Slow pitch jigging in the deep

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Recently some of my readers asked me what’s the recommended setup for deep jigging, at 200m and deeper.

I sometimes go deep, 170m to 230m mostly. But I’m on the spankered boat which captain controls the drift to allow us to stay vertical. It is still very difficult to keep the target range and process the information coming from the line, and I’m still in the beginning of my learning stage.

Tackles I use are:

— ROD —

  • Slow Jerker 603-3 — when the ocean is calm
  • Slow Jerker 603-4
  • Slow Jerker 603-6
  • High Pitch Jerker 600 — when the ocean is tough

— REEL —

  • Studio Ocean Mark L120Hi
  • Studio Ocean Mark L50Hi
  • Marfix N4
  • Ocea Jigger 2000NR-HG

— LINE —

  • Super Fireline Colored PE1.5 x 600m
  • Super Fireline Colored PE2.0 x 600m
  • Super Fireline Colored PE3.0 x 600m

— JIG —

  • Seafloor Control Abyss 260g
  • Seafloor Control Arc 260g
  • Seafloor Control Cranky 320g, 360g
  • Seafloor Control Gawky 380g, 420g, 500g, 600g

But I can’t even imagine what it would be like on a free-drifting boat. Then I thought of someone in Australia who has been very successful with slow pitch jigging and I heard started doing the deep.

Here’s the email interview with Ben.

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Hi Totos!

Some absolutely memorable catches. Seems to be more and more days I think “I’ll leave the other gear at home… I just want to jig!”

250 – 350 m

Jigs are more than 300 grams. I usually go about 450 grams. I have a 1kg FCL Labo jig just in case I get out there and nothing else works – but I’m yet to use it.

Deep water I use pe4 with 100 lb leader. The heavy reel is a Jigging Master PE5 narrow spool, high gear. PE4.0. I use this on a Synit heavy slow jigging rod (rated to PE 4).

Otherwise it’s the ocea 2000HG on Slow Jerker 603-6, PE 1.5.

The cod in the picture was on the heavy JM/Synit combo. See the big circle hook it already had in its jaw? These fish are a prime professional fishing target, and obviously has somehow found its freedom. I have kept the hook as a reminder!!

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My boat is a 4.5 m, with a 60 hp.
I always drift. I never use a sea anchor.

Nothing too technical for staying vertical. I honestly just hope it works on the day. Sometimes we cannot get to the bottom, this happens when we have a top current which is different to the bottom current. We usually have enough time to feel the jig touch bottom once or twice before the angle isn’t too great. Sometimes we are really lucky where you can spend 5 mins lifting and dropping as you drift (this has only happened once!!). So you usually get the cod on the first drop or never.

Technique. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of getting the jig down there. Other times it’s long, strong, extended lifts with the rod, from having the tip in the water – to vertical above your head. I figure I have a lot of line I need to move to get any response in the jig.

The hooks I have used recently are single large assist hooks on the top of a gawky. Sometimes I go back to the 4x slow pitch setup, but hook up rate on a large single seems adequate. I might have a session which makes me change my mind… it’s always a learning curve.

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Those photos.

Snapper = 80m, Slow Jerker. Pearl pearch in 100m. These are a prime target for us.

The cobia was in 60 m on the slow jerker. It was under 20 Kg but on pe1.5 it was a long battle with more patience than I usually have for a fish which for the first 30 mins I thought was a shark. I wanted my gawky back! It paid off.

Thank you so much for your great information Ben!!

Keep on jiggin!

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