Whew!

Saltwater Sportsman - - Tod / Casts + Blasts -

I just fin­ished read­ing Ge­orge Poveromo’s ar­ti­cle on “Keep­ing the Sport in Fish­ing” (Oc­to­ber), and I thought he would en­joy learn­ing about a deep-drop ex­pe­ri­ence that I had out of Venice, Louisiana.

I was fish­ing at an off­shore oil rig, watch­ing my friends us­ing electric reels pulling up snowy grouper and bar­relfish. Never hav­ing been a fan of push-but­ton fish­ing, I de­cided to rig up for some mano-a-mano deep-drop­ping.

My out­fit con­sisted of a bent-butt, stand-up rod with a 50-pound-class, two-speed reel loaded with 250-pound braided line, 12 feet of 80-pound flu­oro leader, 5 pounds of lead, and an 11/0 cir­cle hook with a fresh squid, which I low­ered 1,045 feet to the bot­tom.

I missed the first bite and had to spend the next 15 min­utes re­triev­ing my hook, but I re­baited and low­ered to the bot­tom again. This time I was pre­pared and cranked in, af­ter 20 ag­o­niz­ing min­utes, a 16-pound snowy grouper.

Many times dur­ing the fight, I had to change gears, crank with both hands at the same time (I was wear­ing a full har­ness), and change the speed of re­trieve, con­cerned over the ever-present sharks.

Back at the dock, a sea­soned lo­cal cap­tain told us that he had heard of only one other per­son who had man­u­ally caught a fish in wa­ter deeper than 1,000 feet. Just like Ge­orge’s ar­ti­cle says, hand-crank­ing made this much more sporty and much more re­ward­ing.

Bob Chew Palm City, Florida

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