The same deep drop bottom fish species we go after during the warmer months of the year, like golden tilefish, don’t disappear. And some deep dwellers like wreckfish actually bite better than they do during summer. Your biggest challenge at this time of year, of course, will be finding an acceptable weather window. If one pops up, just remember:

wreckfish on the line
Deepwater dwellers like wreckfish don't migrate away during the winter months.
  • Some areas in our zone will get covered up by spiny dogfish in the winter months. When this happens you’ll need to move deeper, sometimes all the way out to 800 or even 1000 feet. You can still catch species like golden tilefish, wreckfish, and barrelfish this deep but you’ll need the line capacity to handle it and if you’re hand-cranking, be prepared for a 20-minute ordeal to bring your offering up from the bottom.
  • To target wreckfish fish rocky bottom; to target golden tilefish look for mud. A drop with a plateau and then another drop is always a good bet.
  • Meat-curtain rigs work well, but so do jigs (of two or more pounds). Just make sure they have multiple hooks. You’ll want to bait them up, and you will not want to reel them up every time you miss a bite. Rugged strip baits stay on the hook best, but squid does tend to draw more strikes. Mixing and matching the two on the same jig is always a good move.
  • Use your boat to combat the wind and current if necessary, and try to keep your lines as vertical as possible.