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
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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