We left the inlet a little before 4am and settled in for the 4 and half hour trek. It didn't take me long to figure out why people brought sleeping bags and neck pillows. The prime spots around the tables (booths) were taken up quick and before we knew it, guys were setting up to lay on the floor. I squeezed into a small spot on a bench, sat down and passed out for a couple hours. When I woke up the boat was headed straight for the rising sun, guys were snoring, mates were getting equipment ready, and I was thinking a neck pillow would have been a good idea. Upon venturing to the upper deck I realized there was a lot more room up there. A few guys had the right idea and set up camp up there in the open air. One guy was even smart enough to bring a reclining camp chair.
After the long awaited approval from the captain, I finally released my Lucanus jig into the dark abyss. The first drop was into 300 feet and it seemed to take an eternity to reach the bottom.
But when it finally did, it only took 2 slow cranks and I was hooked up.
|Keeper Black Sea Bass|
The jig worked great for most of the morning. The long ascent didn't bother me with the lighter equipment. I also tried what every one else was using... the double dropper rigs with squid. I quickly realized that I liked working the jig much better. The standard sinker for the boat was a whopping 24 ounces. That's a pound and a half of lead. Do you remember me mentioning car batteries in the beginning of the post? Yeah... a bunch of guys had electric reels. Some of them even made a little bracket that they attached to the rod so as soon as they hooked up, they would brace the rod on the rail using the bracket, then push the button on their electric reel and stand there. I guess to some people that's what "fishing" means to them. It's a little different for me, but to each their own.
|Leroy with a decent little Blueline Tilefish|
|John the pirate first mate with one of my Sea Bass|
We ended up going to about 650 feet. As you can imagine, the drop wore on my patience and reeling up was grueling. I guess one of the fun parts of the this type of fishing is that you never know what you're going to find down there. Any one of those drops is potential for a true monster of the depths. Giant grouper, sharks, who knows... I caught something I never seen before and had to ask the specie name...
Little thing turned out to be quite delicious
A veteran fishing just a few feet from me caught the biggest of the day.
|Big ol' Tilefish|
|Almost back to Rudee|
Big thank you goes out to Pirates of Lynnhaven who put the gift certificate up as a tournament prize last year. Here's the link to the day I won it. This trip was a great chance for me to peek into a totally different side of fishing that I otherwise would have never tried.