Tilefish are a deepwater bottomfish found along the Atlantic seaboard. They come from the same family of fish as the ocean whitefish that are often caught on the west coast of the United States. However, while California anglers are limited to fishing depths of 300 feet or less, their Florida brethren will fish as deep as 750 feet to target tilefish! In order to fish that deep, 12 lbs. of weight and electric reels are not uncommon. Why even fish for them, you might ask. It’s because their firm, white flesh is good to eat, recently finding favor among chefs.
In this article, Florida-based sportsman Noah Van Hochman talks about targeting tilefish.
The rich waters off the coast of South Florida hold an incredible variety of species of fish, some of them more popular than others. We all know about the Sailfish, Dolphin and Tuna for the game species, and various types of Grouper and Snapper for the bottom dwellers, but recently I have begun fishing the bottom in the deeper areas for other bottom species, the Tilefish, in this case the Blueline or Grey Tilefish.
After a very long while, my good friend Mitch purchased a very expensive Electric Rod and Reel combo, as he had been going out on other friend’s boats equipped with such tackle in order to pursue day time Sword fishing, which can take place in up to 2,000 feet of water. After a substantial amount of time and effort, I convinced him to rig the Electric Reel and re-enforced rod holders in his 25 foot contender and presented him with several deep drop snapper rigs along with a promise that I would finally chip in for bait and gas to give a try deep dropping for Tilefish somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The Blueline Tilefish also called the Grey Tile are frequently caught in the South Florida waters with the larger Golden Tilefish caught a bit deeper but less frequently.
Photos: The Outdoors Guy (top), Village Voice (above)