Saturday, June 30, 2012

Got Line?

I wasn't sure what to expect when I pulled into the parking lot at ten minutes til three, but it quickly became apparent that I was about to get a glimpse into another subculture within the world of fishing.  There were massive coolers already in line waiting to get loaded on to the Rudee Angler.  Guys were sharing stories about the last time out and commiserating over how long the haul was going to be.  A small group of Korean men in their late 40s-early 50s were bragging about how superior their equipment was then pointed out "there's that old lady again... the one who caught all those citations last time" (not in English).  Several guys had sleeping bags or mats, neck pillows, folding lawn chairs and car batteries.  It was obvious that most of the people there were seasoned veterans of that scene.  As for me... I felt like.... well... a fish out of water.

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
At one point, I hooked into a nice fighting fish on the jig and worked him all the way to the surface pulling drag every once in a while.  It turned out to be a really nice Blueline Tilefish, but I pulled the hook trying to lift him out of the water with my rod.  I should have waited for the mate to get a net or gaff.  I'm definitely not used to needing other people to help me land a fish.  I'd rather grab the leader and leg kick the fish into my kayak :)

Cool colors

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...

Yellowfin Bass
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
I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite type of fishing, but I'm very glad I got to try it.  I definitely can't complaint about the amount and quality of meat I brought home.  But honestly, I probably won't go again unless I win another trip for free or if a friend with a boat invites me for some help with gas.

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.  


  1. How did it work with all the lines in the water at once? I envision getting tangled with someone who doesn't know what they're doing every other drop.

  2. Yeah, the mates were very busy.

  3. That's pretty damn cool Rob, thanks for the write up. That yellowfin bass has awesome color.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Matt. Yeah, that yellowfin bass was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.

  4. Awesome Rob - that yellowfin bass is pretty sweet looking - awesome coloration.

  5. I know this is a old write up you have but I am thinking of getting a Lucanus jig for a deep drop trip. What size were you using? I was worried it wouldn't be heavy enough that deep. Great read and pics! Thanks, Leonard

    1. The pink one was 200g 7oz. It's a tiny bit heavier than what was recommended for the MH Trevala S, but it still worked great.

      Thanks and good luck!

  6. I'm going on this trip next Saturday. Looking forward to it. Trying to decide if I wanna use the boat's gear, or use my Airwave/Avet combo...

    1. It wouldn't hurt to bring your combo and try it. If it doesn't work, just switch to the boat's gear.

      Good luck!


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