Slow Pitch success aboard Pacific Voyager 3-day trip, Feb. 16-19, 2023

tunanorth

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Dec 4, 2005
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[Not a PENN trip]
Just got back from a phenomenal Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle charter 3-day trip aboard Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Landing in San Diego. I intended to fish SPJ exclusively the whole time, and managed to stick with it.
Besides just experiencing good action, I was preparing for the upcoming legal changes in California waters, where we will soon be able to fish depths well beyond 600 feet, which have been closed for decades.
Perfect weather allowed me to stretch the limits of how deep you can go with SPJ. I brought several extra "demo" rigs, and my success got a number of people to try it, and most were pretty successful too.
We fished about half the time in "shallow" depths from 190-260 feet, and the other half "deep", in 400-425 feet.
My "test" deepwater rig was a Penn Fathom 15XN with 20-pound Berkely X-9 braid, on a Penn Carnage III 450gr. 8-foot long fall rod, with a 280gr. Williamson Kensaki jig, and 6-inch Gulp trailer.
This reached 425 feet so easily, it looked like barely any line had gone off the reel. The fish were biting eagerly, which helped my confidence.
I decided to go "all in", and picked up my Penn Fathom 200LP, filled with 15-pound X-9, and mounted on a Penn Carnage III 100gr. 6 foot, 8 inch SPJ rod. I overloaded the rod slightly with a 150gr. Williamson Koika with 5-inch Gulp trailer.
This hit bottom at 425 feet pretty easily, although the reel was about 2/3 empty. I was sharing the rail with anglers using 2 pounds of lead and Tanacom bull electric reels!
Setting the hook was a bit dicey with the little 100gr. rod, but I managed to get a number of quality reds [vermilion rockfish], plus several other lesser species.
PCB&T shop owner Walt Bailey was also aboard.
More than a few SPJ converts were made on this trip!

Fixed Carson red electric 1.jpg
 
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tunanorth

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Why the trailer? I would think the jig worked well should attract fish by itself.


In the super-productive waters of Baja California, the jigs alone actually produce "too well".
With no trailer, you end up hooking a ton of smaller-grade fish. The trailer makes them back off "just a little", and give the bigger fish a chance to get it.
Also, for some reason, pelagic species don't like the trailer much, and incidental pelagics like bonito, barracuda, and mackerel can be [mostly] avoided.
When targeting larger pelagics like tuna, yellowtail, etc, I never use a trailer.
Ha-Ha, it would be even more important in the amazing waters of Alaska, where you would get a bite every 5 seconds from something small if you didn't have it.
If trying SPJ for chinooks or cohos, I would definitely not use the trailer.
 
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tunanorth

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Steve, is 20lb the heaviest you'd go on the braid for slow pitch?


Depends on how deep you are going, and how much pelagics may figure into your fishing style.
When using a jig with a hook on the nose and tail ends, you can't legally add any more hooks, so you will be fighting just one fish at a time.
Since 20-pound X-9 and similar "thin" braids break at around 37 pounds, you can put more than enough pressure on just about any bottom fish except possibly the very largest lingcod.
If you plan on testing the newly-allowed extreme depths, 20-pound will get you there quite a bit better than 30-pound.
Your jigs will sink like a rocket on 20-pound braid.
"However" if you will also be chasing pelagics like local yellowtail and school-size tuna, 30-pound is a better way to go.
If going after larger Baja-grade yellowtail, grouper, etc. you will just barely have a chance to hold them out of structure with 40-pound, and 50-pound is better.
 
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Dozer217

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Depends on how deep you are going, and how much pelagics may figure into your fishing style.
When using a jig with a hook on the nose and tail ends, you can't legally add any more hooks, so you will be fighting just one fish at a time.
Since 20-pound X-9 and similar "thin" braids break at around 37 pounds, you can put more than enough pressure on just about any bottom fish except possibly the very largest lingcod.
If you plan on testing the newly-allowed extreme depths, 20-pound will get you there quite a bit better than 30-pound.
Your jigs will sink like a rocket on 20-pound braid.
"However" if you will also be chasing pelagics like local yellowtail and school-size tuna, 30-pound is a better way to go.
If going after larger Baja-grade yellowtail, grouper, etc. you will just barely have a chance to hold them out of structure with 40-pound, and 50-pound is better.
Thanks, this would be a second 15xn so dedicated to this type of fishing although anything over 400' sounds exhausting.
 
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tunanorth

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I also did pretty well on the shallower spots with spinning tackle.
Spin tackle becomes problematic as the depth increases, due to the friction buildup on the spool lip as the line level dwindles.

Carson Authority ling 1 fixed.jpg
 
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tunanorth

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Are you using an x length of fluoro to the jig? How are you connecting it to the braid?


I often use about 3 feet of slightly heavier fluoro to the jig, primarily for abrasion resistance.
Most commonly I also have about 15-20 feet of 40-pound mono as a "wind on".
Connection mono to braid: 7-turn RP Knot
Connection mono to fluoro: 4-turn Surgeon's Knot
 
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hucklongfin

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It seems like Surgeons knots with an even number of turns are smoother than those with an odd number of turns!
 
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tunanorth

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It seems like Surgeons knots with an even number of turns are smoother than those with an odd number of turns!


Interesting, will have to try it.
 
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tunanorth

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Steve, how big a difference is it between the X9 20lb and 30lb for the slow pitch?


It depends on how deep you will be fishing.
The deeper you need to go, the more important it is that your jig be allowed to sink unfettered as much as possible.
Even though the depth laws have been changed, the hook laws did not change, so since you will be restricted to just the jig [1 hook on nose, and 1 hook on tail], there are very few rockfish or even lingcod, that you can't handle with the 20-pound braid.
 
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redbeard

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Steve, I like your thought process on the trailer rig set up. What hook are you using with the gulp trailer?
 
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tunanorth

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When setting your drag what are you going off? Spectra, mono, fluoro or is it like yoyo jigging and you button it down?


You do generally set the drag fairly tight.
Braid will generally overtest by a fair amount over the label, so there's room.
For instance, 20-pound Berkley X-9 has an average break of 37 pounds.
 
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