Oct 26 2011

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The ‘Angler’ Stuck Gold; Rudee Angler Deep Dropping Report

By Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Rudee Inlet, Virginia Beach, VA – All I can say is…AMAZING! Or, to quote the words of Captain Skip Feller, it was a “pretty epic trip!” I grinned as he told me this on the evening of October 23rd, and he wasn’t kidding.

Golden tilefish for all, and then some! And not just plenty of goldens, big ones…even record sized! If that’s not enough, how about a few grouper, blueline tilefish, tuna, and even a swordfish to boot? All from the decks of a head boat!

Seldom does a trip like this come along. The crew of four, guided by Captain Mark Sterling and Skip Feller, aboard the ‘Rudee Angler’ out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, Rudee Inlet, Virginia made it happen.

According to Skip, the magic transpired while exploring the southern edges of the Norfolk Canyon in 300 to 800 feet of water. Pulling fish from these abysmal depths is no easy feat, but imagine hoisting these hefty bottom fish uphill for 20 minutes each round, for nearly 26 hours? Well, watch what you wish for. The Rudee Angler backed into her slip after a 36-hour journey with 25 weary, but content anglers toting coolers busting at the seams. The only thing bigger than their fish were their egos, as anglers and the crew bragged and told fish stories.

It all started Saturday morning as the ‘Angler’ headed out in manageable NE winds. After a four-hour ride, the crew began the day deep dropping in shallower water taking in their fill of nice grouper and blueline tilefish. The boat moved to the Norfolk Canyon as the sun set to set up for swordfish. During the night-time hours, anglers didn’t get much rest. Four rods went down, with a 25-pound yellowfin tuna, two big sharks, and a small swordfish to keep them busy. Not a bad night.

At first light, the boat headed for deeper water looking for golden tilefish and black bellied rosefish. As rosefish took up most available hooks, several lucky anglers struck gold. Anglers filled the deck with golden tilefish, one of the best-eating fish of the deep. Ten big goldens had everyone onboard excited. But no one was prepared for the golden egg; a true trophy golden tilefish pushing the scale to a staggering 69-pounds. This huge fish weighed almost five pounds heavier than the existing All Tackle record. The fact that the fish was caught on an electric reel, waving any chances at a world record, didn’t seem to dampen any spirits. Wide eyes and lots of “oohs and ahhs,” will have the fish tales will buzzing along the docks for weeks to come. Congratulations to the crew and the angler Dung Nguyen of Chantilly, Virginia.

Yes Skip, I agree. It was a pretty epic trip.

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