Deep Dropping: Get Meat in the Box

Deep Dropping: Get Meat in the Box

  • Posted by Ricky Wheeler
  • On October 21, 2015
  • Comments
  •  4

Deep dropping can be a great way to get meat in the box, especially when the fishing is slow. I deep drop quite bit in the Bahamas, usually at the end of the day so that the charters can eat something other then Mahi. I also do it frequently here at home in the Mid-Atlantic Canyons.  You can deep drop in 350-1200 feet.

When fishing the 500-800 foot depth range, target irregular bottom contours. You can find these spots when you are trolling the edge for pelagics by watching your sounder. Pay particular attention to areas with points or pockets around the edge.

Use high frequency on the sounder to find the right bottom.  For example, jagged and rocky bottoms hold fish, but don’t overlook a clay or muddy bottom with the right type of bottom contour. Certain species, like the ever-tasty tilefish, burrow in the mud and clay. Harder bottoms will appear a deeper and thicker red. Look for spots with sheer drop offs of 40-200 ft. Try using bottom lock to help distinguish if there is scatter on the bottom (for example, bait will show as yellow and green scatter on a Furuno Sounder).

Finding good spots will take patience and a good bit of trial and error. Remember to mark spots you do find well and then keep them to yourself, especially if you want to keep catching fish there.

If you’re deep dropping with a rod and reel, make sure your reel has a high speed retrieve. I’ve used the Penn Torque and the Shimano Torium 30s with 65lb braid, but it is tough to beat the new Shimano Talica 25 for this application.  Don’t use more then three hooks — in thick fish, it’ll either be tough to reel up or get poached by a shark. I prefer a top and bottom rig, which is IGFA legal (in case you catch a record!), with circle hooks. When you feel the bite, lift, crank, and fish on. Fish have a hard time getting off circle hooks, so with this rig, you can drop down for a double. You can also use J hooks with braid (16-20oz on calm days with 50-80lb), but be careful of dropping fish on the way up.

If you’re not looking for an arm workout, try an electric reel. Generally, you can use any weight desired, but be careful when fishing semi-hard mud bottoms as heavy weights do tend to get stuck. (Remember, you can distinguish between hard and soft bottom on a sounder.) With an electric reel, it’s as simple as hitting the retrieve button to set the circle hook when you feel a good bite.


  • Top and Bottom Rig with Offset Circle Hooks
  • Light / No Light: Personal Preference
  • Deep Drop Weight: Unless you want to beat up your boat, make sure your weight is molded to fit into a rod holder.


  • Fleshy Meat: Squid, Skipjack, Bonita, Barracuda, Dolphin
  • Tuna: Make sure to use skin and meat in strips 3-5″ long.

Gear Used


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