Florida Keys Deep Drop Fishing

    Modern fishing techniques such as trolling, chumming and even conventional bottom fishing
    barely scratch the ocean’s surface. Deep-drop fishing has been a loosely kept secret among
    a few private-boat fishermen willing to invest in the electric reels required to do it. Recent
    entries to the marketplace such as the XL Series Krystal Fishing Reels have helped bring
    these fishing tools within reach of a wider range of anglers, and interest in deep-drop fishing
    has been growing as a result.

    Deep-drop fishing is like exploring a new frontier, and frequently requires a field guide to help
    identify the fish you dredge up. Numerous species of snapper and grouper, plus other, more
    exotic fish, are caught via this simple technique. The challenge of locating productive structure
    and the reward of fine dining that accompanies a few hours of successful fishing are other
    attractions.

    The first step is investing in a quality 12-volt electric reel. Reels should be chosen to
    accommodate the maximum water depth you plan to fish. Kristal’s smallest model, the
    XL601, can be loaded with 80- or 100-pound super-braid line. It is a fine choice for everything
    from wreck fishing for cod and sea bass in the Northeast to targeting rockfish off the West
    Coast, or anywhere water depth rarely exceeds 500 feet and the fish generally don’t weigh
    more than 50 or 60 pounds.

    The smaller XL Series Krystal Fishing Reels easily mount on a stand-up rod and can be held
    during operation. For fishing off the east coast of Florida or along the reef drop-offs in the
    Bahamas, the larger XL621 and XL651 are a good choice, as they offer additional line
    capacity, more powerful motors and faster retrieve rates.

    How To Get The Fish...

    The most productive and easiest-to-obtain deep-drop bait is squid, and it catches just about
    everything. Pick up a couple boxes and cut the squid into small pieces. You don’t have to cover
    the hook; just have something edible hanging off it. You can also use chunks of most any fish,
    even pieces from the racks of the ones you cleaned the day before. Barracuda also makes an
    excellent bait, as do mackerel and sardines.

    And since light penetration at extreme depths is at a minimum, flashing strobes are clipped to
    the rig to provide some additional fish-attracting capability. The captains I’ve talked to have a
    little saying that goes, “No lights, no bites!”

    Bottom fish are attracted to structure, whether natural or manmade. If you picture the ocean
    bottom as a flat, open plane, structure is anything that breaks up the continuity, and finding
    these anomalies makes deep-drop fishing a breeze. Two common pieces of electronics that
    will make the job easier are a chart plotter and a powerful, high-quality depthsounder. These
    are your eyes into the underwater world.

    Once you’ve located a likely spot, position the boat directly over it and mark the location on
    your plotter. Drop the screen size down to 1/8 mile and determine which direction the wind
    and current will push the boat. Move back over the structure and position the stern so it’s
    facing against the direction of the drift and use the engine(s) to hold your position. The goal is
    to keep your lines as close to vertical as possible. Keep the weight just touching the bottom
    and the line taut, and you will be surprised by how easy it is to detect a bite. Snapper will
    usually make the rod tip dance, while grouper will simply pull it down and keep it down. With
    smaller bottom species, don’t be too quick to bring them to the surface. After the initial hook-
    up, lower the rig back down to try for two or three more fish, depending on how many hooks
    you have on the rig.

    For Captain Dave's deep drop fishing facts click here.
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