Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Leader for Slow pitch jigging


Why do we need Leader for slow pitch jigging?

You will always see fluorocarbon leader used in any fishing set up. But why? I have seen many anglers use very thick leaders assuming that a thick leader is guaranteed to land a fish.

When fish starts running the sudden impacts are passed to the line system. PE lines are designed not to stretch. So, any heavy sudden impacts could snap the line. When a fluorocarbon is added they stretch and absorb such shocks. This is the primary function of leader.

When we slow pitch jig it usually over 50m depth. We use PE braid 1 PE to 2.5 PE. I do not use more than 2 PE. Thinner the PE more strike rate. I like to have more contacts. Strength of PE 2 is about 35 pounds. 

The places we jig are usually where there is structure on the sea floor. When fish takes the bait most fishes run towards to rocks. Game fishes like Amberjack or Groupers straight dive to the rocks. Big fishes can overpower our tackle and may be impossible to stop them from running. When we use PE braid alone, they may contact the rocks and snap. PE are weak when they rub or have friction with some surface. It is therefore essential have some something which can take the frictions against the rocks Fluorocarbons are so advanced that they are so flexible and strong against friction. So, they are preferred to be used at the end of the PE braid to protect the PE from contacting rocks. Also, when we end the fight, the fishes go underneath boat causing friction to the PE. PE prevents PE touching the boat during such situations also.

What is the strength of leader required for slow pitch jigging? 

Say we are using a 2 PE and the strength is 35 pounds. The leader should have strength more than the PE. Does It matter how much more if your PE strength is lower? i.e., whether you have 40 pounds leader, or 60 pounds leader does not matter as the line strength is 35 pounds only.  Any load more than 35 pounds the PE is going to break. Also, if you have a thicker leader the flexibility will be lesser, and the jigs will move with less freedom. I generally use 40-pound leader for 2 PE line. Anything more is not required and will gradually reduce the contact rate.

What should be the length of the leader for slow pitch jigging? 

Because purpose of the PE is to prevent shock and friction length should be sufficient to prevent them. To absorb shock at least 2 meters. To prevent rock depending on tr=target fish length must be decided. I fish in area where Amber jack is the target. Any fish over 10 kgs takes at least 20 meters line before it starts responding for reeling. At the least 5-meter leader is required if you are targeting such fish which run to the rock. During any day where the fish activity is low, and you are not getting any strike then reduce the leader length to 2 meters to have more contact rate.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Five reason to use overhead reel for slow pitch jigging

Slow pitch jigging is a technique requires great understanding to choose the setup. I found upgrading to and overhead reel is the best decision. Below five reasons are a benefit of using it.

1. Snagging: when we drop a jig with assist hooks both on top and bottom, we get snagged. The jig is heavy, and it touches the ground first. Hooks are lighter so they have a lag in touching the ground. We need to lift the jig before the hooks touch the ground. In an overhead reel you can feel it immediately when the jig touches ground than a spinning reel. This sensitivity is the biggest advantage.

2. Fighting: the slow pitch jigging rod are special rods with spring action tips. They are meant to flip or pitch the jigs. They are not to be used for fighting fish. The reel is used to fight fish. In fact, when you use the reel you walk the fish calmly. Point down fighting is convenient on an overhead reel because PE line is wound in the same direction. In spinning reel because the line is wound perpendicular high torque is required on the handle. To reduce the torque, we need to pull the rod to create a slack to start the rotation. Here the rod and fish go to stress. Also, we use light line during deep jigging. We cannot apply too much force to pull the fish when we fight with the rod.

3. Fish on the fall: Many times, we can get the fish on the fall. Sometimes I have a got a fish just in 30 meters when the total depth is 200m. when you use an overhead reel you can feel the jig eaten immediately. Say on Ocea jigger you just need to wind the reel to set the hooks. On a spinning reel it is difficult to make out if the fish has taken you your jig. Again, this sensitivity will increase the catch rate. It is heart breaking to lose any fish after it takes the jig.

4. Line capacity: slow pitch jigging uses light line and drag. So, when we get big fish, we need to slowly fight the fish. large fish may take much line. We need to have good line capacity to let the fish run until it is tired.

5. Higher gear ratio: overhead reels have high gear ratio which allows to retrieve line at a higher rate than a spinning reel. Gear ratio is how many times the reel rotates for once rotation of handle.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Trip to Khasab, Musandam targeting Giant Trevally


I accepted this trip on short notice and was excited as this was my first trip to Khasab, Musandam targeting Giant Trevally. I had bought a Ripple fisher Aquila rod 82 2/4 for light games as in Musandam. I had bought few poppers, and some 160 grams jigs as the field depth was less than 100m.

We were three anglers. There was plenty of space to cast. We were casting for first two hours. One of the anglers got on to a GT. It gave some hope for us. We were casting for some time. The captain suggested we start jigging as there was no top water activity.  By then I had a missed strike.

We changed location and started jigging. The depth was 60 meters. Suddenly I felt the line light and then the reel started screaming. Wow, what feeling when you here such a scream. We immediately knew it was a GT. Being the first one I wanted to Land it safely. I was holding and started to reel in slowly. It was fighting from right from the bottom and all the way up. When landed it I was so happy. I was always thinking GT means popping and a top water game. Slow pitch jigging can get any fish throughout the water column. All GT’s were released back to the sea after few clicks. It was a pleasure to see them dive into the waters and swim away

I went on to hook 4 GT’s. Then we changed location and were jigging at 30m depth. Understood that it was not a great feeling to jig there. Could feel that jig was dropping too soon. But I did get some Sheri’s. we continued to change location and got a red grouper which I released promptly.  Got a Naiser, spotted snapper. So colorful the fish was I released it after a picture.

