Slow Pitch rod actions on the clock
Hold the rod end under your elbow
Holding the rod butt under your elbow enables you to use different rod actions in a wide range. Many conventional jigging anglers hold the rod under the armpit. You can put on a lot of power and/or speed in each stokes this way, but the range of motion would be limited.
It may take a while to get used to holding the rod under your elbow since the rod can slip away easily, but it’s really not that difficult. It’s really worth to practice this because it will open the easy access to all the range of rod actions that slow pitch can offer to you.
Hold the rod and tilt a little inward from the extension of your forearm. If you hold the rod with your left hand, tilt the rod a little toward your right.
You will feel the rod butt under your meaty part of your forearm, not directly under the bony elbow.
Think of it as a leverage. Your elbow is the point of lever. Your hand is the fulcrum. The rod tip is the point of action.
When you lift, you rotate your shoulder to push down the rod butt by your elbow. You flex your elbow a little to get the leverage, but not much. Use your shoulder. Many people try to use their arms. They like to fix the elbow and shoulder and one place, and try to flex and extend to move the rods, a triceps workout. You will burn out your upper arm pretty soon.
You should use bigger muscles around your shoulder and upper back. Shoulder is the center of action. Your elbow has constant contact on the rod. Elbow flexion is just a supplementary move. Let the big muscles in your back do the work.
Rod actions on the clock
Now you have a full range of motion.
In order to understand the different rod actions, I suggest to map your action on the clock.
Your elbow is the center of the clock. Directly above is 12 o’clock. Below is 6 o’clock. Toward the horizon is 3 o’clock.
Demonstrated below is a rod action, up to 2 o’clock, down to 4 o’clock.
Medium stroke is about 2-hour to 4-hour range with 3 o’clock in the center.
You can change the stroke range. It can be 0.5-hour range. Or it can be 6-hour range.
Also, at what o’clock you have the stroke range makes different jig movements.
You can have the top of the lift at 4 o’clock. The rod doesn’t bend much, so less spring-back. The jig does not get whipped much, so it’s likely to fall tail first with little hangtime. It leads to soft actions.
You can have the lift top at 1 o’clock. The rod bends deep and springs back strong. The jig gets whipped more, therefore, more hangtime and starts falling on its belly. It leads to more energetic actions.
Sometimes you can have heavy water situation. Use upper angle like this. If it’s not enough, use more motion-range like 3-hour or 4-hour.
You can bring up all the way to 12 o’clock too. The rod spring back is the strongest. If the rod tip behavior is not stable, you are doing it too fast. It’s a stress for the rod to point to the opposite direction of the line. You want to do it slowly.
Now let’s take a look at it in the real field. See different stroke ranges in different hours.
(In order to show the clock, I have flipped the movie horizontally.)
The jig movements change not only by the range of rod actions, but also by the speed and rhythm of the rod actions, the reeling speed, timing, acceleration and how much handle turn, and whether or not you give a little tension to the fall or free-fall.
But rod action is a big part of it and I think it’s important that you are conscious of this physics.
Hope the information helps you! Good luck!
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