SLOW-PITCH JIGGING: ROD
NOT NEW BUT NOT KNOWN
SLOW PITCH JIGGING ANGLER AND EXPERT
BREAKS DOWN THE BASICS.
INTRO/ WHAT IS SLOW-PITCH JIGGGING
Slow pitch jigging is a relatively new fishing technique pioneered in Japan that expands, and hyper-specializes, saltwater lure fishing. When you think about it, slow pitch jigging is more of a system than just a technique, where all of the components – rod, reel, line, leader, jig, hooks, and, most importantly, the angler, act in harmony to entice the bite.
Let’s not kid ourselves, jig fishing has been around for years and years, and the obvious question is “why is slow pitch jigging special?” The answer is simple: it’s amazingly effective for nearly every fish that swims, as well as being super fun too.
The most important thing that is needed from an angler that is learning about slow pitch jigging is to keep an open mind. Much of the equipment and techniques are so far from the norm – or, at the very least, are almost counterintuitive – that it is imperative that the angler to become a thinker, have an open mind to learn, and to take advantage of the tremendous new technology that is available today.
First thing’s first, we’ll begin with the rod. A slow pitch jigging rod is designed to do one thing – to properly impart an action on the jig. What we mean by this is that the rod is designed to propel a jig upward through the water column so that the jig can fall and do its magic. Unlike traditional fishing, the rod is not a primary tool to put pressure on the fish, but rather to entice the bite and to control the action of the lure. Of course, an angler can use the rod for the fight to a certain extent, but forget the pump and lift days. They’re long gone.
A high quality slow pitch jigging rod will have generally similar characteristics. The rods are generally between six and seven feet long, very thin, made of a very high carbon content, extremely sensitive and very parabolic. The elastic quality of the rod gives it its most important characteristic – recovery. The higher the quality of the rod, the better recoil it will have, and the better it will be at working jigs in deeper water. Now, this is not to say that you want to have a fast action rod that springs back quickly, but rather, an even, slow unloading presentation. The reason for a slow, even unload is that it gives the angler much more control over what the jig is doing in the water for a more precise presentation.
For rod selection, I rely on Shimano’s offerings in the Game Type Slow J (6’6”) and the Grappler Type Slow J (6’8”) in varying models tuned to properly work jigs in specific weight ranges. Generally, it is important to select a slow pitch rod for the weight of the jigs the angler will be fishing, rather than selecting a higher “power” based upon the size of the fish being targeted. The simple reason for this is that the rod will not be the primary tool fighting the fish.
Shimano’s patented Spiral X construction enhances catching power for anglers. Spiral X construction consists of three layers: a middle layer of vertical fibers as well as inner and outer layers, both comprised of carbon tape that tightly winds the blank diagonally in opposite directions. By using this carbon tape in place of a conventional horizontal fiber sheet, Spiral X achieves enhanced compression rigidity and increased torsional rigidity without adding extra weight. This facilitates instant power transmission for precise casting and fish fighting.
Hi-Power X construction uses diagonally-wrapped carbon tape to form an array of “X” shapes on the rod blank’s outermost layer. This manufacturing process allows Shimano to adjust these wraps during construction for precise actions, enhanced overall strength and added twist resistance. In short, Hi-Power X construction delivers sharp and crisp rod control for the angler.
Slow pitch jigging rods are generally equipped with micro guides, similar to what an angler would expect with a fresh-water rod. The guides are almost shockingly small at first, but there is a good reason – sensitivity. The closer your line is kept to the blank, the more sensitivity the angler will have – able to feel the slightest strike even in hundreds of feet of water.
The butt-end of most slow pitch rods have a long section of exposed. This is, again, for sensitivity. When pitching the jig, the butt-end of the rod is generally kept under the angler’s forearm, and only moved to the position under the armpit for the fight of the fish. By having an exposed blank, the angler gains great sensitivity to determine strikes, bottom contact, and even feeling multi-layer currents throughout the water column.