What a day! For starters, we have finally been blessed with some nice weather this week, and today was no exception. Perfectly slick calm, with just enough NE wind to keep the temp reasonable.
We had an offshore trip today, so we started off looking for a little meat for the cooler. It didn’t take long… We had a triple header of gaffer dolphins shortly after lines in, and followed that up with a double header wahoo of which we caught one.
We went about 30 minutes without a bite before we missed a sailfish, and then caught a neat fish called a rainbow runner (tasty).
At that point we had some good meat for the cooler, and our folks wanted to look for something larger. We switched out to some larger marlin lures, and went offshore into the deeper parts of the gulf stream looking for a billfish. Around 270 fathoms we had a double header white marlin come in and hooked one. Unfortunately we ended up jumping him off a few minutes into the fight.
The current was just right, so we decide to make a daytime drop for swordfish. This is where the day gets interesting. A few minutes after dropping the 12″ squid bait, I marked a good fish on the fish finder that I thought was a swordfish. We cranked the bait up to the depth he was in, and sure enough minutes later we were tight.
For the first 30 minutes of the battle we didn’t know what we had. It could be a sword, it could be a shark, it could be anything else. We gained most of our line back, and were about 30′ from being able to grab the 8lb weight we use to take the bait to the bottom when we finally saw the fish. It semi-jumped about 100 yards behind the boat. Everyone just turned and looked at one another mouths wide open. This was bar none the largest billfish any of us had ever had hooked. A once in a lifetime 800+lb swordfish.
Skip ahead 3 hours, and the tug of war is still going on. This fish had been up within 100 yards of the boat 4 times, and all 4 times had taken off and gone all the way back down over 1000′ immediately after. Just a crazy strong fish.
On one of these runs the fish actually messed up the drag on our reel when it overheated. Due to the drag being in a bad place, and the sun getting low on the horizon, we decided that the next time we got the leader up on the rod, we were going to put the heat to her and either get it or break it off trying.
It was 30 minutes later when we finally inched her back up to the leader (50′ leader) and the mate started wiring her up. We managed to get her up to within 10′ of the boat, but because of where the fish was laying, we were not able to get a good harpoon shot. After about 2 minutes of having her right at the boat, she decided to head back to the deep, and there was nothing we could do to stop her; even after 4 hours of fighting. She lives to fight another day.
Many folks ask why I do what I do. Why go through the harsh weather, low income, hard work, and long hours that it takes to run an offshore charter service. This my friends, is why. You NEVER KNOW when you will find an absolute sea monster roaming the gulf stream.
Until next time my friend…