Slow Pitching the Japanese Way with @thebrooklynfisherman

Designed and perfected by the Japanese, slow pitch jigging has redefined bottom fishing. I think we all can remember using heavy gear bouncing lead off the bottom which is super tiring and not that fun in all honesty. Now enter slow pitch jigging where thin, noodle-like rods and baitcasting reels are the norm. As wacky as this may sound it is deadly. It just catches fish especially when nothing else seems to be working. If you haven’t already heard about this fast growing fishing style then here is an overview.

My friend had just passed over this larger weakfish with his bucktail and squid which did not fool it into eating but my slow pitch jig sure did! He ended up with the smaller one at the back of the rip.

 

Bluefish will eat just about anything, though they can get finicky sometimes. This session was a perfect example of that where all the boats around me weren’t pulling any on their diamond jigs but the slow pitch was getting hit on every drop.

First of all how does slow pitch jigging even work and what gear do I recommend? Let’s start with the rod. As I said earlier the rods are almost like noodles. They have an extremely slow and parabolic action which imparts movement on the jig. When the rod is loaded it bends deeply. Once that energy is released it springs the jig up and to the side then it flutters back down and the process repeats itself. The action created can look like a fleeing or dying baitfish. To load the rod you can either lift it, take a crank on the handle or a combination of both. Again these rods are super soft so it doesn’t take much force to get them to bend. As for the reel, a baitcaster or light conventional reel should work perfectly as long as it has a pretty high gear ratio. Remember, the goal is to keep things as light as possible. Now onto the best part of the slow pitch jigging set up, the JIGS!!! Just like the rod, the jigs are specialized as well. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes with all sorts of different actions. As wide of a variety as there is my go to has always been a simple fluttering jig that has a semi flat back with a keeled v shaped belly. For sizing, my smallest jigs are 60 grams and the largest I use are 150 grams but for the most part I use 90 and 120 gram jigs. Color is pretty straightforward and simple as well. I use either natural colors or super bright obnoxious patterns with glow. My favorite has to be a simple silver with glow. Finally let’s take a look at the line. It might not sound too important but to impart the correct action on the jig a thin and light line is a must. Personally I use 8 pound test braid which has been perfect for me. Then I connect that to a 4 foot section of 30 pound fluorocarbon. Though, that setup is used for bottom fish like blackfish, porgies and weakfish but for larger species like bluefish and striped bass I’d recommend going heavier to something like 20 pound braid. Just remember the lighter you go on the braid the lighter your jig can be and you’ll be able to feel more.

 

Gear Recommendations

Entry level Rod and Reel

Higher End Rod and Reel

Jigs

Line and Leader

 

We’ve gone over gear now let’s look at when and where to use this style. It is really straight forward! Whenever you need to use a vertical presentation to get to the fish use slow pitch jigging. I have jigged on deep reefs in 200 feet of water for hake and sea bass as well as shallow shoals in 30 feet for blues and weakfish. Private boats are a great platform to fish off as well as head boats which have become super popular in Florida. For me though I prefer a kayak. It might sound kind of odd but it has its advantages. My first reason is drift speed. One of the key components of slow pitch jigging is keeping a vertical presentation. The jig won’t have an enticing action if there is a lot of scope out so having a pedal/motorized kayak like an Old Town PDL or AutoPilot can help catch up to the jig or slow yourself down in current. My second reason is stealth and yes this matters even when fishing in 100 feet of water. Engine sounds travel very far through the water so moving your engine in and out of gear can spook certain species such as weakfish.

Hopefully this has convinced you to try slow pitch jigging if you haven’t yet or maybe even try it from a kayak. It is highly addictive and if you do it right I guarantee you that you will catch a lot more fish. There is no better feeling than pulling up almost double digit blackfish and gator sized weakfish in front of a million other boats that aren’t catching a thing. This was a very brief write up so if you are interested go check out some of the links below like Japanese Anglers Secrets or reach out to me on Instagram @thebrooklynfisherman or via email at thebrooklynfisherman@gmail.com. Stay tight guys!


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