What rod and jigs to buy first?
Will be fishing with a sea-anchor. If the group wants to fish light jigging we go to 50m-80m. and a bit heavier we go 90m-120m. I originally planned on using Slow Jerker 603-3 for the 50-80m then 603-6 for the 90-120m.
Maybe we focus on 90-120m? Or should I buy a dozen jigs for each range?
Here’s a detailed information on how to match jigs to the rods.
Please read this article first if you haven’t. Today I will talk about what exactly I recommend when you are just starting SPJ.
First and foremost, let me review the most important concept in SPJ, Action Tone.
One of the keys to the success is to know what action tone you have at the moment. And to choose the type of jig that works best in that action tone.
Action Tone is how strong the rod works (in term of bending and whipping) in relation with the jig weigh and the water resistance. The rod spec says the appropriate jig weight range. But the jig weight is not the only factor that the rod makes the action in. The water influence is a big factor. And you will learn it’s so critical to know “How heavy is the water right now?”
To determine Action Tone, you select your rod power on one end, and you have on the other end, the line, jig weight, depth, currents, and how you are drifting. Action Tone can be light, medium, and heavy. It’s not based on numbers. It’s a feeling. It’s OK that your feeling is different than other people. But you have to be consistent within your judgement.
Then according to the action tone you have, you choose the jig type and actions accordingly. Your assessment of Action Tone is very critical.
How heavy is the water?
The depth is just one factor. Water feels light when it’s shallow. Water feels heavy when deep.
The line catches water and makes resistance and line slack. With a light line, the water feels light. With a heavy line, it feels heavy. The coating of the line makes a difference too.
Currents makes a different. But think about it. If there’s only one water mass moving around you, your boat is drifting with the current, and your jig is moving with the current, it does not matter how fast the current is, right? But in reality when the current is moving fast, at least over 80m depth, there are a few layers of currents. Sometimes the top layer is moving fast, sometimes the bottom, and sometimes both in different directions. Multi-layered currents make the water heavy.
How your boat is drifting… This is a huge impact. When you are fishing on the controlled drift to stay vertical, this has nothing to do with how heavy the water is. But if you are free-drifting or drifting with sea-anchor, you are being pushed away from the jig by the wind and the water will feel heavy.
You just need to drop to the bottom to see what action tone you are getting on your rod at that time. And it’s important to always pay attention to the water resistance which is constantly changing every hour and every place. This awareness makes a huge difference.
Once you know how heavy the water is, you can think of a tactic to play. There are a kind of jigs that are good in STRONG action tone for energetic actions. There are a kind jigs that are good in SOFT action tone for slow fall actions.
If you have 2 different power rods, you can play different tactics and also adapt to different water conditions.
What rod to buy?
When you are just starting to Slow Pitch Jigging, I recommend to explore 50m – 80m of water. Not shallower, not deeper. No matter what depth you have been fishing, I recommend this depth. But If you have a captain controlling the drift for you to stay vertical, explore 80m – 110m. You should set up for this depth anyway, and when the condition is friendly to allow you to go deeper, you can do so with the same setups.
With that being said,
I recommend to buy a Power 4 rod (Slow Jerker 603-4 equivalent).
It would be great if you can get 2 rods for more tactic choices and more adaptability. And I recommend to have the same brand. You need consistency to evaluate the action tone. And when you have consistency, you will notice small changes.
Many people want to buy a cheap Class C rod to start with. I understand that. Especially if you are free-drifting, you never know if SPJ works and you want to take a safe, cautious, purchase plan. But for the above reasons, when you decide to go seriously into SPJ, I always recommend to get good quality SPJ rods of the same brand and not use Class C rods. So, if you are fishing on the controlled drift, or at least drifting with a sea-anchor, and you can stay somewhat vertical, I recommend to save a little more and start with a good quality Power 4 rod. Then if you like it, get a different power rod of the same model. That’s what I recommend. Many people constantly look for “the best rod” and get different kinds. But I don’t really like having different kinds of rods because I lose consistency.
There’s no Best Rod. There’s only Best of You.
What jigs to buy?
There are so many jig types, jig weights, and colors. Usually I see many people carry a bunch of different kinds, without knowing what the characteristics they have. Lots of kinds and brands, but little variety of jig weights.
I recommend the opposite.
