Jigging is a type of fishing that definitely has a learning curve, and a very unique set of tackle that must be used to deliver a good presentation. All components of your setup are crucial to getting your lure into the strike zone, and into the mouths of fish. In this article, we'll go over some of the basics to Slow Pitch and Vertical Jigging, and explain a few do's and don'ts to help you avoid common mistakes.
Slow Pitch, (a short explanation)
The action that you wish to simulate while slow jigging is a wounded baitfish struggling to flee. The jig falls through the water column, towards the bottom, fluttering as it descends. Once it has touched the bottom, the angler tensions the line, "loading" the rod and then lifts while also turning the handle of the reel. This springs the jig upward. The angler then allows the jig to fall again, and repeats.
Vertical Jigging, (a short explanation)
The action that you wish to simulate while vertical jigging is a baitfish using all of its energy to flee from a predator. This method is comprised to allowing the jig to descend through the water as fast as possible, reaching the bottom and quickly ascending. The angler lifts the rod in an erratic motion, while also cranking the reel, making the jig dart and flash aggressively.
SPJ: Slow Pitch Jigging rods at first look like something that you'll see kids use at a freshwater pond. But don't be confused. These rods are extremely thin and parabolic, with a very "springy" tip. Slow jigging rods are specially designed to be used to dart the jig through the water. These rods load the jig, and spring it forward underwater, then, the jig slowly flutters back to the bottom. These rods are very durable, and can land huge fish despite their appearance. However, DO NOT "pump" your slow jigging rods when fighting fish. Doing so can and will break them! Your reel does most of the fighting for you (more on that later). Jigging rods are often rated in the weight of the jig (grams) as opposed to line lb test. A good all-around rod for SPJ tends to be about 200-400g.
Popular SPJ Rods Include:
-Temple Reef "Gravitate" $$$
Vertical: Vertical jigging rods are very different from SPJ, and are more like your regular spinning rods. Most vertical jigging rods are "fast action" and "heavy", meaning they do not bend easily. Opposed to slow jigging rods, these can and should be pumped when fighting fish. These rods are usually fairly thin and short, about 5'8"-6' in length. These can be rated in either line lb test or grams, but most are rated by gram. A good all around rod for vertical jigging is one rated for (80-150) gram jigs.
Popular Vertical Jigging Rods Include:
- Shimano "Trevalla" (spinning)
- Penn "Carnage" (Spinning)
SPJ: Slow pitch jigging reels must be strong, lightweight, fast and have lots of drag. Since the rod does little to no pulling when fighting fish, the reel is used like a towing winch to pull the fish off the bottom. Reels must also hold enough line to make it at least 600ft to the bottom, and still have enough line in case the fish pulls drag. SPJ reels are exclusively conventional style to allow the angler to regulate the speed of the lure as it falls. You can use both a star or lever drag reel, whichever you feel most comfortable.
Popular SPJ reels include:
- Accurate 500N (SPJ or regular) $$$
- Shimano Ocea Jigger $$$
Vertical Jigging: Vertical jigging reels are typically saltwater spinning outfits. They are easy to use, and allow the angler to comfortably reel while pumping the rod. The lighter they are, the better, so that you can keep jigging without fatigue. The best reels are ones with strong and smooth drag and good line capacity. Spinning reels in the 5000-6000 class tend to be best suited for most vertical jigging.
Popular Vertical Jigging Reels Include:
- Daiwa Saltist $$
- Penn Battle II $
- Penn Clash II $$
- Daiwa BG $
- Shimano Saragosa $$
- Shimano Stella $$$
The Line & Leader:
SPJ: The line for slow pitch jigging is quite different than what you'd normally use for any other form of offshore fishing. Line as thin as it is, has resistance in water. The goal is to have the thinnest line possible, so that the current drags as little of it as possible. You want your jig to be as vertical (think up and down from the boat) as possible. This ensures the best action with every pitch of your rod. It is also best to have soft braid that is easy on your guides. 8-Strand braid, or X8 is most popular since it is very soft and thin. Braid is required for SPJ, and is used because it does not stretch. As mentioned previously, the thinner the line, the better, and most anglers use 20lb braid, 30lb at the maximum.
Popular Lines For SPJ:
-Nomad Tackle Pandora Braid X8 $$
Vertical Jigging: For vertical jigging, having the softest and thinnest line is not as important as it is for SPJ. Here, you can use most 4-Strand or 8-Strand line without issue. Most anglers use 40-60lb line on their outfits. However, braid is also REQUIRED for vertical jigging. It is very important that there is no stretch in the line, or the darting action on the jig will not be nearly as effective.
Popular Lines For Vertical Jigging:
-Spiderwire UltraCast $$