How to use slow-pitch jigs

By Scott MacDonnellNZ Fishing World
How to use slow-pitch jigs

Slow-pitch jigging: If you haven’t tried it, you should; you will catch fish

Heres our simple video guide to using slow-pitch jigs

Slow-pitch jigs are relatively new to the shelves of local fishing retailers, but the impact of them has been immediate and with good reason.

In a few short months this season these multi-coloured and often randomly shaped lures have proven to be one of the most effective and versatile new offerings to hit the market in decades. Used correctly, slow-pitch jigs excel on the snapper grounds as well as catching bin loads of kingfish, hapuka, John dory, blue cod and any other predatory species in the vicinity at the time.

A range of slow-pitch jigs

Slow-pitch jigs generally come in sizes ranging from 60-300g

In fact, in our recent experience if the sounder’s showing the presence of fish in depths greater than 30 metres, slow-pitch jigs will catch them. 

Where did slow-pitch jigs come from?

Recently invented in Japan, the slow-pitch jig is generally a leaf shaped, fairly flat lure with one or two assist hooks attached to the top eye point of the lure. 

Widely available from top manufacturers such as Catch, Zest, Daiwa, Shimano as well as various boutique importer/retailers such and Rod and Reel in Newmarket, they vary in weight from around 60– 300 grams, with 100-130 grams being the most popular.

Deliberately shaped and weighted to slide and flutter in the water as they fall, a slow pitch jig simulates an injured baitfish darting erratically sideways as it is worked in the water column.

What to look for on the sounder when slow-pitch jigging

Slow-pitch jigs work best in water deeper than 30 metres and are especially effective on snapper in water between 40 metres and 60 metres plus.

What gear is needed?

Slow pitch jigs ideally need to be mated to an appropriate specialist rod to impart the ideal action to the lure.  Rods are very fine and bend all the way through to the butt without applying as much pressure to the fish as normal jig rods.  Reels to suit are small strong overheads that can easily control line on the drop, but have very strong smooth drags.  Quality makes a difference here.  Braid lines are a mandatory, usually around 20lb breaking strain with a 2-metre fluorocarbon leader attached using a PR or FG knot.  (Click here for how-to tie knots)

How do you fish a slow pitch jig?

Slow pitch jigs must be fished on the drift and a quality sea anchor usually necessary to keep the line close to vertical.

The action used for fishing a slow pitch jig is fairly simple, and requires much less energy than speed jigging.  The lure falling and skittering creates its own action and entices kingies and snapper to strike just as aggressively.

Release the jig to the bottom allowing it to fall as quickly as it wants to, this imparts the best action.

Assuming the lure is not intercepted on the way down, as soon as it hits the bottom engage the reel and waft the rod tip from a downward pointing, to horizontal position, allowing the tip to flick the jig upwards.  This is a key strike point so be ready. 

Occasionally working the lure up several metres from the sea floor with a very slow mechanical jigging motion is a great way to stimulate bites from less active snapper with the added bonus of the odd kingfish or trevally strike.

When setting the hooks it is important to remember that they are comparatively small and razor sharp so there is no need to strike, just apply pressure to the running fish.

Keep the rod low

Rod type and playing the fish

Although not in anyway essential, slow-jig fishing is best done with purpose built slow-jig rods, which tend to be very long and thin with a slow action. Long soft-bait rods can also be used but short, stiff rods should be avoided. 

A perfect snapper on slow jigs

A perfect snapper on slow-jigs

Once hooked up always keep the rod down.  These soft rods should always be kept pointing into the water and never lifted more than 45 degrees upwards.  This keeps a good bend and constant pressure on the fish, while the reel does the job of a mini-winch.  Let the fish run freely top avoid pulling the hook, lean back and enjoy the fun.

Below is a more detailed video explaining the finer techniques

For top slow-pitch jig advice and equipment talk to the guys at Rod and Reel, Newmarket, who supplied the equipment we used to put together this story.

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