It was a helluva night at sea Friday night aboard the Catch My Drift. We ran our monthly Friday Night Swordfishing Trip on 1/2/09 and as you can see by the photo above, Mission Accomplished! The crew that night was Captain Adam Reckert and Captain Josh Mahan. There were 13 folks signed up for the trip and the weather was wonderful. We had about a 10 knot wind out of the South East, which aboard the 85′ Catch My Drift is perfect weather for swordfishing. The trip started off on time at 6PM and we motored out the inlet and south easterly towards swordfish grounds, 15 miles offshore. Josh was working the deck and was busy rigging up the lines for the hour and a half run out. Captain Adam was on the wheel and listened on the radio for some good info about the bite so far out there.
It was dark by the time we made it out to fishing grounds. We were in the middle of the gulfstream and we could see the lights of Miami faintly along the shoreline. Captain Adam set up on some GPS numbers where we’ve had luck in the past. He killed the engines and went down to assist Josh and the anglers with putting out the lines. We had gotten 7 lines out so far. Each line was marked with a marker buoy that held the bait at the desired depth. Each marker buoy had a different color light on it and the seventh bait out had the red light. Josh was helping one of the anglers put out the eighth bait when we hear someone yell, “Where’s the Red Buoy??” Captain Adam yelled, “Reeeeel! Wind! It’s Him!” The angler reeled and quickly came tight to the fish. Instantly, the angler was on his toes and hanging onto the rod for dear life. The fish was running off drag as if the reel was in free spool. Josh ran to get the angler suited up with the fighting belt and Captain Adam ran up to the wheelhouse. He knew we would have to chase this fish down to catch him.
Josh heard the engines start up and knew what that meant. Josh shouted, “Everybody wind in fast, we’re going to have to chase this fish down.” Great team effort by everyone because by this time, the fish had pulled off most of the line off the reel. Captain Adam was forced to start chasing the fish down before we even had all the other lines in. The angler moved up towards the bow pulpit and Captain Adam moved the boat in the direction the line was headed. The rest of the anglers got their lines in, and we began the fight. We had only just begun.
It was about 20 minutes into fighting the fish, when the first angler was spent. He was exhausted from hooking the fish and holding on to all that tension as the fish made his initial runs. After 20 minutes of trying to do battle with this beast, he was too tired to go on. Fortunately, we had 12 fresh anglers all ready to jump in and help fight the fish. We rotated every 10 or 20 minutes as the anglers would tire out. This was not an ordinary swordfish. We knew by now that the fish was very large and extremely strong, but we had not seen it yet and still did not know what species it was. Giant fish you can catch while swordfishing are swordfish, sharks (a bunch of different species), marlin, or tuna. We had out hopes up it was a giant swordfish, but there was no telling at this point.
A couple muscle grinding hours later and everyone was begining to think this fish was just too large and too strong to catch. We had him on a Penn 80W International, which is one of the absolute best big game reels you can have a fish like this on. We catch all our swordfish aboard the Catch My Drift using a fighting harness belt, standing up. We have a great harness that we use, that redirects the weight from the upper and lower back and redistributes it from the butt and legs. Still, with a fish this size and strength, it is very tiring. After 3 hours of fighting the fish like this, Capt. Adam decided to tighten the drag and either make or break the fish.
Milking the line, a foot at a time, they finally got the fish to the boat. 4 and a half hours of fighting the fish and we finally saw the fish we were dealing with. The fish was foul hooked from the very begining, hooked in the dorsal fin. The line had gotten wrapped in his tail somewhere in the fight. The fish came in backwards and finally drowned. Adam leadered the fish close to the boat and Josh stuck him with the flying gaff. A couple other gaffs went into the fish which our customers held and we dragged him to the boarding door. It took the strength of everyone aboard to pull this fish in the boat. No one could believe how big this fish was and that we actually caught him. Even those who thought there was no way we were going to catch this fish came over and hugged the crew. It was an awesome experience.
The ride back to dock was noted with hundreds of flashes going off as those with cameras snapped shot after shot of them posing with the huge swordfish. When we reached the dock, everyone was exhausted, both from fighting the fish and because it was 3 o’clock in the morning. Captain Adam roped the tail of the fish and swung it over the 10 ft. high Gin Pole. Everyone hoisted the fish up as high as the pole would let us, but the fish still touched the ground. This swordfish was over 12 feet long and estimated at over 450 pounds. We got lots of photos of the fish hanging and then Josh and Adam went to work on the massive job of fileting the fish.
We left the fish hanging which suprisingly made the job of fileting the fish quite easy. Any swordfish caught on this swordfishing trip gets divided among everyone that came. There was so much meat, everyone who came will be eating good for a while. This trip was a big game fishing experience of a lifetime. Thanks to all that came and congratulations on a tremendous swordfish.