Light line for the vertical game
From PE1.2 to PE2.0
It is recommended to use light PE line from #1.2 to #2.0 in slow pitch jigging. When you start gearing up for slow pitch, it’s a big investment and sometimes you are not ready for all the equipment. I personally think that line makes bigger difference in the field than the rod in terms of catching fish.
Slow Jerker is definitely the best slow pitch rod ever built. No slow pitch jigging experts will argue with that. But it’s a fact that importing it from Japan, as I help you, costs a lot of shipping fee. If you can’t afford that, I encourage you to get any slow pitch rod that you can find locally and that you can afford. PE2.0 with a lower grade rod, or any rod, is better than PE4.0 with a Slow Jerker.
Water influence on the line is as much substantial, sometimes more substantial, to your rod as the jig weight. Water influence can change by the currents, the depth, your line, and how your boat operates while fishing. The rod to jig weight match can be discussed but it’s always subject to change by the water influence for a very big deal.
Before slow pitch jigging, this line alignment was not discussed much. Hi-speed jigging reels fast and constantly in order to, in our mind, move the jig fast. But the reality may have been that it worked because it took out the line slack and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the jig was moving fast.
When you are trying to do slow pitch from a free-drifting boat without sea-anchor, you are under a lot of water influence. You need refine your senses on this. How much and how fast you need to reel to take out the line slack. And how you make rod actions for the jig to swim and fall.
This may be easy to imagine in the shallow water. The picture may represent fishing at maybe 50 to 60m. And it is very possible to slow pitch in 50m deep from a free-drifting boat.
But imagine it in the deeper water.
Like 100m, still a very popular depth for jigging game.
Can you imagine how easy it would be to move the jig B in the vertical alignment?
This is very possible. When you can’t touch the bottom, this is what is happening. And there’s no way to move the jig. You can reel like crazy, and the jig is slowly, quietly, unlively, elevating up like a hung metal.
In these pictures, you’ve lost the jig. You have let the water take it away from you. Unlike bait fishing, there’s no chance for jigging like this. You need to stay with your jig.
An oceanographic water mass is an identifiable body of water with a common formation history which has physical properties distinct from surrounding water. Properties include temperature, salinity, chemical – isotopic ratios, and other physical quantities. – WikipediaDifferent water masses do not mix well and push again each other. Just like the weather dynamics, the warm water mass goes over and the cold water mass ducks underneath.
So looking at it from the side, the water masses create multiple layered currents like this.
You are probably seeing the junction on the surface between B and C, but what’s underneath is like this. Water mass A is apparently warmer. Water mass B is colder. But you have the colder and nutrient-rich deep ocean current underneath too.
So when you are at Point A, you have a single layer. At Point B, you have 3 layers of currents. At Point C, 2 layers.
By the way, the layer boundary is a great place to fish.
How to find it on the fish finder?
Sometimes you see a line of little bubbles underwater. The sounder picks up bubbles. Primarily the sounder picks up air bladders of the fish. It happens when the conflict is strong between 2 different water layers.
Sometimes you see a school of fish and the shape has an unnaturally straight line on the top or on the bottom, like it’s cut out with a knife.
The 2 layer boundary is like a wall for small fish. Big fish chase and push the school to the wall and the school shapes like it’s been crashed to a wall.
This is where your jig will certainly get contacts. Some big fish
also hide and ambush behind the curtain. To them it’s not a wall, and it’s just a curtain. Because of the 2 different temperature water masses, you can’t see or hear the other side. Sometimes a few bait fish are pushed beyond the curtain and they are easy targets for the ambushers. Also, some dash from behind the curtain blindly with their month open, into the school of fish in the other side. Because the bait fish do not see or hear behind the curtain, ambushers can attack without any warning.
You can also feel the layer from the line. That’s what staying vertical and using sensitive tackles are for. You feel the jig heavy first, and suddenly it feels light.
