There are a number of ways to fish deep water for bottom dwelling fish species, manually or electronically. Personally, I think that if you are attempting this style of fishing regularly it is worth purchasing an electronic reel. It is extremely exhausting to haul your catch up from depths of half a kilometre. The electronic reels are designed to keep you fishing at extreme depths for long periods without burning out.
In New South Wales, current regulations limit anglers to 3 hooks on a single outfit. We make sure that we use strong Gamakatsu 10/0 big bait circle hooks. These circle hooks will hook fish themselves, penetrating the corner of the jaw where they will hold for the duration of the fight, sometimes lasting up to 20 minutes.
On this occasion, we were on Lord Howe Island (LHI) fishing 300-500m of water. Using large sash weights on a break-away system to get our baits down, and a ‘long-line’ rig (still with only 3 interchangeable hooks, because of regulations that incorporate LHI in NSW waters), we were set to go. We would not have to sound around long before the Simrad sounder revealed speckles on the sea floor, indicating that we were in the zone. Our baits are deployed when the skipper has maneuvered the boat according to the drift.
Give the fish what they want. Our baits are made like a sandwich; the bread is made of squid strips, fillings are optional, although I usually use Pilchards. When the sash weight finds its way to the bottom, pinch the braid to feel for bites. When the rod is loaded up, press the button to retrieve the line and start the waiting game.
It is a very different type of fishing, which I still find exciting, largely because you never know what will come up from the depths. We caught a mixed bag of Rosy Jobfish, Flame Snapper, Cod, Kingfish and Blue-Eye trevalla. All great eating, our Kershaw blades made light work of the filleting duties.