70m to 200m, and on spankered boat. Sea-anchor drifts you more away from the jig and you would have more line slack in the water. So you would want a little more power in the rod. In other words, if from a sea-anchored boat, the same rod to jig weight match is softer than above chart.

Jig Types and Preferences

All the slow pitch jigs have different properties. The following is the example of Seafloor Control jigs.

  • Gawky works well with soft setting
  • Cranky works well from soft to medium setting
  • Rector works well from soft, medium to strong setting
  • Spunky works well with strong setting (or high pitch setting)

My Set-up Variations

Normal situation
Rod Line Jig Tactics
SJ 603-6 PE1.5 Rector 210g My pilot setting to find out the current situation and the fish tendency.
Cranky 200g Focus on small quick hesitating uplifts with occasional middle falls.
Spunky 180g Focus on uplifting and long slides. Energetic movements.
SJ 603-3 PE1.2 Gawky 220g Focus on soft movements and falling around the bottom.
increased water resistance
Rod Line Jig Tactics
SJ 603-6 PE1.5 Rector 240g, 260g Focus on slow lifts and sliding falls
Cranky 230g, 260g Let perform various falling patterns.
Gawky 260g, 300g Focus on slow movements and falls.
HPJ 600 PE1.5 Rector 260g, 300g Focus on quick moves and occasional falls
Cranky 290g Focus on small lifts and long falls.
decreased water resistance
Rod Line Jig Tactics
SJ 603-6 PE1.5 Rector 150g, 180g Try different approaches from energetic uplifts and soft falls
Cranky 170g Let perform different falling patters.
Spunky 150g Focus on uplifts. Search wide range of depth.
SJ 603-3 PE1.2 Gawky 180g, 220g Focus on soft movements and falling.
Rector 130g, 150g Try different approaches from energetic uplifts and soft falls
Cranky 140g, 170g Let perform different falling patters.

Slow pitch principles don’t tell you what to do.

Slow pitch principles give you freedom as to be productive and creative. Trust your senses and hunches.

The above chart is just examples, just for those who don’t know where to start. Do not let it limit your own tactics.
A lot of time I change it purposefully. I sometimes use 260g Gawky with 603-3 in 50m deep. Sometimes I use 100g Rector with 603-6. The combinations are unlimited. And the currents and the fish tendency are never the same. You just need to drop and dance to see for yourself.

When you get a hit, that is your answer. Never means it works tomorrow. It only means you just found one of your successful tactics. The fun part of this game is that you are aware of what you are doing and changing it purposefully. Have fun!

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

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  1. Dimitri
    Dimitri11-23-2013

    Excellent account of tactics.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Totos
      Totos11-24-2013

      Thank you for your comment Dimitri.
      I hope this information helped you. It just a reference and something to give you an idea only until you actually get contacts and build up your own references.
      Good luck!

  2. Ahmed
    Ahmed12-29-2016

    You are the man, here the difference than others that Mr. Totos wants us to learn and Get experiance, others may be give you information but it can’t help in cases of different condition, Thanks again

    • Totos
      Totos01-06-2017

      Hi Ahmed.
      Thank you very much for your compliments.
      When I was starting to learn slow pitch jigging, I had a lot of troubles understanding these concepts. Because the information was all bits and pieces and no one seems to explain with integrity. Now I love to share my findings with you guys.

  3. Alnuaimi
    Alnuaimi04-20-2017

    why 603-5 is not in the list ?

    • Totos
      Totos05-03-2017

      Good point.
      Well. 603-5 was the latest addition. We have 603-1.5 too. I was going to write about it when I get it, but I’ve never come around to that. It’s just lazy of me.

      • Ahmed
        Ahmed05-03-2017

        Hi Totos
        For 603-1.5 from 30-70g , which you said before slow jigging in not suitable for that small jigs ?? could you clarify please

        • Totos
          Totos05-09-2017

          Hi Ahmed.
          You can think of slow pitch jigging actions like this.

          There’s a line. There’s a rod in one end, and a jig on the other end. The rod (with its spring power) and the jig (with its gravity) pull each other alternatingly. In slow pitch jigging, there are many moments of suspension when the line is not pulled from either ends. That is actually the purpose of slow pitch jigging and we try everything to maximize those suspended moments because we believe those moments are when the fish bites.

          Now, slow pitch jigging becomes the most effective when these pulling actions from both ends and suspensions become clear and definite. But there is an obstacle to it. It’s the water influence. The water pushes the line and tries to cancel the pulling actions and suspensions. So when the jig weight is light, there’s less pulling downward to keep the line straight.

          Look at Seafloor Control and Deepliner line-ups. The smallest size is 60g. When you are in the shallow waters, on the spankered boat to keep you vertical, and the condition is very slow, sure, 603-1.5 with 60g is possible and it’s very fun little light game. But when you go shallow like 40m, we do free-drifting because we don’t want to run the engine in that depth. That makes it non-vertical, unless you have super slow condition, and you will be forced to use heavier jig and rod. So, even in Japan where all the jigging boats have spanker sails, there are not many occasions we use 603-1.5 or 60g jigs. That is why I don’t recommend for free-drifters to buy 603-1.5 or such light jigs as your main tackle, no matter how shallow you fish.

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