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November Daytime Swordfishing in Islamorada 11/20/14

Well my current “catch streak” finally came to an end here in November 2014. It was a good run, and I had 1 or more swordfish on 16 consecutive trips. The good news is though after missing a few one day, we got back on the board the very next day and have caught them our last 3 trips in a row! So 19 out of 20 trips ain’t too shabby! Back on the 9th we fished with Raymond and his father on a swordfishing charter on the Bn’M II. We had a few cheap bites right away in the morning, but they weren’t eating the bait and they seemed small. The would pull on the bait a few times and then leave. Mid day was very quite too, we went a couple hours with no bites at all. However, we didn’t give up! After lunch we got a bite and the rod loaded up. There was no playing around with the bait. The fish just ate it. We worked the fish up on the hooker electric fishing reel.  It was just a juvenile, but it was the first daytime swordfish Raymond had ever seen so we were happy we got one!

11:9:14 swordfish

The fish had some beautiful colors.  A  brilliant blue down his back, with shiny silvery sides. After a few pics we tossed him back and made another drop. After drifting about 30 minutes we hooked up again. The same bite as the last, the road just slowly bent over and loaded up. This fish pulled hard for his size. I definitely knew it was going to be a keeper, one for Raymond to bring back to his family for dinner, but I wasn’t sure how big. After about 35 minutes we had the fish on the leader. It wasn’t a monster, but it was a keeper! They wanted one for dinner so this was our fish. We gaffed the fish, took some pics, and headed for the marina.

11:9:14 broadbill

The next trip I fished was on the 14th. I had Chad out by himself. I went solo this day without a mate. I rigged and prepped all the baits the day before. The first drop was quite. We checked our bait though and I could see there was a little skin missing off of it. I assume it was a swordfish that grabbed it for a second, but the fish never came back and we never noticed the bite. The good news was there was a fish in the area. The next three hours were boring. We watched the rod tip, hoping we would get a bite at any second. Chad finally said to me he was still enjoying himself because he was still learning the deep drop technique. It wasn’t minutes later and we got our first good bite! Fish on! Chad worked the rod and I drove the boat. Over the next 3 hours we made 5 drops, and managed 4 bites. We were fortunate to call our our bites, catching 4 broadbill in the afternoon alone! They weren’t big fish by any means, but it was good action and the last one of the day was a keeper for dinner!

11:14:14 broadbill release

11:14:14 swordfish rig

11:14:15 swordfish

11:14:14 swordfish charter

My next trip was a couple days later, on the 16th. The wind had picked up considerably on Saturday, but Eddie and Carl was down to go. My Dad, Richard Stanczyk, came along with us this trip. We ran way south, off Marathon. This way we weren’t running right into the sea, and could run side to the waves. After  a couple hours were were finally on the sword ledge. No bites the first drop. The second drop we hooked up. The fight lasted a couple minutes, but then the fish shook off. I figured we’d get a few more shots since we hooked one early, but it was a few hours and multiple spots the next few hours with no luck! We didn’t quit. I rigged two rods. Go big or go home we say sometimes. I put 2 different baits on. We ran all this way and I meant business. We start letting the first rod down. A beautiful ladyfish. we turn the boat, and I deploy the second bait. A minute later I look over at the first rod and notice the line is slack! I told me myself we cant be on the bottom! We lock up the reel and Carl starts working the fish up. I had no idea what it was gonna be. We had 500 of line out. We get the weight off and the fish comes racing to the boat. I grab the fish, and can tell it’s a billfish. At first I said spearfish!

11:16:14 roundscale spearfish

The dorsal was round, as well as the anal fin, which is indicative of a white marlin, but  I have never seen a white marlin with such a high dorsal fin, especially transparent down his back. We take quite a handful of pics and then release him back into the water. After looking at the fish I tell myself white marlin. But I can’t decide. After looking through the pics some pics make it look just like a white marlin, and other pics make it look like a spearfish of some sort. I was leaning towards roundscale spearfish, aka Hatchet Marlin. The only way to tell is to measure the distance from the anal fin to the vent, but since I didn’t I will never know for sure. After sending pics to multiple people, most everyone agrees on white marlin. Even though some pics it doesn’t look like one at all! It’s the first marlin Carl has ever caught so we are stoked!

11:16:14 white marlin

The day wasn’t over yet though! The next drop we send down two rods again. This time we get a bite. The sword hits the bait a few times, but he never eats it. I have them check the bait because I figured the fish destroyed it. While they bring up the first rod I get a bite on the fish bait. It’s a small bite , and the fish hits it 10 times! Finally we hook the fish! Eddie works the reel on this one. After 15 minutes a juvenile swordfish comes up. The fish jumps on the leader a couple times, I take a wrap and try to get the fish close to the boat to get a better pic, but he pulls off. He was a very small sword, maybe 25 lbs. We were happy we got to release a sword now too! We make another drop and nothing. We decided to call it  a day, having got a white marlin while swordfishing! and releasing a broadibll swordfish is a great day fishing off Islamorada! Unfortunately I had to cancel my swordfish trip tomorrow due to the wind, but hopefully I’ll make it out on a couple more daytime swordfish trips before November comes to an end. It’s probably my favorite month for swords, so hopefully I’ll end it on a good not. The winter time can still produce swords, it’s not my favorite time, but if the weather is decent and we go drop we have  shot! Send me an email to floridakeysswordfishing@gmail.com and Let’s get out there together! If it’s too rough to swordfish we can always hit the reef for a little sailfish action too.

Capt. Nick Stanczyk

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