Deep Drop Fishing – Setting up – By Gyula Vari

If you have contemplated fishing deeper but haven’t yet had the opportunity, or just need a bit of a nudge to get out there and give this style of fishing a go, you will find this article particularly useful.

As I have said in my previous deep drop fishing articles, this method of fishing is still very much in a development stage compared to other forms of fishing, and even though I have been deep dropping for over twenty years myself, I am still learning.

An unusual catch - tile fish.

An unusual catch – tile fish.

I am also lucky enough to be involved with Sea Monkey Marine, specialising in deep drop fishing tackle, and not only do I get the opportunity to test, but also to develop tackle for deep dropping. On our last outing we tested the Kristal XL930 gunwale mount type reel, unfortunately we didn’t really get the chance to really put it through its paces, as the biggest fish for the trip was a bar cod around twenty kilograms, and the reel made very light work in 330m. It was no surprise though as this reel has fish pulling power of 400kgs! Yes, it’s an absolute powerhouse!

If you are starting out, it can be daunting with all the choices of gear out there, so consider how deep you want to fish and how often. The reel is the first and major cost in the set up. Choices for reels can range from as low as $1000 up to $10,000 or more for full custom-made reels. Around the middle is where most deep drop fishos end up, even if they start at the lower end of the scale. The lower priced reels are good for up to two hundred metres or so, and fish up to twenty kilograms. They do struggle in the deeper water between three hundred to six hundred metres.

Just consider, if you are heading out to these depths and using multiple hooks on your rigs, you could end up with a hundred kilograms of fish on one line and one drop.

That little electric motor just won’t cut it, and its life span will be very limited. Keep in mind that an electric reel is only as strong as the motor, the bigger the motor, the more torque or power it will produce.

Kristal XL930 gunwale mount deep drop set up.

Kristal XL930 gunwale mount deep drop set up.

Then, the other consideration is rod mount reel versus gunwale mount reel? The rod mount reel is conventional and perfect for the task. But a lot of consumers overlook the gunwale mount set up for the following two reasons, either not knowing that they exist, or not fully understanding the difference and benefits of a gunwale mount set up. Going back to the Kristal XL930 we tested for example, this reel is an all-in-one unit, and has three uses. Firstly, deep drop fishing in deep water. Secondly, it can be converted very easily and conveniently to a pot hauler (perfect for spanner crabbing) and thirdly, it can convert and be used as a down rigger for trolling for gamefish! If you can utilise at least two of a gunwale mount reels features, its worth considering.

The second major cost is the rod, again, prices can range between $200 to $2000 and possibly more. Most good quality rods including custom made rods will be around the thousand-dollar mark. Keep in mind that these rods are specific for deep dropping application, so they are suited for this purpose only. The gunwale mount reel set up also requires a specific gunwale mount rod set up.

Rod mount reel rods will generally and almost always have a bent butt, as they are completely fished in the rod holder. Another key component is the swivel tip, this is important as the rod is being fished out of the rod holder, the swivel tip allows for some play with boat movement and swing. One important note for rods is blank quality, a lot of the cheaper rods have little or no action, making it difficult to detect a bite, we refer to them as broom sticks. The better-quality rods will have a nice soft tip but very solid down low to handle the biggest of fish with ease from the depths.

Imagine having to wind this up from 380m!

Imagine having to wind this up from 380m!

Gunwale mount rods attach to the reel itself, and the reel has a bracket system, either mounted in a conventional rod holder or mounted to the gunwale of the boat, thus the reason they are called gunwale mount. The Kristal gunwale mount reels have a unique rod holder bracket system, and once fitted into the gunwale, it allows the reel and rod to rotate three hundred and sixty degrees if required, this has certain advantages.

My advice on the rod and reel is focus on quality and power if you want the gear to last and be up to the task.

Let’s face it, the initial outlay isn’t cheap, and I like to think of it as an investment rather than a cost, but the return on investment is worth the expense! This fishery is not a catch and release proposition, so if you like taking a feed for the table, deep dropping gives you the best return on your outlay.

Then there is the terminal tackle! This is the area that is still in development stages. There are plenty of rigs for example that work successfully, but we are always experimenting and trying new things, developing new rigs and techniques. Sure, if you want to just run a basic paternoster rig baited up you will catch fish, but would you increase your chances if the rig had luminescent line protectors? Flashing lights? What colour lights? So many considerations. One thing that I know for certain is that by running a hook protector and line protector on our SMM (Sea Monkey Marine) rigs, we increase the life span of the rig and increase our chances of landing a fish. Without the protector, abrasion form the fish against the line generally wears through the line much faster. Lights are used as an attractant, or lure, as any sunlight beyond the 200m depth range is insignificant. So, some form of light is a must in my books.

Rod mounted Kristal XL611 on swivel tip rod.rod mount reel, which should really be there as a comparison for the gunwale mount set up.

Rod mounted Kristal XL611 on swivel tip rod.rod mount reel, which should really be there as a comparison for the gunwale mount set up.

Deep water jigging with big metal jigs is also proving to work in depths of two hundred to six hundred meters, but I will leave this to the younger guys, it’s a lot of physical work to work the jigs at these depths and then the prospect of having to wind up a fish from that depth with conventional overhead reels? Call me spoilt, but I will stick with the electric reels, besides, some electric reels have a jigging feature built in.

You can make your own rigs or buy them ready to go! If you are going to make your own, it means you like to experiment, which is great! But there are plenty of rigs out there that have been developed over the years by experimenting, so you can buy them ready to fish which leaves you more time to focus on the fishing.

As I mentioned earlier, I am involved in the development of the SMM deep drop fishing range, and on a recent trip, we made up a couple of test rigs to focus on catching smaller fish than the larger cods, bass gropers and blue eye trevella. It paid off producing some rather unusual species including a tile fish. We will test this particular rig a few more times, and if it proves successful time and time again, it will be brought to market. I absolutely love this part of my fishing career, I was going to say job, but it’s hardly work!

You will see this fishing segment grow with more and more items coming to market, and available in the tackle shops. I keep saying this and don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this is most definitely the last frontier of fishing.

There is still much to learn.

The final thing I would like to cover is all the available fishing ground out there, there is a lot of deep water to be fished and discovered. You could explore this deep water for years and never run out of new areas to search over, which places another level of intrigue and excitement to deep dropping. Some days we fish in five hundred metres and some days three hundred metres. I am yet to explore beyond the 600-700m mark, but armed with the Kristal XL930 and over three kilometres of braid, the possibilities are endless!

So keep an eye out for upcoming articles on fishing even deeper and new developments in this space!

SMM pre made deep drop rigs doing the damage.

SMM pre made deep drop rigs doing the damage.