The Golden Touch

With the beautiful forecast, I was once again nudged into another long-range fishing adventure at the urging of my crew. Twist my arm. This time Sam Kilgore, Scott Fiedorczyk, Beau Hoggard, and Captain Skip Feller made up my crew. Our goal? Golden tilefish.
We cleared Rudee Inlet, Virginia Beach at 0430, and headed for the edge of the Norfolk Canyon off Virginia. Water conditions were perfect, with light southerly winds. But out of nowhere, a thick fog closed in at about forty miles out, and we were socked in for most of the day. First stop was for rosies and grouper. No grouper today, but I have never seen so many huge black bellied rosefish! Most every fish fell between 3 and 5-pounds!
Not the case with Beau's flounder, however.
Things started looking up when Beau got into a bigger fish.
We were called over to drift with the "Providence II" and "Waterman" for a few blueline tilesfish. It wasn't hot fishing, but we picked at them long enough to secure Virginia state citations for both Scott and Sam. Ok, now to get down to business, we were off in search of "Goldie Locks." We ran a few miles to one of Skip's favorite golden holes. We had the whole place to ourselves, not a boat in sight. On the first drift, Skip made it to the bottom first…and he was instantly hooked up.
Next, I felt the tell tale golden gobble…
I set up, timed it, and bam!…another hook up!
After fighting my stud tile for a few minutes, I looked around to see Scott and Beau also doubled over. Who was gonna gaff what? We managed, though. High fives all around…and then repeat! We drifted a few more times, with multiple hook-ups on each drift. This routine took less than 1.5 hours. Everyone caught multiple fish, with six fish over 40-pounds, and four sitting at 50-pounds!
A 50-pounder.
A big black-bellied rosefish.
Some good eating!
A tile for the fishbox.
Sam Kilgore with a nice black sea bass.
Another rose from the deep.
I suppose Skip felt we needed a break, so while everyone rubbed sore muscles and caught their breath, he moved us on to our last area. There were a few other boats there, including the "Seaduction". We made a few drops, with a few goldens to show, then decided to call it a day. It's a good thing my boat has a huge fish box!
We had a crowd waiting back at the dock, with wide eyes and lots of "oohs and ahhs". Good call on the locations Skip….and some great angling by my crew.
Miles of tiles.
Dr. Julie Ball is outdoorlife.com's favorite female angler out there on the water. If you don't know about Julie, be sure to check out the other galleries that she has done for Outdoor Life. Julie Goes DEEEEEP! Drum Bonanza, Only in Virginia Sportfishing Calendar 2009 with Julie Ball Calm Before the Next Storm The Best of Ball Deep-Dropping With Julie What's Up Doc? Sea Bassin' With Ball Bottom's Up The Fall Bite Begins An Ace of Spadefish The Fish Doctor

Boating a few nice golden tilefish over a day of offshore fishing is considered excellent. But, how about everyone hooked up with monsters on every drift? Incredible.