Even though staying vertical with the jig is an essential factor for slow pitch jigging, I understand it’s hardly available 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. Something from 180g to 300g would probably make it possible to fish at 50m deep. You should pay attention and choose the jig weight according to the amount of water influence which is constantly changing.
- USE APPROPRIATE JIG
Some jigs are fast to fall and some are slow. Basically all the slow pitch jigs are slow to fall as slow fall does attract fish bites. But under a lot of water influence, the line is constantly trying to pull up the jig. You’d want the fast-falling slow pitch jigs.
In Seafloor Control jigs, Spunky and Cranky are the first choice. If you want over 300g range, Gawky has it. But not Rector, which is so versatile and effective, but is too slow to fall.
- USE LIGHT LINE
The heavier the line is, the more water it catches.
I would recommend PE1.0 or 1.2, at least PE1.5 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. Hi-speed jigging does take out the line slack and move the jig at least.
- ROD ACTION
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 it the water 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.
You don’t want to retrieve much during this action. Even if you don’t reel at all, with the wind pushing the boat and the current pulling the line, your jig is being hung and pulled upward every second. You don’t have to reel. Maybe 1/4 crank per pitch.
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.