Basic Rod Action

Let’s take a look more closely at how to make the actions in Slow Pitch Jigging.

I’m showing the basic 1-pitch-1-jerk, which you should learn first. The tempo is basically 1 pitch per second.

1. Reel one turn

Keep the rod 90 degrees to the line. Reel 1 turn with acceleration and stop. The rod will give in nicely to the tension and bend. The jig is accelerating upward through the water, reaching top-speed at the time you stop reeling.

  • What’s shown here is 1-Pitch-1-Jerk action. But the reeling can be 1 full turn, a half turn, or a quarter turn. You can also add bringing up and down the rod. But until you become familiar to the mechanism of this technique, it’s encouraged to practice with your rod in one position.
  • 90 degrees is a standard position. If you keep the rod tip down-angled, the spring-up energy of the rod is low, therefore, the movement of the jig will be softer. If you keep the rod up-angled, the spring-up is stronger and the jig movement is more energetic.

2. Let the rod kick

You stop reeling and hold up the rod, letting the rod spring back up. The rod kicks up the line and releases the tension. The jig is whipped up free. With the momentum and hydrodynamics, the jig swims on its own. Depending on the shape and balance of the jig, some jigs really slide to the side, some twirl, some suspend, some start falling right away.

  • The center-balanced jig gets in a horizontal position here. That is what Slow Pitch Jigging is aiming at. This is the moment for a bite. This and the fall that follows. Both are the moments that the jig is off the tensions. Jig is in a horizontal position. We are giving little moments like these for the fish to make a bite. If the fish makes a bite during the sliding, the fish is likely to get hooked by the head hooks. If during the fall, it’s likely to get hooked by the tail hooks. The fish always tries to bite on what looks like the head, that, to the fish, is “the front of the movement”.
  • The most important factor here is to let the rod do the job. A lot of people can’t help doing something, only interfering your tackles potentials. You’ve done your pitch. Wait to see what it does. The common mistake is that you lower the rod after a pitch when the rod is springing back up. What you are actually doing is canceling the whip action of your rod. Of course it’s OK if you mean that. Occasional hi-speed lifts like that is very effective to attract your targets, and then you can make them bite in a couple of slow pitch following that. But if you want to get the jig horizontal, sliding to the side, you need to have a moment of stop reeling and holding up the rod for the spring-up action.
  • The slow pitch rod is made of high-resilient crispy carbon material in a slow tapered parabolic actions. The blanks is so thin and firm. So the rod bends deeply, and springs back slowly and strongly with the whole length of the rod.

3. Let the jig fall

This is the continuity from Step 2. When the jig slides and loses the momentum, it starts falling. This is also a popular moment for a bite. There are now a lot of kinds of new jigs on the market specializing in falls. They make all kinds of built-in actions. Some twirl and wobble, some rock back slowly, some slide from side to side. All you have to do is NOT to interfere.

  • If you fix the rod in one position, you don’t have much moment of fall. But when you start adding rod actions, you can lower the rod tip for falls. Of course you don’t do reeling while lowering your rod if you want the jig to fall. This is the major part of your tactic on application, how much “fall time” you have in your sequence. This action is totally opposite from what all the anglers are used to. We all learned to pump the rod, don’t reel while lifting the rod, and reel while lowering the rod. If you do that in SPJ actions, the jig would never perform falls. Opposite. You need to practice.
  • Be mindful of the tension in your line on the fall. Free-fall and tension-fall move differently. You can’t tell which is better. Because that’s up to the fish who’s watching your jig at that moment. You can also do “free-fall with occasional tensions”. As long as you are aware of what you are doing, you can try different ways till you hit the pattern of the day. But whether or not you give a little tension or no tension to the falls, DO NOT lower your rod faster than the line. Always “listen” to the fall.

4. Reel and pick up the jig

This is the beginning of another pitch. The timing is important for the rhythm of your sequence.
Just before you feel the the jig weight at the rod tip, you pick up the jig with your reeling. If you don’t give enough time, you don’t feel the jig weight at your reeling. That means that you just canceled the falling and the next pitch is very weak too. REMEMBER that when you reel, you always feel the weight of the jig. When you reel, you are accelerating the jig. If you give too much time to the fall, you are hanging the jig on the line. The fish never bites the jig when the jig is hung and when the jig is spinning.

  • Sometimes your rod follows down the line to give a fall, and you find the line is not falling. It’s very likely that somebody took your jig on the way down. Reel in until you feel a weight on the rod tip, hold, and if it moves, hit it hard. It’s possible that the jig just landed on something at the bottom. Always make sure it’s a fish before you hit it.
  • For variations, you can choose not to reel on the way down or to reel a half on the way down and the other half on the way up. If you do not reel on the way down, the fall is maximized. But do you want to maximize the fall in every pitch? It’s up to you. SPJ is a game of choices. You can reel half as you lower the rod, and then the other half to lift. The jig slides to the side and suspends, then without falling it will be lifted up and pitched off again. More continuous flowing uplift motions. They are different applications. And it’s nice to combine them.

5. Let the rod kick

This is a picture of the second spring-up. I hope you can imagine a continuity with these pictures.

As you get used to it, you can start engaging your rod actions. But I strongly recommend that you practice playing this music only by reeling first. There are so many things everyone does without knowing when we engage the rod actions. These habits are hard to break.

In reality, there are waves too. It’s important to play the music with the waves. You can lift as the wave brings you up, and fall as the wave brings you down, to maximize the actions. Or you can do it in a opposite way.

When you feel like you are playing a nice tune, you are likely to get contacts.
Try to be in sync with the ocean. Pay attention to what you feel from the line. Be spontaneous. Be playful and different in every runs.
The bottom line is, you never know what triggers the fish to react. There’s no right or wrong. One thing worked yesterday, and it may not work today. But as long as you are aware of what you are doing, you will find the tune.
The more aware you are, the more fun you have out there.

Hope the information helps you! Good luck!