Even though staying vertical with the jig is an essential factor for slow pitch jigging, I understand it’s difficult to find in many places around the world. Especially when you don’t have a boat and charter a free-drifting fishing boat. Even if you have a boat with sea-anchor, sometimes the combination of wind and current makes it very hard to stay vertical.

Here are some tips for fishing on a free-drifting boat.

Use heavier jig

The jig weight can pull down the line and reduce the line slack. Sometimes you may have to use the jig weight from 180g to 300g to fish at 80m deep. You should use different jig weights and choose what seems to be best. It’s the balance among the jig weight, the drift and the rod mainly. Finding a good balance is so important. I can say whoever finds the best balance will get the most fish.

Use appropriate jigs


Some jigs are fast to fall and some are slow. Basically all the slow pitch jigs are slow to fall because it’s center-balanced and that is why SPJ is so effective. But when you are free-drifting, you are being pushed away from the jig, you want the jig to drop to the bottom as fast as possible. Also during the action, if the jig doesn’t fall fast, your drift may by lifting the jig more than its falling.
In Seafloor Control jigs, avoid Rector as it is the slowest in falls. Use Rector only when the condition is very friendly. Spunky and Arc are always good choice in free-drifting. Other semi-long jigs would work well too.

Use light line

The heavier the line is, the more water it catches.
I would recommend PE1.5, no heavier than PE2.0 for normal slow pitch approach from a free-drifting. If you want to use heavier line, you should be ready to switch to fast retrieve tactic. High-speed jigging does take out the line slack and move the jig at least.

Rod actions


It depends on the wind and the current, but free-drifting usually doesn’t stay vertical with the jig. The line catches a lot of current, and the boat catches a lot of wind. The line goes diagonally into the water as shown in the picture.

There is a lot of line slack in the water. You don’t have direct control of the jig. All your small actions will be canceled by the water. You want to make big actions, as big as possible, so that you can move the jig somehow down below, and the hydrodynamics makes it perform movements and attract fish.

You want to jerk your rod sideways, like “A” in the picture, in a extension of the straight line of your line in the water. If you jerk your rod upward like “B”, the line you actually move is less. And you want to bring your rod down to point to the line in the water for the maximum fall actions. You can’t expect your slow pitch rod to kick back against all the water pulling down your line, so the falling is your only chance.

Watch closely the movement of the line when you bring down the rod and untension the line. Is your jig falling? Or is the water just pushing away your line? If you see that the line is influenced by the water, not by the jig, you may want to switch to a heavier jig.

The line slack gets longer and longer as the times passes, from certain point, you will lose the control of jig movements. You need to retrieve to take out the line slack. For the time your line is tensioned, the jig is following the boat. When you lose tension, the jig may be falling if there’s less line slack, or the jig may be hanging and lifting if there’s too much line slack. After some experience you should be able to tell the difference. But anyway, you can retrieve 2 or 3 cranks at the end of the fall and swing up the rod big. You need make falls to get a bite, but if you make too much falls, it would stop falling… Do you understand my logic??? But really, this is what you are supposed to be trying to find a place to play actions within this narrow margin.

Long fall jigging rod usually doesn’t have advantages in this case. Because it’s long, a lot of times it’s hard to jerk sideways on the boat. Because it’s long, it bends deeper and can’t kick back against the water pulling down the line. You can’t make big actions after all.

Hope the information helps you! Good luck!