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

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.

vertical_jigging01aCurrent can push your line away. Wind can push your boat away. And you have a lot of line slack in the water that disconnects you with your jig.

vertical_jigging01bWhen you reel and lift your rod for an action, it can move your line in the water but it may not be moving your jig.

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.

vertical_jigging01cCan you imagine moving the jig A with a 2-meter stick?

Can you imagine how easy it would be to move the jig B in the vertical alignment?

vertical_jigging01dWhen you use heavy line and the current is strong, it’s very possible that your line is misaligned like this.

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.

vertical_jigging01eThis is also possible in the multi-layered complex currents.
The water influence is so strong that all the rod actions feel like pulling up a rubber band.

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.

Multi-layered Current

watermassI’m sure you have seen the junction line between two sea currents.
The water in the right half of the picture is totally different from the left half.

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.

watermassSo 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.

Also see
Boating in vertical alignment with the jig →
Tips for fishing on a free drifting boat →
How can I catch a monster? →
Fighting strategy →

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

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  1. Andreas

    Hi Totos,

    I totally agree with your article and i am about to go for the Berkley one. I found one with the following characteristiscs:


    15LB – 0.20mm
    20LB – 0.23 mm
    30LB – 0.28 mm
    40LB – 0.30 mm
    50LB – 0.35 mm
    65LB – 0.40 mm

    Should i go for the 30LB or something lower as i don’t know what the P.E. 2.0 is equal to mm.

    Thank you ,

    • Totos

      Hi Andreas.

      I’m not stopping you from buying Fireline, but I just want to clarify that the line I recommended in the article is Super Fireline, which came out last month. It’s selling only in Japan.

      There is a guideline to regulate PE rating. But it’s really up to the line makers how they rate their lines.

      The guideline is like this:
      PE1.2 – 0.191mm
      PE1.5 – 0.209mm
      PE2.0 – 0.242mm

      Watch out for fake fireline in online shops. The fake braid is rough and loose. No use. If it’s selling ridiculously cheap, think twice.

      • Andreas

        Thanks for the clarification Totos. I will continue searching 🙂

      • phil

        Does anyone know if the Berkley fireline Exceed is similar to the super fireline? Both are
        improved versions of the original fused fireline.

  2. Dimitri

    Nothing compares to very light tackle…

  3. Mahdi

    Hi Totos,

    Shimano ex 8 is made up of 8 strands to form the line.

    Do you happen to know how many strands is berkley super fireline made off?

    • Totos

      Fireline is not braided. That’s why it doesn’t stretch. It’s why it’s weak without coating. I think it’s 4 strands. The dyneema strands are only put together and coated.

  4. Juan Gil
    Juan Gil07-08-2015

    Hi Totos

    SHIMANO OCEA JIGGER B604(Baitcast) is it a category A rod for show jigging?

  5. Toni

    Hi Totos.
    I love your site end, think it is great thing to have place where we can learn a lot about slow jigging!!I start with slow jigging few month ago and I love the tehnic.I was fishing vertical with heavy gear and until I start with light gear,didnt know what is fun..Wher I live there is not a lot fish so going on light gear was great move as i now get more fish bite..
    Now I have question,I use varivas super conductor PE 2, what you think about that line?I lost one fish obout 5 kg and I start think maybe to change on 2.5 line .IS that to much thick or I need to stay at PE 2,and try shimano ocea jigger EX8 wich is stronger line.My curent line break at FG knot conection as I didnt make it tight enough..I know I must learn still a lot and any good advice will be good..
    Thank you farward for your advice

    Toni Croatia

    • Totos

      Hi Toni.
      Thank you very much for your compliment. Glad that my site has been helpful to you.
      You just lost one fish, buddy. Still a lot to learn. I’m sure there’s got to be so much you can do before going for heavier line and compromise on the direct control.
      Have you checked out this post?

      When you have line break, study it closely. Where did it break? How was it broken? Was it tension? friction? or maybe the line was damaged? What were you fighting before the break. Were you too aggressive, or too permissive? Wasn’t drag too tight? Did you keep the same tension while fighting? How can you improve your line system? How can you improve the way you fight?
      All these questions that you will never get a clear answer for. But this is what it’s all about. Refining your tackle. Refining your technique. To become as effective as we can be. “A big fish broke my line the other day, so I changed to heavier line.” It’s certainly one way. But keep in mind that in every changes, you gain something and you lose something. And there’s always many other things you can do to improve your overall efficiency.
      It can be a very critical decision to switch from PE2.0 to PE2.5. In fact, I may rather have suggested to go lighter to PE1.5. You may lose more fish, but you may learn much more. When I tried PE1.0, I learned to pay so much more attention to what the line has to tell me. I’m not using PE1.0 any more but I learned a lot from the experience.
      Good luck.

  6. Triantafillos

    Hello from Greece,
    I ve matched zen zagan rod with a maxel hybrid 30 reel filled with 0.20 jigman line and a 0.47 leader!what to u think of the whole set?should I go down to a 0.40leader?

    • Totos

      Hi Triantafillos.
      Thank you for your comment.
      I don’t know what kind of field you are fishing and what kind of intension you have, so it’s difficult for me to make comment on your set up.
      Do you see any problems? What are your thoughts for changing it?

