Wreck fishing may have fallen by the wayside to the glorified billfish and tunas, but if you want to fill the freezer with great-tasting fish, try the original type of offshore fishing. Black sea bass, tautog, and ling cod are just a sampling of the buffet waiting on the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic-if you know how to get on the right wreck.
Prepare two floats before each trip. They should be weighted with a couple pounds of lead and have enough line to reach bottom, plus an additional 20′ or so. Yeah, sure, you’ve got those wreck numbers plugged into your GPS. But chances are, you still won’t see the wreck on the fishfinder without a search. When your electronics verify arrival, toss out the first float. Now the hunt begins: Use the first float as a visual reference and go around it in circles, enlarging each time you go around. When you see the wreck on-screen, drop the second float.
Observe the float to determine the boat’s line of drift. Then run above the wreck and drop anchor, letting out line until the boat drifts back over the wreck. Drop cut baits like squid or mackerel. Though the fish may not weigh a thousand pounds, there’s usually lots of action fishing on a wreck, so this is a great way to get children started fishing, too.