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10/11/15 October Swordfish Report

Well I haven’t been swordfishing much the past month here, but I did get out twice at the end of last week. The first day I had Angler Stephanie Choate and her friend Lindsea out. Stephanie has already caught all the billfish species for the IGFA Royal Slam, but she wanted to do it in one calendar year. So in 2015 she had caught every billfish species following IGFA rules, except a swordfish! So we rigged up the shimano tyrnos 50 wide with 65 lb braid and a top shot of 80 lb mono. We used the big electric as a down rigger with 12 lbs of weight. We headed 35 miles off Islamorada and had our first bait down by 9:45 am. We drifted an hour but no bites. We ran back south and set up for another drift. About 20 minutes in to the drift both rods bent over! We were hooked up! Stephanie moved the 50 wide into the chair and Charlie started bringing up the electric down rigger. The fish pulled pretty good in the beginning of the fight. Stephanie was patient and gained when she could. After 10 minutes the fish slowed down and came up slow and steady. It didn’t race up like a good size fish usually does, so I wasn’t sure what was going on.

10/8/15 fight swordfish

10/8/15 fight swordfish

After 25 minutes of cranking Stephanie had the 30′ leader close to the boat. Charlie reached out and got the release on the fish, and we realized the fish was tail wrapped. That explained why the fish pulled really good in the beginning and then just was steady weight. We pulled the 45 lb fish in the boat, put a gray fish tag and a noaa fish tag in him, took a quick pic, and then revived him by the boat for a minute. The fish appeared to be healthy and swam away strong. Everyone was excited because the swordfish was the final fish for Stephanie’s 2015 IGFA Royal Billfish Slam! C0ngrats!

10/15/15 tagged swordfish

10/15/15 tagged swordfish

Next up was her friend Lindsea. We ran back south and made the same drift again. This time the bait came out of the down rigger after a couple minutes, so Charlie started bringing up the electric. The 50 wide bent over and a swordfish nailed the bait. Lindsea cranked down, but after a few seconds the fish was gone. We made some more drift the next couple hours with no bites. We changed our technique and went to a Venezuela style rig, with a heavy weight tied to the hook and a smaller weight up top. We started rocketing down baits, breaking off the heavy weight, and letting the bait float around with a few pounds of lead. At the third spot we got a tap. The fish hit the bait at least 10 times. Lindsea moved the bait, trying different techniques to hook the fish, but the fish refused to eat the bait. After 5 minutes of playing around with the bait the fish left and we checked the bait. We made a couple more drops after that but no luck. I told the girls we could run back to the first spot and do one more quick drift. They all agreed so we made the move. We rocketed down a squid and Lindsea sat by the rod. When 5 pm came around I said “2 minute warning”. I knew we still had a 2 hour ride home. A few seconds later the rod tip bounced. We had a sword whacking the bait. She moved the bait and the rod doubled over! She was hooked up! Lindsea moved to the chair and went to work. She had over 2000′ of line out, so it’s a lot of cranking to get the fish up. A lot of them swim to the surface, but sometimes the small fish don’t come up fast. Well after 20 minutes of cranking she had her first swordfish boat side. Charlie grabbed the leader and I put a tag in the fish. The fish was about 25 lbs. We took a pic and then released the fish. Lindsea was ecstatic because it was her first ever swordfish!! Even though it was a small one it was still a mile stone in her fishing career! Congrats!!

10/8/15 broadbill

10/8/15 broadbill

 

The next trip I took my friend Charlie out aboard the 24′ bay boat. We had calm weather and it’s always exciting to go offshore in a smaller boat. We also brought Kevin out, who is a professional photographer. The first few drops were quiet with no action on the sword rod. We did catch a mahi that swam up. Finally a little after lunch time we hooked up. Charlie wanted to stand up and fight the fish, so we put the 80 wide in the harness and he went to work. We didn’t have a break away weight on, so it was the fish plus the 8 lb lead.

10/9/15 stand up swordfish

10/9/15 stand up swordfish

It was a serious workout the next 25 minutes, but in the end Charlie had a 35 lb swordfish next to the boat. Kevin jumped in and took some pics, and I took some video of the fish underwater. After a few minutes we tagged the fish and sent him on his way. We ran back south and reset for another drop. We hooked up again in a matter of minutes.

10/9/15 underwater tagged swordfish

10/9/15 underwater tagged swordfish

Charlie went to work again in the stand up harness. The fish didn’t move much, so I had a feeling the fish was foul hooked. Over the next 30 minutes we gained steady, and finally got the lead off. Sure enough we had a small sword, around 20 lbs. The fish was lassoed around his body, and the hook was in the dorsal fin. That explained the uneventful fight. We took some more pics, tagged the fish, and revived him.

10/9/15 underwater broadbill

10/9/15 underwater broadbill

We ran back down and made another drop. We drifted 30 minutes without a bite and then the rod just bent over. Charlie was exhausted, so we just used the electric this time. The fish came up pretty steady, so I knew it was atleast a keeper. After 15 minutes we had a 75 lb swordfish thrashing around the boat. We all decided we wanted one for dinner so we gaffed the fish and held it boatside.

10/9/15 broadbill swordfish

10/9/15 broadbill swordfish

Kevin jumped in and took some pics, so I can’t wait to see those. We made two more drifts but the bite was over. They rallied for a couple hours and shut down. We made them count though, and when big game fishing that’s the difference between the good days and slow days, making your bites count!

I still have some days available on the Bn’M in November , so send me an email to floridakeysswordfishing@gmail.com if ¬†you want to try your luck for a swordfish!

Tight lines

Capt. Nick Stanczyk

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Catch22 daylight-swordfishing charter

Catch22

Full-Day $1,400
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Reservation fee for Swordfishing Charter - boat “Catch22”
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BnM

Full-Day $1,000
Half-Day $650
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Reservation fee for Swordfishing Charter - boat BnM
Booking fee: $500