Dr. Julie Ball with a trophy blueline tilefish.
We Struck GOLD off Virginia! With a gorgeous forecast for the Memorial Day weekend, we decided to embrace what we often take for granted…our vast deep dropping resource off the Virginia coast. My All-Star deep dropping crew consisted of Captain Skip Feller, Captain Darren Foster, and Sean Doran. We pulled out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center at 5:00 am, and headed about 70 miles east. It was an easy ride out to the Canyon with light southerly winds. Our first order of business was to add a blueline tilefish to Skip’s citation repertoire. Captain Skip put us on the bluelines on our first drop. We caught plenty of nice fish in short order, and Skip scored with his 10lb, 8oz blueline citation. We were then off to deeper water in search of bigger fish: grouper and golden tilefish. The first spot we tried for grouper quickly became tiresome, with blackbelly rosefish eagerly jumping on our large baits and hooks. These were nice-sized fish, with many pushing 3-pounds. I manage to find a nice 40-lb snowy grouper among the rosefish. We headed for even deeper water for our last stop for golden tilefsih. Goldens are excellent table fare, and actually resemble the texture and taste of lobster. I was not thrilled with dropping to almost 800 feet. It takes several minutes just to drop a rig to the bottom in water this deep. And can take 10-minutes to retrieve it back to the surface! Golden tilefish generally live in deep water, in a very soft and muddy bottom. We use fishing gear heavy enough to handle large fish. So, fishing in water this deep can be exhausting since we generally don’t use electric reels. On our first drop, I was quickly rewarded with the first golden tilefish of the day. We also had a few doubles with Skip’s largest pushing 50-pounds. Another great day on Virginia waters, with a great crew!
Captain Skip Feller cranks up a blueline tilefish.
Captain Skip Feller with trophy blueline tilefish.
Darren Foster cranks up one from the deep blue sea.
Dr. Julie Ball with a nice snowy grouper.
Dr. Julie Ball with a trophy blueline tilefish.
Dr. Julie Ball with a nice golden tilefish.
Sean Doran and Julie Ball show off some blackbelly rosefish.
Sean Doran and Julie Ball with golden tilefish.
Sean Doran fights a golden tilefish from 800 feet.
Sean Doran with a golden tilefish.
Skip Feller and Julie Ball with big golden tilefish!
Skip Feller shows off his own blackbelly rosefish.
Julie puts this snowy grouper into the fish box.

Dr. Julie Ball’s Memorial Day Fishing Report. Check out Julie and crew as they go deep dropping off the coast of Virginia.