When I think there may be a layer, say 15m off the bottom, I do slow pitch up to about 12m off the bottom, fast lift for about 5m to break through the curtain, then give a couple of slow pitch there (for about 3m). If I don’t get a contact, I immediately drop 10m straight down, do a couple of slow pitch (there’s a good chance here too), 5m fast lift through the curtain, another couple of slow pitch.
This is another reason why you should use 10m-marked line.
PE Light Line
If you have been jigging with PE4.0 or heavier, just switching it to PE2.0 would make a world of difference.
The lighter line catches less water influence. It keeps you in more vertical alignment. It connects you with your jig in a straight line. It enables you move your jig with full control. It delivers you more information about the jig movements. Therefore, you will get more contacts, more constantly and more effectively.
So before you worry about the jig types, the jig weights or the colors, or even before buying an expensive rod, you should consider getting yourself a good line.
Shimano EX8 is best.
Berkley (Japan) Super Fireline is cheaper and somehow better.
These lines don’t stretch. Your control will be more direct. Your awareness will be more keen.
EX8 is super strong too. PE2.0 for 40lb. 600m for about JPY19,000.-
Super Fireline (PE2.0 for 30lb) is new and now colored, has the new coating that helps to avoid water influence and to stand against friction. But it wears down quickly. You need to take a good care of it with water repelling spray, and need to change the whole load every season. 1200m for about JPY14,000.
Worried about breaking your line to a big fish?
Yes, it’s a gamble. This is your risk. This is your game.
Heavier line does help you bring in a big fish.
Lighter line does bring you more contacts.
The fun part of slow pitch jigging, I think, is the sensitivity. You have good control on the jig. You can feel that. You can sense what’s going on with the jig. This sensitivity enables you to change the settings and the applications purposefully when it’s not working.
It’s like, with heavier line, you are talking to the water, with lighter line, you are talking to the jig.
But there is always the other concern at the other end. Some of us use PE2.5 or PE3.0 just for when we go for a big one. When we do, we know that we are losing the advantage for contacts.
There’s a lot you can do to fight with a big fish on the light line. You need to learn the fighting skills in this “don’t pump your rod” style. You will watch these guys catching a 30kg amberjack and a 48kg dogtooth tuna with PE2.0.
Don’t pump your rod →
It’s a fact that it takes more time with light line to bring in the fish. And it’s very difficult with giant amberjacks and groupers who dive to the bottom. But the tug of war with the fish does not break PE usually. When I want to stop the fish, I use thumbing to add the drag to the point that I think is the maximum load that my line system can hold. When it breaks, it’s usually at the knot between the leader and the ring. If it breaks at PE, it’s most likely at the PR knot with the leader. If it isn’t, PE must have touched something (fish or rock) or it must have been damaged before the fight. When PE touches something with tension, PE is so weak to friction that it doesn’t matter much if it’s PE2.0 or PE4.0.
You can always test your line system when you give up on a snag. See where it breaks, and you will know where is the weakest place in your line system.
And I can assure you. As long as you take care of your line well, PE2.0 can hold.
Don’t worry about tuna. Tuna does not dive to the bottom and damage your line. Take your time. Let the fish swim. The long line in the water will help you to wear down the fish anyway. It may take several hours but you can land a 30kg tuna with PE2.0. But because it takes time and troubles other anglers, you want to use PE4.0 when you are at the field for tuna and fishing for tuna. Any spinning tackle can do it too.
Learn from your own experience.
I strongly encourage you to start using light line before worrying about big fish. See how you can move your jig. See what information you can collect from the line. Feel what kind of water influence you are getting. Try to find the edge of your line system with your thumbing. See where is your weakest point in your line system and see how you can improve it.
You’ll probably lose several big fish in your process. You may feel sorry that you didn’t use heavier line. Just think that, without light line to put you in a good alignment, you couldn’t have fooled and hooked the big fish who are older and wiser.
By the time you are at your best on the light line, you will probably have several different tackles and playing this gamble more in favor for you. But you would not learn most of this if you depend on heavy line just because you expect some day a big fish will suddenly bite on your jig.
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