Matt Hewetson examines the technique of slow pitch jigging and what species it works well on.
Springtime had arrived and the workup fishing from Bream Bay into the Gulf was firing up and I was keen to get out and make the most of the red-hot fishing. I hadn’t been out much in winter and needed to make up for lost time testing new tackle. The plan was to meet up with mate Brian Snooks at Mangawhai and Graeme Paterson was going to join us to get amongst the action.
Graeme is the co-founder of Synit Rods which will be familiar to many Kiwi fishermen. Being an avid jigging angler, he looked overseas to see what the Asian fishing experts were doing and was often ahead of the trends here in Godzone. Graeme is a bit of a nutty tackle professor in my opinion, but he is very good at picking up on what style of fishing would work well here on our species. It was several years ago when he first told me about slow pitch jigging and why it is a good example of taking an overseas technique and targeting snapper and other species here. He built a few Synit slow pitch rods which are needed to work these different lures that flutter and jink sideways, flashing when on the drop or lifted by the angler working them. We caught a lot of good fish back then using them and the benefit of using slow pitch jigs is they are ideal for deeper water.
So, you can fish jigs down over reefs, sign found on the bottom or when fishing work-ups. Snapper are the main target but trevally, gurnard, and kingfish will happily take them. You also often pick up other odd reef species like pink maomao or cod too.
SLOW PITCH JIGS
Stuart Marshall who is based in Tauranga and is a keen slow pitch jigger, gets to travel overseas for his job a lot and spent a lot of time checking out the Asian fishing stores on his travels. He started bringing back slow pitch lures and rods to use in the Bay and discovered how good this style of fishing is on catching a wide range of species. Stuart decided to bring in tackle and set up Snapperhead.co.nz where Kiwis can buy jigs, rods, and tackle to get you into slow pitch jigging. Stuart provided me with several of the jigs with Decoy assist hooks to rig and head out and try over spring and we had great success fishing with them off Mangawhai. Below are the jigs we fished and how best to use them:
The Kouryoumaru Banana jigs are hand-made in Japan and available in limited runs. This jig was designed by Captain Yoshihiro Iwasaki, a famous charter boat operator from the far West of Kyushu Island, Japan. After years of product development and testing the Banana Jig was born. The jig is designed for maximum flutter when on the fall. It responds well to small jerks or a long pitch and fall. The MiniBanana will swim on the lift and even has significant action when just reeling back in. This is a true ‘hybrid jig’ that can be slow pitched, or speed jigged by the angler. Available in 80/100/130/150gm weights.
Tana Aiya Jig
The Tana Aiya jig is another hand-made Japanese jig which has a beautiful paint finish and with the addition of a cool baitfish hologram, it has appeal on all three sides of the jig. The compact size and centre weight keel creates a long and slow fluttering fall. Being small and compact the jig falls quickly when on the drop, so is well suited to deeper water and moderate current. We fished with a 100gm jig in 40-50m of water off Mangawhai and it caught a lot of snapper under the work-ups. We also had quite a few double hook-ups with Decoy assist hooks on both ends of the jig, so the fish were obviously fighting over it! The Tana Aiya is a fantastic jig for targeting bottom fish, but also with the slow flutter fall when pitched is great for mid-water and under work-ups.
Available in 60-155gm.
Sea Falcon Z Slide Jig
The Z Slide jig is designed to mimic a frantic, fleeing baitfish. Its asymmetrical shape gives different results depending on how you move your rod. Short rod jerks create small, enticing movements, while long, wide sweeping movements are created by long rod jerks. The Z Slide can be effectively fished as both a slow-pitch jig and a high-pitch jig, it works well in slow currents and its centre balance creates horizontal fall allowing the angler to target bottom species like snapper and mid-water schooling fish. Available in several colour options and 60-150gm weights.