written by Captain Ricky Wheeler
There is just something about dropping your baits down 300-1200+ feet of water and bringing up something on the other end of your line from the depths. Its always a mystery what you have every time you bring a fish or two - or even three or four when you are in the thick of them up from the bottom which always keeps it interesting.
Deep dropping for snapper and grouper, and at times, other random deepwater dwellers, is a great way to make the most out of a slow day of fishing and still come home with something fantastic to eat. In fact, many people prefer to eat snapper and grouper as opposed to pelagic species, and why not? They are so tasty! You can deep drop throughout most places in tropical climates for snapper and grouper and with a little time and effort, you can find where these fish are holed up and get a box full in no time. With that said, you are dropping down to the depths, and I would say 99% of people would opt to do this with electric reels to save their arms from falling off from cranking fish up, or worse, a bunch of empty hooks every 10-15 minutes.
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So electric reels, they can get expensive for sure from the popular Lindgren Pitmans to the Hooker Electric Reels, its small fortune to have an electric reel. While there are other options that are far less expensive, these options are barely good enough to reel in a kite for kite fishing. From my experience, the absolute best electric reel that gets you the most for your money is the Shimano Beastmaster. It is very easy to use and I have caught a few swordfish in the upper 200 pound range on these battle reels along with plenty of smaller swords and plenty of delicious deep dropping species. Match this reel up with a Tackle Direct Silver Hook Deep Drop Rod and some 65# test Hi Vis Yellow Power Pro to spool up your Beastmaster and you have a great setup to do a little of everything that will last you years to come.
In my opinion, you can make your own deep drop rigs for fairly cheap, but wow is it time consuming. An easier option is to just get some pre made rigs like these (CLICK HERE) and you are set to go. For the price of these rigs its worth the time savings for sure as you are sure to spend 15-20 minutes at teh least making one rig. While you can keep it simple and get these Deep Drop Weights (CLICK HERE), you can also get creative and use things like window sash weights or cut thick rebar down or use your imagination to make a weight to get you to the bottom. the nice thing about the Stick Weights is they easily slide into a rod holder instead of banging around the bottom of the boat when you are rebating your hooks or dealing with unhooking fish.
The last piece of the puzzle is the light. While some people do not use lights and do catch fish just fine, I find that adding a good LP Diamond Light to the top of your rig helps these fish find your baits far easier down in the deep dark depths of the ocean. There are some more inexpensive Dimond lights out there, but the LP lights I have linked here have never failed me as the water activation works every time and they last forever in their small and simple construction.
Next time the bite is slow or you just simply want to catch some "groceries" for dinner, put this gear to good use and catch yourself some good eats from the bottom. These tips are the most inexpensive way I have found to be 100% effective for putting together a solid catch of deep drop bottom fish. Just add some squid or cut belly strips from really any fish with tuna, wahoo, and barracuda being the best baits, and you are good to go.