Blue Skies with a hint of Yellow - Slow Pitch Jigging day

Tuesday Jan 3rd I got a text about scouting some new spots on the upcoming Saturday. Saturday was a full moon, so we talked and had our concerns, but for us that starts the every morning routine of checking the weather!

By Friday we were a go! Calling for 1’ we set out of Pensacola, FL just before sunrise on Chris’s Sportsman 302 loaded with ice, jigs, and bait for the guys that are still learning if the Jig system is right for them. Crew: Christopher Gomez, Brandon Semsick, Mr. Jim, Justin Lombardo, and myself. We knew we had productive numbers to the west but our goal for this year was to find new grounds even if it means we go home empty handed! Luckily this day was not that day!

We put some coordinates in and headed South for a 45 mile run to 750’. A couple miles before we got to the destination I noticed that we were less than a mile from a location I’ve been wanting to drop for 6 months, but never got that close. Brandon turned the boat and we set up to check it out. It was 700’ slick calm and clear skies! Brandon wanted to give me the first drop on the number, so I sent down a 340g Stryke with 7/0 singles that I tied up the day before.

After 3-4 minutes of jigging I go to slowly lift that 740’ of line to the jig and it’s not so easy- I was buttoned up to a nice fish! This was shortly after Jim said “we just want to know if those jigs catch big fish”. After a few big head shakes and a few hundred feet I noticed the fish floating up as I’m slowly reeling to maintain consistent pressure. I was stoked, but calm and focused. Finally we saw color….along with a cloud of bubbles! The celebration begins as we gaff the 21.22lb Yellow Edge followed by high fives and a couple 'thank you’s to the whole crew. This was a special catch for me: finding the fish, using my own assist hooks, and catching it with some great guys. My day was made and anything after was the cherry on top!

We reset the drift and 2 electric squid rigs went down on the back and I was jigging up front. Current is not a factor and the tide is neap. Nothing else after 2 quick drift so we moved on. Now to another number I had nearby in 750’. This time everyone drops 😂 As we crossed the number Jim gets tight in the back and I could hardly hear them, but I heard a “that’s a good fish”. I kept jigging and the moment Jim’s nice 12-15lb Yellow edge hits the surface I got thumped! As I’m following my jig down with the rod the line stops short of where I expected. I started reeling fast to get the scope out and I was tight with another nice fish. After 750’ we saw the bubbles about 20’ from the boat and it turned out to be another nice Yellow edge! Again, on the 340g Stryke, which just felt right on the rod in that depth.

We stayed in 600-800’ the rest of the day picking up Scorpion fish, several small size Golden tile, Wenchman, etc. As we began to work our way back Brandon took us to his known Snowy spot. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect, but had a few nice thumps…Next time! All in all we got what we came for and everyone had a great day. I have a feeling I won’t be the only jigger on Chris’s boat next trip.


-Ryan Smith