Two beautiful blue line tile fish reeled up from the deep waters off Marathon FL. Blue Line Tile fish can be found near or on rock ledges or humps from Depths of 700-450 feet of water.
I find that their favorite bait is squid, but they will eat just about any kind of fish. When using hand cranks or electric reels deep dropping is fun and you can fill the cooler with great eating fish.
Golden Tile fish are found from 1300-450 feet of water and are located on muddy bottom. Unlike most of the deep drop fish, Golden Tile fish are primarily are found on muddy bottoms as it becomes night they burrow into the mud for protection while they sleep.
Usually Dolphin is already in the box as when I go deep dropping, as we find them on the way to the grounds, but I always bring some sort of bait just in case. Some nice yellow edge grouper to round out the dolphin feast.
Yellow Edge Grouper are found on or near rock Ledges, holes or humps. As with the Snowy Grouper, Yellow Edges eat the same bait and I use the same set up for the two fish.
This big guy is a wreck fish hooked while deep dropping in over two thousand feet of water in the Florida Keys. Wreck fish are found from 1100-2600 feet of water on rock ledges, holes, and humps.
And again, because of strict regulations I only drop two to three hooks because this fish you are only allowed to keep one per vessel and it is only open for three months out of the year. Their food fair is ok, but really tough, I like to over cook them on the grill and then dip in drawn butter and it resembles lobster.
The queen snapper is one of the most beautiful bright-colored fish in the sea. The Queen Snapper is probably the best eating fish we have here in South Florida, and they are quite numerous during the fall and winter months, as we get into the spring all of these fish leave and go somewhere, probably Mexico as that is the only place I have seen queen snapper of this quality like my long time fishing buddy Andy Payne is holding up in this photo of a twenty-five pound specimen.
Unlike the deep water groupers and tile fish, queen snapper migrate long distances, because when they leave the Keys they are nowhere to be found in South Florida, except for a couple here and there. Dave Scholar of Sweet E’Nun Charters with an Escobar reeled up from the deep waters of the Florida Keys.
Escobar can be found in 1300-2600 feet of water on rock and sandy bottoms. Escobar has many species among their family, this one in the photo is an Escobar Road and is found very deep where mainly their only food are Angler fish, Scaled Dragon fish, squid and many other deep water species most people have never heard about unless you watch the Discovery Channel.
I love squid for dropping because that is the natural forage fish these deep water species are accustomed to eating, and I like barracuda because of its tough skin, it is really hard for the fish to get it off the hook and also because it’s so stinky. I generally use large hooks when dropping that deep as most of the fish even when they are small have big mouths.
Escobar is quite common fish to find in a sushi restaurant otherwise you will almost never see it on the menu. Usually you don’t target Escobar, but instead it’s an accidental catch while fishing for other deep water species in the Florida Keys.
When fishing ledges and humps, lots of different deep water species congregate there for many reasons, one being food, and others like the cover. Yellow eye and Black fin Snapper can be found from 400-1000 feet of water on rocky walls and humps.
Generally found off of Key West and the Bahamas this fish is greatly sought after as its soft snapper fillets are highly prized by anglers. Barrel fish can be found from 700-1200 feet of water on ledges and humps.
Misty grouper, not top choice for eating but a great catch while deep drop fishing. They aren’t the best eating but not bad, definitely good for frying as they too tend to have very firm texture.
From the Photo my friend and Captain Brain Leon accompanied my group to the Bahamas where we caught this fish. Misty Grouper are easily identified by its large striped pattern.
Black Belly Rose fish can be found from 600-1500 feet of water on every bottom type. These small fish are all over the place on the bottom and are quite tasty, very similar to Dogfish.
It is not uncommon to come up with a full stringer of these while fishing the deep water. Sword fishing in the daytime we fish on the bottom because that’s where their food is, and they constantly eat 24 hours a day.
When Swordfish feed, they use their bill to kill or injure their prey before eating it. These fish once hooked take about an hour for every hundred pounds that they weigh to reel in.
They are so powerful and can swim up to the surface from 2000 feet of water in a matter of minutes, which is a marvel because of the pressure change would kill most fish.