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7/26/14 Broadbill Swordfish report for Islamorada

We had¬† good weather here the last couple weeks in Islamorada for the most part. Of course we did have our summer thunderstorms which would bring rain, some clouds, and a little bit of unwanted lightning around, but the storms have been spread out and after 20 or 30 minutes they would pass through and the sun would come back out. I fished 4 daytime swordfish trips the last 9 days, and the bite was a little slower than early July, we had 1 sword bite on each of the first 3 trips, and unfortunately no sword bites our last trip. I always say the difference in a great trip and a slow trip is whether or not you catch that bite, and after catching swords 8 trips in a row the streak ended. We fought a sword on the 18th for right an hour, which seemed like a nice fish, but once we got him 200′ away he shook free. Our next bite that day came at 4 p.m., as we were letting the bait down and were at 1200′ down. The weight stopped an the line went slack. I figured we had a sword on, but it turned out to be a big sailfish! It was the first sailfish we’ve caught on the swordfish rod, so it was still an interesting day. We also had a few mahi and some blackfin tuna.


My next trip was shooting a tv show a few days later. The weather was stormy in the morning, which I didn’t like. We had big rain squalls push through, and there was some lightning around as well. By lunch time it finally cleared up and we ran out to make some swordfish drops. In the morning we caught around 15 mahi, so a fresh mahi belly was the bait of choice. On the second drop we got a bite. The rod loaded up and we had a fish on. Unfortunately the excitement was short lived because the hook pulled a minute later. We made two more drops without a bite. The next day I ran to a different area to try to swordfish. We caught a handful of mahi and blackfin tuna on the way out. First drop we get the bait down, and after about 10 minutes the rod slowly loads up. We were tight!

7:22:14 fight sword

We played with the fish for a few minutes on the hooker electric handcrank special reel, and after we felt like the fish was coming up we detached the electric motor with the two push pins and got Michele in the chair to battle her first broadbill! She did a great job fighting the fish, and after 2o minutes we had the fish on the leader. It turned out to be a nice fish, around 150 lbs.

7:22:14 swordfish

transom shot swordfish

It was also a learning experience for Cody and Michele so they can go back to Texas and get in on the daytime swordfishing action over there. We made another drop at the same spot but no bite. Next drift I moved to a little different piece of bottom. After about 15 minutes I saw a big bite in the rod tip. It moved atleast 4 – 5”. Nothing happened for a few minutes. It made me question whether or not I saw something. Sure enough a couple more minutes passed and the rod loaded up. First mate Colby thought we snagged bottom, but I saw it’s a fish. A big fish. The fish smoked drag on the bottom for 5 minutes straight. Then it started moving around. It was heavy, and it was big, whatever it was. I was certain it was a swordfish, as it made fast moves up into the water column. We detached the electric drive and got Cody in the Chair.

7:22:14 hooker electric

I thought we might have “Fred” on. Fred’s the giant swordfish we have been chasing since we started daytime swordfishing here in the USA. After and hour and fifteen minutes we had the wind on leader on the reel. We had the harpoon, the flying gaff, and the straight gaffs ready. After a couple more minutes I realized it wasn’t Fred. It was a giant big eye thresher shark. We got some great pictures, and let the beast go to fight another day. I estimate him around 350 lbs. It’s only the 3rd one I’ve caught in 9 years, so they are a rare catch.

bigeye thresher shark

big eye thresher shark 2

bigeye thresher shark underwater

We got a couple great underwater shots and the shark went back down to the deep. It was an exciting day with Michele getting her first broadbill and Cody getting a monster thresher. We made one more drift but had no bite. The next day I fished a father/son trip who were down here from Germany. They understood that swordfishing was big game fishing and we were hoping to get a bite or two, but there was no guarantees. The third drop of the day we hooked up. The fish fought good down deep, so I figured it was a nice swordfish. After an hour we had the fish on the leader. It was not a swordfish though, it was a 150 lb hammerhead shark! It was the first hammerhead I have ever caught deep dropping for swordfish, but Nicholas was still happy catching it, so that made it worth the trip. We made  4 more drops, but no bites.

7:23:14 hammerhead

I think the fishing will pick back up as we get into August, and the Fall is when we see some of our best broadbill fishing here in the Florida Keys. Let me know if you would like to try your luck on a daytime swordfish charter here in Islamorada!

Capt. Nick Stanczyk


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