Slow-pitch jigging, lets talk hookset..

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by lite-liner, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

    so last night I was piddling with tackle and an interesting thought came to mind.
    I have read here how delicate these spj rods are and how they're not designed to lift fish, etc.
    I have watched videos where guys are letting the fish work off the drag, maintaining a relatively low rod angle, nowhere near a high-stick condition.
    I see line choices in the 30-40# category. kinda sketchy if you're still trying to follow the 30% rule and tight to a 100# fish.
    So here's the question- How do you get a positive hookset without destroying the rod or breaking the line?
    In virtually all other techniques (circle hooks notwithstanding), the rod is used to set the hook. it is also probably the most violent action the rod will ever see, which apparently the SPJ rods cannot handle.
    So how do YOU do it?
  2. a1flyfishr

    a1flyfishr Retired Member Supporting Member

    Not sure if I’m right but this works for me. Once I feel the hit or something different with the jig on the way down I’ll give a few turns on the reel till tight and lift the rod (not bass master style) sort of having the rod pointed towards the fish. Then a few more turns and another lift. Also SPJ hooks are usually thinner wire hooks making the penetration easier without having to put excessive pressure on the rod for a good set. Then having 4 hooks others find their way to grab on while the fish is trying to break free.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
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  3. Snaphappy

    Snaphappy Senior Member

    Four needle sharp thin wire hooks. No need to set them.
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  4. benwah22

    benwah22 Well-Known Member

    I think there's a couple of misconceptions, perhaps conflating issues a bit, in your post. Let's try to boil them down a bit.

    Generally speaking, most SPJ rods are not tools to fight the fish. This is changing slightly as technology advances with respect to the blanks. That being said, the hookset is definitely one of the most violent parts of the whole game, but that is part of what's considered when building a rod. There's a difference between a hookset mid-pitch and attempting to stop a 50lb grouper from going into the rocks in terms of pure stress that is put on the rod. The hook set puts significantly less strain on the rod than the fight.

    As I have said in the past, slow pitch is almost melodic if done correctly while pitching the jig, mixed with moments of pure violence when the fish hits. And, just like anything else with SPJ, the system is what makes it work.

    First off, the rod is like a giant shock absorber. The parabolic or semi-parabolic action from the front half of the rod takes most of the real brunt of the hookset. Quite honestly, I don't think the 15ft leader does much at all with respect to being a "shock leader" as has been marketed in the past. I think the rod absorbs most of the recoil first.

    SPJ hooks are thin wire for a reason - ease of penetration. It is much easier to set the hook on a thinner, slowly tapering hook than a big-ol 10/0 Owner Magnum assist that you would use for big AJ jigging. Thinner wire penetrates the mouth better and requires less force to do so. Think of it like this - there's a reason hypodermic needles are thin - because they penetrate super easily. Take the same medicine and administer with a thicker gauged needle, and more force is needed to penetrate. Same here.

    For purposes of the hook-set, it's should properly be done by first reeling the slack out then firmly striking to set the hook. When I set a hook you will generally see me reel quite quickly (two or three handleturns) to get out any slack and set, aggressively. Sometimes I will set the hook a few times to make sure that I'm securely hooked up on the fish, and, even then there will be times when it shakes off. That's just part of the game.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
  5. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

  6. mandaragat

    mandaragat Member

    Only once did I set the hook after a drag-pulling fish unhook itself in a previous fight. I just reel it in even when using thick-wired SJ41 7/0 or SJ38 7/0 and Kudako 3/0 and 4/0. PSFJ 603-4/5 and MOZ 624LM or lower power real SPJ rods are next to useless when setting the hook especially the latter in very deep water. I set the hook on PHPJ 504 high pitch rod. So for me, hook setting really depends on type of rod used and hook wire gauge. Line thickness may also play a little in the equation.

    Unlike speed jigging rods even the light models using SJ41 9/0 and up or Kudako 5/0 and up, they get the explosive hook-setting motion just to drive the point literally.

    Many Slow Pitch rods in name only can be used to set the hook as they are really "light jigging rods" for speed jigging with stiffer tips.
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  7. ballywho

    ballywho Well-Known Member

    for me, reel reel reel. Once bend, keep the pressure with the rod. I believe ample and fast hooksetting upward movements of the rod is pretty ineffective (in slow-jigging like other techniques BTW) and only result in pulling the hook unless it was in a really good position. Worst you can do is probably the multiple frentic GT-promo-video style hookup, which certainly works great for unsnagging the bottom or unhooking a undesirable fish, though....

    In this video you can see me try (and fail twice before succeed !) setting the hooks. Notice the first 2 times I'm only reeling as I feel a bite and try to set the hook (but can't quite feel it in the rod). Hooks are Kudakos BTW, pretty much as thick of a hook you'll ever use slow jigging.

    Then to be absolutely honnest I don't think I'm great at setting the hook. I believe best techbnique when mastered would be to reel reel reel, still, and then once line is absolutely tight and all belly gone, set the hook by contracting your arm while the rod is pointed at the fish. Japanese-style. But again, probably the best when absolutely mastered, probably the worst when done wrong so I'm happy to stick with my technique.... I also think this "Japanese" technique works best with thin hooks, whereas thicker hooks may actually take longer to enter and may be disloged before they do if using this technique, as opposed to having the rod serve as a shock absorber and actually prevent too brutal tension on the hook before it's in (which is what result in pulling the hook when trying "macho-style" hook sets using big hooks and heavy drag on hard-mouthed fish)

    In any case, i would say SPJ hookset must respect the same principle as any other hookset: TENSION IN THE LINE before any frentic movement of the rod, so reel before you move the rod, if at all. If you ever wondered why hookup rate is so much better when trolling than using reel on static boat, it's because of that.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
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  8. Drundel

    Drundel Active Member

    While I have no experience with SPJ, I did catch my first fish on a sliding kabura that uses tiny thin hooks. I read that you can't put a ton of pressure on these, so when I got my first bite, I did a small hook set and that was all that was needed. I landed 25" red snapper on it and the hook was fully seated in the lips and I set the hook softer than I do while trout fishing with tails.
  9. Kim

    Kim Senior Member

    That must have been one heck of a soft hook set!
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