Summer is a Great Time to go Deep

By: Capt. Bruce Andersen

Of all the different types of fishing we have available to us offshore of the Florida Keys, one of my favorites is deep drop fishing. Fishing on the bottom in the depths from 300 to 1,000 feet of water for various types of deepwater grouper, snapper, and tilefish. And in my opinion the best time of year to do this type of fishing is right now. Summertime. With a large percentage of flat calm days and some of the most common deepwater species like snowy grouper and blueline tilefish being open to harvest, the summer months offer a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best bottom fishing available.

My favorite thing about deep drop fishing is that you never know for sure what’s coming up on the other end of the line. On a recent charter aboard the Capt. Easy, we were deep dropping in about 1,000 feet of water. Conditions were perfect for dropping that day as we had a very light current which allowed us to fish that deep and it was slick calm with no wind to push the boat around. It was very easy to hold the bottom and we were able to fish with only 5 pounds of lead which is on the light side for that depth. We had already put quite a few mahi in the box that morning and were off to a good start deep dropping with several black belly rosefish and some barrelfish that afternoon. On one of our last drops before heading in we got what looked like a very good bite and our customer engaged the reel to hook the fish. It looked like it was going to be a pretty nice fish, but I really didn’t know what we had on the other end of the line. Could it be a large golden tilefish? Could it be a double header of barrelfish? These were both possibilities as I’ve caught both of these species at this spot before. I was hoping for either a large golden tile or possibly a large snowy grouper. The fish stalled the electric reel and took drag several times in the course of the fight to the surface. All we could do was cross our fingers and hope for the best that we wouldn’t pull the hook. When the counter started to wind down to the single digits I could see the angle of the line plane towards the surface as a 35 pound snowy grouper started to float up as his swim bladder expanded. It was a great way to end the trip.

When you catch a big fish deep dropping it’s always exciting when you finally start to see them coming up and can figure out what you’ve got on the end of the line. One thing that’s for sure is it’s almost always something great to eat. If you would like to see what deep dropping in the keys is all about, give me a call and we can get in on the action this summer!

You can reach Captain Bruce Andersen at Capt. Easy Charters,
MM 85, call 305.360.2120 or email at: