3 Main Variations with Slow Pitch Jigging

With Slow-Pitch Jigging, there are so many variations of movements and sequences that we can intentionally make. They can be roughly categorized into 3 kinds.

Slow Pitch Jerk

“1 pitch, 1 Jerk” (1 turn reeling and 1 lifting in 1 action) in about 1 action per second tempo. 1 reeling can be 1 full crank, 1/2 crank, or 1/4 crank. Has a moment of stillness at the end of each lift so that the jig can free swim or free fall in a horizontal position.

Works well in a fair sea condition, with any fish-active levels. As long as the condition allows it, you can surely find a pattern that fish bites within the range of this variation.

Slow Pitch Jerk is not necessarily “slow”. Because we give a moment of stillness and a moment of falls, the tempo of 1 action, or you can say the frequency, is low. While SPJ does 1 action, hi-speed jigging can do 4 or 5 actions. But reeling and lifting in each action can be fast.

High Pitch Jerk

It’s the same line of applications as Slow Pitch Jerk, but with more powerful rod which really whips out the jig. This is different from the conventional hi-speed jigging. The tempo is slow like Slow Pitch Jerk or even slower (less frequent). Because the whipping is so powerful that the jig slides for more distance and for longer time. After each powerful pitch you see the line slack on the water suspending for a long time. Seafloor Control Messiah swims for the longest distance. Sometimes it swims for 2 seconds before starts falling.

Works well in any sea conditions, with high fish-active level. Sometimes the movement switches on the un-active fish too. This is basically a long shot for a big one. It’s always worth to try it at sunrise and sunset, when a big fish is expected.

Long Fall Jerk

This is a very unique and effective method. Simple slow lift up as high as your rod can reach and a free fall. And just simply repeat the long slow action.
Utilizes soft rod with a fall jigs. For example, 3oz rod for 220g or heavier. Because we want to stay low profile on the lift, not much flip and flop. Fall jigs would not react well to lifting, but plays excellent performance in free falling. By simple slow long lift, you are making the change of pace that triggers the predators.

Works well in any sea conditions, with any fish-active levels. But this technique is slow to develop. It’s not suitable if you want to search a wide range and try different actions. It’s preferred when the fish is no so active and is usually applied in combination of slow pitch techniques.

Please note that this is not suitable when you are free-drifting (non-vertical alignment). For too much time, the line is loose without tension. While you think you are doing the long fall, you are drifting away from the jig, and the jig may not be even falling but being hung in the water. Also the action tone (the balance between the rod power and the jig weight) is too soft that you cannot pull the jig closer to you when you lift.

Sato Sensei established these principles. He also emphasizes that these are not 3 different methods. They are just the variations of Slow-Pitch jigging, and utilizing these characteristics in a continuous strategy is very important in the field.

Introduction to Long Fall Jerk

This is the introduction to Norihiro Sato DVD #6, Long Fall Jerk.

Combination with Slow Pitch Jerk and Long Fall Jerk

This is demonstrated by my friend, one of the leading jiggers in Okinawa.

Knowing When To Do What Variation

Sunset and Sunrise are when the fish gets activated, no matter what the tides are. I would go for a big one with high pitch with a long jig. High Pitch works well with the monster swimmers. Long Fall works well with the big fat ambushers.

Sometimes you have a fish-active situation and you see people catching young amberjacks or tunas. You want to go for a big one. High pitch with a long jig is a great option. The other option is slow pitch with a heavier bigger jig. When the juveniles are attacking, it’s possible that a big old wise amberjacks may join the feast a moment later. They look for easy targets, crippled by the juvenile attack. Soft slow pitch application usually find their appetite.

When the current is not moving, this is when the fishing gets tough as fish is not active. This is when Slow Pitch and Long Fall take effects. Slow Pitch detects the most bites. Especially when the other anglers on your boat are doing hi-speed jigging or High Pitch, you’ll be the only one who catches fish. Fish is not active enough to chase those fast moving jigs, but it catches their attentions. And they will see that there is this easy target, a goofy hopping unguarded fish, or maybe an injured, crippled fish swimming funny.

Long Fall constantly works. Sometimes the upper current is moving and the bottom current is not moving. These multiple layers of currents is a tough situation, since fish in the still water along the bottom is not activated, but your line is under a big influence of the upper currents. Long Fall still works in a situation like this.

Sometimes Slow Pitch is just hard to do. The current is too strong. The deep water is giving too much influence to your line. Or the waves are too choppy to give subtle actions. These are times that Hi Pitch and Long Fall take effects.

SituationSlow PitchHigh PitchLong Fall
Loose CurrentGoodOKGood
Strong CurrentOKGoodOK
Shallow WaterGoodOKOK
Deep WaterOKGoodGood

Fast Tempting Lift

It’s always effective to give 3 to 4 hi-speed lifts sometimes between your slow pitch actions. Fast moving objects attract attentions. 3 to 4 cranks will move the jig for 2m to 3m. A nice invitation to catch attentions or to make them start chasing. Then slow pitch will follow and perform “the change of pace” nicely, which turns on the fish for the bite. Fast lift also removes the line slack to make your next slow pitch actions clear and direct.

Change Drop Point

Most of the bites happen near the bottom. It’s usually up to 20m from the bottom where you play your sequences and drop back to the bottom. With Slow Pitch or Long Fall, sometimes you can narrow your range to 10m, which is strategically good and effective. But after couples of attempts, you should reel up your jig about 30m or so and then drop back down. The jig will drop down to a different place and you can start over again.

This is a game of choices.

The fun part of this game is that you can intentionally change your tactics to make a difference. And to adapt to the condition at the time, which is a big part of the vertical deepsea jigging.

There are times that you feel so good moving your jig, almost like playing music, and sure enough you get contacts. And there are times you have doubts in everything you do. There are times that you are giving everything you got and nothing bites.
No matter what the fish liked or didn’t like, no matter what the ocean allowed or didn’t allow, the important thing is that you’ve given every shots you got.

Sato Sensei says; Always imagine this one fish you are targeting. One fish. He is looking at your jig from a distance. Try to imagine in details how your jig is moving down there. Try to attract the fish one way or another. That’s the only way you get better at this game.

Hope the information helps you! Good luck!