Get only a few jig types of many different weights.
That is the best way to learn. First you need to learn the rod reel actions of SPJ. Watch my video. Tape and watch yours. Learn the actions. While you do that, practice with different weights. Jig weight changes the action tone. it changes the rhythm of your actions. You notice all the little differences. You start learning to listening to the line while in action. The same jig of the same weight may feel totally different in the next trip. It doesn’t matter if you catch fish. Make 10 trips like this. This is the best way to build up your sensitivity.
150g – 230g
150g – 300g
220g – 300g
Just choose one from each category. And get the jig weights that are indicated for each category.
If you are free-drifting, you don’t have to get soft action jig. My recommend is Arc and Spunky. And Abyss if you want one more. Rector is not recommended for free-drifting because it’s too slow to fall and you lose control easily.
If you are controlling drift or slowing drift with a sea-anchor, you can get one from each category, or maybe get 3 Versatile. Because light action jigs and soft action jigs work in specific actions. If you are in the learning stage, playing all kinds of actions with a versatile jig may be better for you.
Anyway, try to stay with 2 or 3 jigs only. There are so many things you can change in settings as well as in actions. It’s very important that you are aware of what you are keeping consistent and how you are changing.
Then gradually as you go deep into SPJ, you can get more variety of jigs and maybe you can get the second rod.
Just like the rod. There’s no “Best Jig”. You should get to know each jig just like you should get to know your teammate.
How to expand your game
After you learn how to make slow pitch actions, build up your sensitivity (your sense of Action Tone), and get to know a few jigs, then you will go more into tactics. Maybe you want to add some new jigs to your team, and maybe the second rod too.
For the second rod, Power 5 or 6. If you are free-drifting, maybe Power 6 (Slow Jerker 603-6 equivalent). If you are controlling drift, Power 5 (Slow Jerker 603-5 equivalent). If you focus more on deeper field, Power 6. If you want to focus on 40m-60m water, Power 3. Something like that.
I don’t even talk about Power 1, Power 1.5, and Power 2. In what situation do we use them? In shallow waters 40m – 60m, with small jigs under 100g, on the controlled drift by the spankered boat. Or sometimes at 100 meter deep, with jigs around 180g, in a very soft action tone like long fall technique, also on the controlled drift by the spankered boat. Either way, you can’t use them in the fast current condition despite that you stay vertical. You need to note that any jigging reference from Japan is based on the controlled drift by the spankered boat, which is the most efficient way to stay vertical. So, we don’t have to consider these models if you are fishing outside Japan.
As for jigs, again, let me emphasize that it’s so important to spend time with each jig of different weights and in different conditions.
Ask yourself if you can tell what jig you are playing right now.
That requires a lot of attention in details, right? How lightly does it lift? How long does it hang? How fast does it fall? Actually it doesn’t matter if you can tell, but it does matter, and it makes a difference, if you pay that much attention.
Then you start making your choices, rather than randomly throwing everything you have at the ocean.
First you have a purpose. For example, you want to try energetic swimming actions. You are aware of the condition that’s given right now. You know how heavy the water is. Then according to your purpose, you choose a jig type. For example, Spunky. According to the condition, you choose the weight. And then you think, “Do I have a rod to make strong action tone in this condition?” Your Power 4 rod would not make strong action tone in this condition… You don’t have any other rod. Shit. Now you know what I mean when I recommend to have 2 rods for more tactics and adaptability. OK, but if you learn enough from this website, you may have brought a second reel with PE1.5 line load. You switch reels from PE2.0 to PE1.5. Maybe not enough, but the water will feel lighter and you will be more in strong action tone…
You do it and hit!!!
Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that it will be far more fun than just catching fish without knowing why. The fish size doesn’t matter, right?
As you experience, more and more information, ideas, and just hunches will come into your mind before you make a choice. And you will have more knowledge and tools to make it happen.
How you start learning the game is so important. Sometimes experienced anglers have tougher time learning. Because all the experience, knowledge and habits get in the way. You wish good luck to all of you.
Check out the characteristics of Seafloor Control jigs.
Hope the information helps you! Good luck!
- 1. SPJ (57)
- 2. Other Offshore Games (5)
- 3. Fishing Report (105)
- 4. Fish Cooking (19)
- 5. Fishing Charter (6)
- Fish (12)