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8/5/14 Broadbill fishing in early August at Bud n’ Mary’s

I fished the last 2 days here in Islamorada for broadbill swordfish. The first day was a little stormy, with rain storms and a couple squalls passing through periodically throughout the day. My expectations really weren’t that high with the conditions we had, because a lot of our slow days are when the weather is unstable. Anyhow we ran out 26 miles and made our first drop in the morning. Sure enough after about 10 minutes of drifting the rod loaded up. It started bending over and you could see life in the rod. There was no playing around with the bait, not the typically whacks we see in the tip. The fish just ate it! I had John, Doug, and Robert out from Texas. Doug was up first. We detached the electric drive from the hooker electric swordfish reel, put the reel into high gear, and strapped Doug into the chair!

photo 1

We were using an 8 lb weight, and the fish was swimming it up without any problems. I know it was going to be a pup. After about 20 minutes we got the wind on leader and unsnapped the weight. Well this is where a lot of swordfish realized they are hooked. The fish dove down 500′ very quickly. Doug reeled him back up to 200′ and the fish went down another 100′. The fish will stay at the thermocline during a lot of fights, and this one did for a little while too. After another 25 minutes Doug worked the fish up and we got the gaffs into a respectable 120 lber!

gaff swordfish bnm

august 4 swordfish

We made a couple more drifts with no bites. I was happy with the given conditions though. We put a fresh bait on and made another drift. Sure enough the rod tip bounced a couple times, and we had a swordfish whacking our bait. We moved the bait around and nothing happened. We gave it another minute and starting bringing it up a little and the rod got a little heavy. We were hooked up. The fished seemed very small when we hooked it, but I figured it was a swordfish. Sometimes they are little guys  from 20 Р30 lbs. Robert was up this time to fight the sword.

hooker electric detachable drive

We got the fish up to 300′ and then the rod really loaded up. I wasn’t sure what was going on. Part of me was hoping it was a big fish that didn’t know he was hooked, but I wasn’t certain. The fight was completely different the last 200′. Robert pumped the fish up in the chair and we could see a dark back coming up, which made us away that we had a fish foul hooked. It wound up being a 50 lb swordy that was snagged near the dorsal fin. He was pulling like a planer the last couple hundred feet which made the fish seem bigger than he was. I was happy, Everyone was happy, we were 2 for 2 on swords!

photo 4

We made another drop without a bite. John said he’d love to make one more drift so we sent down a fresh bait. We didn’t have a bite after 30 minutes and a squall was approaching, so started bringing it up. After getting it a few hundred feet off the bottom we realized we had something on there! John got in the chair to see if he would get his first ever broadbill swordfish! After 15 minutes we had the leader. I saw a fish behind the boat, but it wasn’t a swordfish. It was a deep water oilfish! It was the first one I caught here off Islamorada in 5 years. It was time to go home and it was a rough and wet ride for 5 miles, but after we got through the squall it wasn’t that bad.


Islamorada oilfish

The next trip I had Jack and his son Parker out. Parker wanted to catch a swordfish he explained. In the winter time we got Parker his first sailfish, but I told him swordfish are more elusive, but we would have a good shot if we were patient and put our time in. They had patience and swordfish we did. The morning was quite. Finally a little after lunch time we got a bite. Colby worked the bait. After a minute the key largo swordfish rod loaded up. We were tight! We took the electric drive off the reel after a few minutes and got Parker in the chair. The fish would swim the weight up for a little while, and then it would seem like he was gone. It was tough to tell. I wasn’t certain what was going on. I told them to assume the fish was there and just keep reeling. After about 20 minutes the leader was up. We removed the weight and sure enough there was a fish on the end! A pretty swordfish came to the surface swinging his bill. It was about a 60 lber.

august 5 swordfish

Mission accomplished! We took some pics and made another drop. We didn’t get a bite so I asked if they wanted to do something different on the way in towards home. They all agreed so I said we could deep drop for tilefish and grouper. It couldn’t have worked out any better. The first drift we sent down two rods, and after 5 minutes we were hooked up. I thought it was a big grouper at first, since it was fighting hard, but it continued to fight almost the whole way up. Near the end I thought it might be a small shark. I kept my fingers crossed, and when I walked back there we could see a big yellowedge grouper coming up! He hit the surface and it was a nice 27 lber! What a fish!

27 lb yellowedge grouper

islamorada yellowedge grouper

We made one more drift and Parker got a nice blueline tilefish around 7 lbs. It was a good day, with some variety and time to head to the dock. I do have my current boat, Bn’M II listed for sale, so if anyone is interested in a 36′ jersey devil express sportfish for sale check out the listing! email me at if you’d like to get out and we’ll see if we can’t set up a trip. The Fall months are some of the best for swordfish here.

Capt. Nick Stanczyk



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