Monster Swordfish in Miami
It's not always the fish you catch that make memories. More often than not, the fight itself is what sticks with you. We've caught plenty of swordfish up to about 400 lbs, bluefin tuna to 700lbs, blue marlin to 400lbs, giant sharks, and more. Our list of "impressive catches" is pretty extensive. Either way, the list of epic losses is probably just as long. I've had plenty of epic fights during my career fishing. Some have ended with the fish of a lifetime in the boat and many have ended with fish stories.
Before even talking about our recent catch, let me talk about a few fights that didn't go our way. Below you'll find our top 5 most epic losses.
- 500+ Pound Swordfish- This was an epic fight back in 2012. We hooked the fish toward the end of our trip and proceeded to fight the thing until it was close to sunrise. The fish jumped 5 times but we just couldn't get a clear shot with the harpoon. We hooked the fish at 10 pm (nighttime swording) and fought it until 5 am. 7 Hours into the fight, the hook pulled. We drifted over 20 miles and it made for a miserable ride home.
- 150lb Yellowfin on 20lb Lost it after 5 hours.
- 150lb Yellowfin on 20lb Lost it after 3 hours.
- 600lb Bluefin on 20lb- There wasn't much we could do here.
- 600 lb Bluefin on 20lb- Once again, hopeless on such light tackle.
Monster Swordfish October of 2019
Simply put, most epic fight I've ever experienced.
The day started as we made our way to the sword grounds with a couple from Mississippi. They drove down with a very clear goal in mind: catch a swordfish. We had decent weather for a change and hadn't been swordfishing in a while. Many of our customers just want to "get the rods bent" so we don't get our to the sword grounds as much as we would like. Luckily we had the right clients on the right day during what is traditionally a great time of year.
We took 2 drops without a bite but we had a patient crew and just kept at it. On our 3rd drop, the tip rod piled over and started ripping line with violent head-shakes. Most XL swordfish will "slack you," which involves swimming a 10lb lead straight to the surface like it's nothing. After about 2 minutes of dogging us, this fish did exactly that. She started racing to the surface as fast as we could back down and retrieve the line. Swordfish have soft mouthes and many fights end in heart-break with pulled hooks for exactly this reason. To help increase our closing ratio on big swords, we always have 2 harpoons ready and try "darting them" as soon as possible.
This fish came straight to the surface and gave us exactly the shot we were looking for. Kris hit her with the harpoon within 15 minutes of first hooking her. The fish quickly realized what was going on and started running straight back to the bottom. After taking 500 feet of line, the hook pulled and all we had left was the dart tethered to a giant swordfish that was really pissed off. Just like hooks, darts notoriously pull out of swordfish, especially during long fights. The fish took 1,000 feet of harpoon line which we attached to a 130 pound Penn International. She then continued taking about 500 more yards and stopped when she got to the bottom.
We didn't know where we hit the fish. The dart could have barely graced her and we knew things weren't looking good. We had a swordfish about 2,000 feet down dragging around a harpoon, 1,000 feet of rope, and no hook.
Patience is Key While Swordfishing
We slowly began inching the fish back up and incrementally increasing drag. To be honest, our expectations were pretty low. We had a long way to got and we were ready for the dart to dislodge itself at any moment. I began mentally preparing with losing this fish but kept it to myself. We just played her our as best we could and hoped for the best.
We spent a total of 5 hours pulling this fish back up inch by inch. We spent most of the time manually cranking with up to 40lbs of drag and had to do the last 1,000 feet by hand. When we finally saw the fish again it almost didn't seem real. The fish looked about 400-500 lbs and was being pulled up sideways by our dart. As soon as she was in range we hit her with another harpoon and a flying gaff. We were all exhausted, relieved, and stoked at the same time. We could barely get the fish into the boat and had to use 3 people as well as a block and tackle. Swordfish are heavy for their size and extremely awkward with their giant bills and tails. When she finally hit the deck, we were ready to go home and weigh her. She was 452 lbs and over 10 feet long. She even had bright orange meet which is considered a "pumpkin." We stayed late cleaning the fish and there were plenty of steaks for everyone. This fish is definitely burned into my memory.