  7. John

    Hi Toto. Excellent site. Wish I would of found it earlier. Just got into the jigging game. And a lot of recommendation are made by local tackle shop here in Australia. My jigging setup consist of jackall anchovie driver match with a Daiwa saltiga 15HL. I usually fish shallow reef. After reading your post have regretted spooling up the reel with PE2.5 gosen jigging line. I always fish light but on occasion I will head off shore for the big king or AJ. The problem here we have are sharks. We have to go hard on the fish. Hence the decision to move up a notch. Is there really that much difference in the feel between PE2 and 2.5. Or should I buy another spool and load it with lighter PE for shallow fishing. Mostly fish in 10-15m shallow reef for reef species. Any advise appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    • Totos

      Hi John.
      Well, line makes a difference. That’s a truth. Depending on the conditions, the jig can be dancing lively or it can be being hung on a rope.
      But as you well know, it’s a balance scale with contact rate on one and catch rate on the other. And you have weighted on catch rate. It’s not a bad decision. No right or wrong. It’s a decision whether or not you were conscious of it. But you didn’t go to PE3.0!
      I would stay with PE2.5. See how it goes. Good luck!

      • John

        Thank you Toto sensei. I have ordered an extra spool from Daiwa and will load it up with some PE1.5. That will give me the best of both world. After all being confident with what you are doing is the most important. Especially when you first start out. I really believe what you said is right. Learn the action before worrying about the landing the big ones. Again many thanks.

        • Totos

          My thought exactly.
          When you are learning, you want to see the edge on both sides.
          Good luck!

  8. Gary

    Hafa Adai Toto,

    I am currently using Shimano Ex8 pe2 on ocea jigger 2000. I jig in around 75 – 150m depth of water. We jig on a boat with a drift anchor, which keeps us pretty verticle while jigging( maybe around 8 drops before I have to reel all the up and redrop) I’m thinking of switching to pe 1.5. In your experience, will this make a big difference in jig action and how it feels in the water?

    Looking forward to your reply! Thank you for your time!

    • Totos

      Hi Gary.
      Oh yes, definitely. PE1.5 and PE2.0 feel very different. Once for our experiment, we have had 3 x same tackles with 3 different lines, PE1.0, PE1.5 and PE2.0 of Sunline Jigger8HG. With 210g Rector at about 100 meters deep, with a captain controlling the drift with a spanker sail.
      PE1.0 and PE1.5 felt pretty similar, even though PE1.0 did feel lighter. But 4 of us anglers confirmed that PE1.5 and PE2.0 are definitely different. I think it depends on the line and it depends on the conditions. But light line does makes a difference and sometimes the difference is remarkable.

      I’m pretty sure that you will improve your contact rate with PE1.5. It’s definitely more fun with lighter line.

  9. Mail

    Hi Toto… is there any different between PE1.5 (20lb 4 Braid) and PE2.0 (20lb 8 Braid)?

    • Totos

      PE line is rated by the weight of the braid to make certain length. It basically determines the diameter but it depends on the technique.
      4-ply braid is cheaper. Stronger to friction. Catches more water resistance. But there are some cheap, very bad quality products in the market. 8-ply certainly takes more effort, therefore, more expensive. The characteristics are opposite from 4-ply. But when the line is made by a fine manufacturer, the difference isn’t much. When they design these products, they have the concept, and they will use the technique and whatever ply which will meet the concept.
      I don’t know who makes these 2 lines that you are holding. If the comparison is fair, PE1.5 is a better line. Lighter line for the same strength. 4-ply doesn’t matter. But you would want to be careful if it’s pound class or pound test.

  10. ziad amr
    ziad amr11-27-2017

    hello totos ,
    i have an important question as i`m buying the line for slow jigging now and i`m really confused of what line to choose but i`m so close to get seaguar pe x8 #2 ( pe 2) what do you think about its quality and please tell me if you have stronger braid line

    • Totos

      Hi Ziad.
      Yes, Seaguar X8 is good. Or Varivas Avani Max Power and Shimano EX8.

  11. Spiros

    Toto what kind of braid PE#1.5 do you suggest for the slow jigging? still berkley super fireline colored or for 2019 is any better out there?

    • Totos

      Hi Spiros.
      Sunline PE Jigger ULT4 is a good line. Sato Sensei uses it too sometimes. It’s a 4 strand braid. They say it stretches as little, and catches as little water resistant, as Fireline. And the price range is as low as Fireline. Personally I like this one better than Fireline.
      But it’s not strong as other top-notch lines like Shimano EX8 and Varivas Max Power. But they are twice as expensive. If you are using PE1.5 in the deep, or targetting small fish in the shallow, PE Jigger.

  12. Spiros

    Toto, i find in my country the “Sunline PE JIGGER ULT” PE1.5 – 25lb is this what you propose?

    • Totos

      Yes. PE jigger ULT4. It’s a 4-ply braid. It makes a little noise on the guides. But it’s strong as 8-ply and doesn’t stretch. This is what Sato Sensei uses when.

  13. Spiros

    Hi Toto finally i buy Sunline PE JIGGER ULT PE1.5 but my point is when i turn the reel i hear a noise sound.Is because of 4 strand braid?

    • Totos

      Probably yes. We call it guide noise. It makes noise, but nothing more. That’s what Sato Sensei says.

  14. Spiros

    I forgot to mention that the noise come from the spool where the braid wrapped.

    • Totos

      I don’t know about that. There should be no conflict between the line which is loading on the spool and the line which is already sitting on the spool.

  15. Daniel Anibal Mazzuca
    Daniel Anibal Mazzuca10-16-2020

    Hi Totos,

    Do you know something about Shimano Pitbull line (compared with the Ocea line)?

    Regards, Daniel

    • Totos

      I think Putbull is a great line. Great in silent games where there’s less actions and more sensitivity is required. But it’s a casting line. No markers. I get myself in such critical tug of war with the fish near the bottom just too often to fish with the line with no markers. Markers are essential when you negotiate with the fish near the bottom.

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