Our three day trip out to the Norfolk Canyon and back was a success in every way you care to measure.
First, and most importantly, it was FUN. The 80 mile sail out, and then 80 miles back, was delightful. The weather was perfect for what we were doing when we were doing it. The fishing was great, we pulled up a bunch of tilefish, some quite large ones:
Tilefish are about the tastiest fish in the ocean with a flavor that reflects their diet of crab, lobster and squid, but with a very delicate texture. If you ever find them for sale, they command a very hefty price, approaching $50/lb for the fillets.
In the Norfolk Canyon area these fish live on the bottom over 700 feet deep. That’s a really long, long way down, as you find out when it is time to reel in your line to check bait, or reposition the boat. It was for this kind of fishing that we recent splurged on a new fishing toy–I mean “essential fishing tool”. An electric fishing reel. We have been doing enough of this kind of fishing, called “deep dropping” that it seemed like it will be a worthy investment. So far–so good!
One of the things about the ocean is it never fails to surprise. After cleaning this big boy, Karen was below in the galley packaging the fillets for the freezer. I saw some interesting marks close up under the boat on the sonar, and dropped jig to see what I might hook. I hooked into a very large fish that ran off a LOT of line at high speed. At first I was sure I had hooked a yellowfin tuna, but then the fight settled down in to a bit of a street fight–for an HOUR. It turned out to be a large shark. We weren’t able to ID him as good to eat, and legal to catch, so we didn’t bring him into the boat. This, however, wasn’t the big surprise.
While I was fighting the shark, Karen was videoing the action. In the distance, a large fish jumps out of the water, completely clear, and lands with a huge splash. My initial ID is confirmed by a close look at the video. It was an ocean sunfish, a Mola mola. Not a fish I imagined being able to generate the speed to leap clear of the water, but there he was–airborn!
We are back in Norfolk, at anchor. Relaxing, working on some of our video productions. We have a few weeks before we expect to head up the bay to Annapolis.