In the Spread fishing video, learn to catch golden tilefish in south Florida's waters by locating ideal bottom mud, using effective baits, rigging, making rigs, and drifting. Discover the importance of recognizing bites and trigger additional bites to become a smarter bottom fisherman.
Golden Tilefish - Bottom Fishing South Florida(00:24:46)
Golden Tilefish Names: Golden bass, golden snapper, great northern tilefish, rainbow tilefish.
Distribution: Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic.
Habitat: Upper reaches of the continental slope in warmer waters.
Fishing Method: Deep dropping or bottom fishing.
Size: Up to 4 feet and 80 pounds, but 5-10 pounds are average. Larger sizes in South Florida.
Location Specifics: In Miami, found in 600-800 feet of water with soft mud bottoms.
Fishing Tips: Use depth sounder, recognize good bottom, bait presentation.
Bait: Bonito, tuna, squid, mackerel, barracuda.
Challenges: Dealing with the Gulf Stream current.
Taste: Comparable to lobster or crab due to diet of crustaceans.
The golden tilefish, also known as:
- Golden bass
- Golden snapper
- Great northern tilefish
- Rainbow tilefish
is widely distributed throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic. They inhabit a specific band of ocean floor in warmer waters along the upper reaches of the continental slope. Deep dropping or bottom fishing is the method to target these savory fish.
Tilefish can grow up to 4 feet and 80 pounds, although the average is 5 to 10 pounds. This average is more reflective of catches by commercial boats up the east coast. In South Florida, the average fish is larger than in the Gulf Stream. In Miami, 15-20 lb fish are considered large.
In Miami, these fish are found in depths of 600-800 feet where the ocean floor is soft mud. The key to fishing for them is finding this soft muddy bottom. This is their protection burrow. Use a depth sounder to read the ocean floor. Once you find a good spot, the act of dropping the lead to the bottom attracts the curious tilefish.
We team up with Miami fishing expert Mike Dumas. He will guide you through:
- Finding the right area
- Choosing the best bottom fishing rigs
- Selecting the right bait
- Recognizing bites
- Drifting the gulf stream
For deep dropping, we'll cover terminal tackle, dropper spacing, hooks, and the amount of lead required.
Remember, when dropping your rig, baits need to be on the bottom to get bites. Mike will show you how to get a second bite if you miss the first.
Effective baits include:
Tilefish are attracted by scent and sight. Drop the lead to get their attention and use the scent to lure them in.
The Gulf Stream's current can be challenging, averaging 3-5 knots. Mike will guide you on how to navigate this current to maximize your fishing time.
Golden tilefish are prized for their flavor, reminiscent of lobster or crab due to their diet of crustaceans. When it comes to cooking, the meat's texture changes over days, starting with a lobster-like texture and evolving to a grouper-like one.
Note: The golden tilefish season in Florida varies. Always check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC Tilefish) before heading out.
What are the other names for Golden Tilefish?
Golden bass, golden snapper, great northern tilefish, and rainbow tilefish.
Throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic, specifically in warmer waters along the upper reaches of the continental slope.
They can grow up to 4 feet and 80 pounds, but 5-10 pound fish are average. In Miami, 15-20 lb fish are considered big.
Bonito, tuna, squid, mackerel, and barracuda.
It's often compared to lobster or crab, which is not surprising, since the tilefish’s diet is largely crustaceans.