TECHNIQUES FOR SLOW PITCHING
Alistair Arkel explains the technical fine points of slow pitch jigging, as well as when and where he prefers to use this style of jig when targeting snapper and kingfish.
Slow pitch jigs are an essential piece of an angler’s tackle, and on any given day they can outperform any other lure by 2 to 1 catching more and bigger fish. Kingfish are suckers for a well-presented slow jig, and often you can be jigging away with the traditional fast mechanical jig method and not even get a sniff, despite the big red marks on the sounder. Yet switch to a slow pitch jig, and it can be like flicking a switch, with kingfish inhaling them with only a few turns of the reel.
I think where a lot of anglers struggle with slow pitch is in the delivery. Slow pitch means a slow lift of the rod. Start with the rod at 45 degree’s pointing straight at the water and then quite slowly lift the rod to 160 degrees – the trick is to have a rod with a fast black recovery – and then drop the rod quickly, to allow the jig to flutter with no restriction and while you are doing that give the reel to full winds. Then repeat this process over and over through the zone the fish are holding in – which might only be a 10-metre stretch of water and then drop the jig back down and start again. Only use a jig as heavy as you need, though sometimes the bigger the jig, the bigger the fish. You can only go wrong with slow pitch and your style of action if you do it fast. Keep it nice and quiet to avoid the jig spinning.
In shallower waters of 15-25 metres is where the lighter Berkley Skid Jigs come into their own and often with these light jigs, I’m prone to let the current do all the action, with just an occasional slow-twitch and wind of the reel to change depth. You would be amazed how effective a little jig is even with the rod sitting in the holder and the light jig dragging behind the boat catching the seafloor and wafting up in the current and swell. Quite often, this a deadly method that catches more fish than an angler holding a rod and working the jig.
Berkley have produced some absolute peaches for the NZ fishery that are perfect for kingfish and snapper. With a stunning array of colours that match the hatch. On the drop, the Skid Jig has a wide sweeping action that skids to the side and then falls.
Like any style of lure fishing, you need sharp hooks and Berkley have paired the Skid Jigs up with lethal Owner JF-22 hooks for a picture-perfect hook-up rate every time.
Often in workup fishing, we prefer to run a Skid Jig over the more popular Kachi Kachi Dama sliding lures. Not because I think I will catch more fish, but because it is a more technical way of fishing and often you end up with the bigger fish as well. Notwithstanding you usually only need the one lure for the day!