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Old 02-12-2019, 12:40 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC / Hatteras, NC
Posts: 1,074

Originally Posted by Squid Row View Post
Anyone care to provide a golden tile fish 101 type overview?
I have caught only 18 Goldens so far. So, I am by far no expert, but have learned a lot from one of the best commercial guys in Hatteras.

150-250 fathoms on muddy humps and ledges for the big ones. You can find them shallower, but the nicer ones are deeper. Shallowest I have caught one was in 134 fathoms, and it was smallish in the 15-20# range. I am sure others have found them shallower, but they do not seem to be thick until 150+ fathoms. Heard some guys in the GoM have found them as deep as 300 fathoms and they were all big. I have yet to find one that deep, but don't have the sonar/transducer to see ledges/bottom much past 200 fathoms and have to rely on the chart, but I feel an 3kw transducer upgrade will be in order during the next boat yard visit.

Tilefish pretty much live in holes that have been dug out of the muddy ledges/humps. I have heard the big Goldens have a "room" in the back of the hole as much as 6 feet wide, with the entrance not much bigger than their diameter. Usually there are only 1 male and/or female for each hole. They do seem to live in clusters to some degree. I have seen them on video through a NOAA submersible with just their heads poking out of the holes, waiting for something to float/swim by to eat.

I use a 5 drop rig most of the time, but for the Goldens, they are usually caught on the bottom 3 drops. My rigs are very similar to alexh86's rigs here :
Main difference between mine are inclusion of chafe tube on the drop lines, shrink tubes on the hook to the drop line under the squid body, and shrink tubes covering the swivel to the drop line to make them stand out straighter and away from the main line.

I love using strips of the big Peruvian squid wings for bait. Less sharks to deal with than using Albert/False Albacore strips, and they stay on the hook longer than the squid you find in most stores.

For dropping, you gotta figure out the drift over your target area, no different than drifting in shallow water, only you have to compensate for current and a lot more depth. I'd say most of the time I am close to a 1/8th mile (2-3 football fields) or more away when I drop, to get the bait down before the ledge and fish. The more current, the bigger weight required to get it down fast, and/or the further you have to be from your mark/target.

I'm sure others do it differently, but once I hit bottom, I keep the line in my hands at all times, with only enough drag on the line to keep the reel from completely free spooling. I use cut-proof fillet gloves to hold the braid line in one hand while using the other hand to make sure there is enough slack coming off the spool to touch bottom. I am constantly keeping the line tight in my hand and on bottom, and every 10-15 seconds or so, I jig the line up and off the bottom, before letting it drop again. If you are in a good area, you should be able to feel the weight getting pulled out of the thick mud . You should be trying to drag that weight just along the bottom. Keeping the line tight, you will feel the bite. We are not talking about a little nibble from the prolific Rose fish. but a solid tug almost yanking the line out of your hand. As soon as you feel it, you have to get them up and away from that hole, no different than you would a grouper trying to get you rocked up. We call it "holed up".

Any other folks want to chime in?

Last edited by xfernal; 02-12-2019 at 01:14 PM.
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