Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

I love the idea of these “technical” slow jigs for surf fishing, but when it’s blowing I’m struggling with them

They just make so much sense to me - a metal lure that casts great, and then due to some clever materials and designs, you can sink and draw them and cover a lot of water more methodically than simply whacking a metal out into the surf and cranking it back. Some of these slow jigs look so damn good and I am fascinated about how they might work for us from the shore in specific conditions or over certain terrains, but where I love the idea of them so much is in the surf - and I’m struggling…………...


Now this is not in any way a criticism of these slow jigs, rather I think it’s me having made a simple mistake about where I should be using them. Of course a decent jig or metal can cope with the rough and tumble of a crashing surf, but it’s when that wind is blowing, that’s when I am struggling to fish these things how they are meant to be fished - look around on YouTube at some of the instructional videos on these lures and there is something that I keep noticing………………....

The Japanese anglers don’t seem to be using these slow jigs designed for shore fishing in much wind. I bought a few of the stunning looking Zetz slow jigs last year and I got frightfully excited about hurling them out into some surf and being able to work the kill zone as such that bit more deliberately than simply winding a regular metal through it. The more I learn about my local surf fishing though, the more I am realising how it’s a certain shape and type of surf that seems to produce the better fishing. If straight out to sea is 12 o’clock then I am now looking for an onshore wind around the 10 to 12 o’clock direction. It’s more of a wind-driven, choppy surf with shorter swell periods, rather than what the surfers I believe tend to want - big swell, offshore winds, and longer swell periods.


And it’s that nearly side on around to an in your face wind which needs to be blowing say a force 4-5+ that then seems to kill me for the slow jigs. For sure I have a bunch of ideas about where they might work for me this year, but when it’s windy and that wind now creates a big belly in your braid, well to me all “feel” and “direct contact” has now as good as gone, and for a style of lure fishing that is all about maintaining that direct contact with your slow jig as you control its descent through the water column? Unless I am doing something very wrong then slow jigging from the shore is not the ideal method to adopt when you’ve got a decent bit of breeze putting a belly in your braid.


Which of course doesn’t really matter when you can simply whack a simple metal out and catch bass on it by doing nothing more than wind it back in, and so on and so forth with various lures and techniques. But I do like how these slow jigs are designed to work and I have various plans and ideas for where I might use them this year - deeper estuaries and rock marks for starters, and then it must go without saying that they’d be deadly for pollack and so on. I wonder how much we might have to learn about these lures and how we can use them for our shore fishing? It seems to me that it’s boat fishing where these slow jigs are frigging deadly and more established, but surely on the shore fishing front they could be lethal in the right conditions?

And wouldn’t it be handy if a bunch more Japanese lure companies put at least some basic English translations on their videos? I give a lot of credit to the Japanese company Palms for providing English translations on some of their YouTube videos, and the nice people at Lure Heaven do a heap of specialist jigging rods from Palms and slow jigs from the likes of Zetz and Duo here in the UK. Also keep an eye on the ever-growing range of Major Craft metals and jigs here in the UK, together with a bunch of rods designed to fish them.

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