While lifting one of the sherry the capt used the rod and the tip broke. Unfortunately, it was Poseidon 603-3 and expensive rod. I have it for repair, probably the tip will be shortened. It may now be called 603-4 😊

 Overall, a satisfied trip and learning to handle slow pitch jigging rods. Thanks to the sea.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Amberjack on slow pitch jigging Fishing trip 04 June 2023


We were six anglers and started at 0530 with Capt. Ali Naqbi the “shark master”. The forecast was low wind. We were looking forward to a very hot and humid day. We first hit an inshore spot and had plans to move to a long tail tuna spot which had some top water activity the previous day.

First strike was a Barracuda to a fellow boat man. I got snagged to reef. Usually, I quickly reel up 3 rotations as soon I touch the bottom. I don’t realize how I got snagged. I could feel the jig on the other end indication probably it was due to the lower assist hooks. The captain had warned not to use the lower assist hooks. While I was setting up my gear, the captain’s reel drag was screaming indicating an amber jack.

Initially I was using a seafloor control arc and I was not getting any strike. I changed to Deepliner spy. On the same drop hit an amber jack decent size. There was a slight current. So, I used a high pitch jerker and gave punchy lifts. clearly spy floated much longer than any other jig. I believe that is the advantage of spy. It gives more time for the fish to bite. But if we do not use heavier and or high current or drift condition vertical jigging may be difficult

Later we started moving towards the tuna spots. We stopped at two locations in between but did not find anything. When we reached the spot, we could see dolphins everywhere. Looked like it was a dolphin home. They were just playing around. No serious movement. So, we thought maybe they are not chasing them and started waiting for some activity. After a long wait we decided we should do something else. However, the depth there was over 400 meters. We were discussing how to jig at that depth and what kind of fish would be available and then I decided to drop the jig. With no top water activity seen that was the best time to explore such depths. I dropped Seafloor control SL 700gms. It took a long time to reach down. It was like pulling a very hard rubber band. I was trying one rotation retrieval but could not feel the jig. Line slack was too much. I did two rotations retrieving and jigging and tried three drops. With no action decided to wind up as we drifted more.


Again, after some time we were at a location with 325 meters (1000 feet) depth. I decided to drop. While jigging 20 meters from the bottom I had a strike. It was hard to reel then. I continued reeling after about hundred meters reeling was hard, but the fish did not fight on pull the line. I believe it is due to the weight of the jig and should be a small fish. I kept reeling while my forearm was cramping. Finally, I was surprised with an EEL. None of the anglers wanted the EEL in the boat. Captain unhooked the Eel just outside the boat.


After few hours of waiting, we decided to head back home and stopped in a few places and got nothing. When we jigged in the same location where we got the amberjacks captain got a strike and missed. Barracuda took my jig again. While I was making my line Capt. got his third Amberjack. Someone got a bonito and few other fishes. I hooked up a barracuda and safely landed. When it was the last drop, I hooked on to a long tail tuna. Once it reached the boat it started running. Took a few minutes to land it.

It was great day at the ocean. It was a blessing.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

How to set drag on fishing reel using Bouz drag checker


I was preparing for my fishing trip. I usually setup my gear before the trip fully. I thought I would record how I set up my gear and share with you. You can see above video for demonstration.

My reel is  Ocea jigger 2000NRHG. I have wound Sunline PE jigger Ultimate. 2 PE. There is about 600 meters line on this reel. Although the maximum drag, we can set on a Ocea jigger 2000 is 10 Kgs we cannot put max drag on it. We have set roughly 30 to 35 % of the line strength as drag.


This is Sunline PE jigger ultimate. You can see the line strength for 2 PE is 35 pounds or 15 kgs. 35 % is about 5 kgs drag. so, the max drag I will use is 5kg  set on the reel. However, when fighting the fish if the fish runs, I will thumb the line to slightly increase the drag. Thumbing should be smooth and gradually sudden impacts can snap the line.


This is Bouz drag checker. There are four variants of drag check. They 1 kg, 3 kg 5 kg and 15 kgs. I have 5 kgs and 15 kgs. For 2 PE I will use the red one to set 5 kgs drag. the white needle indicates the drag. the black needle moves the white needle during the drag check. You need to reset this to zero every time you use it. The graduation on this 1 kg starting from 3 kgs to 15 kgs. The blue one has graduation from .3 kg to 5 kgs.

 Now let’s see how we set the drag. you need to place the drag checker between the reel and first guide. Place the leader in between these three poles. Keep the drag checker in parallel to the rod and line. Pull the line. You will see the indicator moving to drag in the reel.


Now I have loosened the drag to gradually set the drag to required range.  Keep increasing the drag gradually like 2 notches as you reach the desired drag level.

As you start getting the feel of the drag level for each setting you may not require using the drag checker. But I want to be sure, so I use them every time. Since I started using them, I haven’t got line snapped and I am able to land fish most of the times.

Fishing trip to Ras al Khaimah on 23rd June

  On Wednesday Captain Aziz put a message that he is doing a sharing trip on Sunday. It was a full moon day. I immediately put my name in – ...