We headed out Saturday morning with Brendin Page, Zack Page, Johnny Gondol, Thomas Bishop, Kent Philips and myself on board to have another go around with sword fishing.
We skipped our usual trolling at the ledge and headed straight to deep water for some daytime dropping in roughly 1,700 feet of water. At these depths we can only fish one line at a time and we use about a 15 lb. weight to get the bait to the bottom. On the second drop, Brendin hooked up with something big. We strapped him in to the gimbal belt and harness and it was game on. For the first two hours it was a lot of give and take and then Brendin started to make some headway. As the battle ensued Brendin’s hands started cramping up and the next thing we know he started with the dry heaves and then was just straight up throwing up. Keep in mind he’s strapped to the rod and reel with a harness and he’s doing this all while trying to reel and fight the fish. I’m glad we have raw water wash down in the boat.
After about 4 hours, not only were his hands cramping but his legs were shaking uncontrollably and once again he started with the dry heaves. He lost his concentration and let the line slack just for a second and that’s all the fish needed to shake the hook. We all sat in disbelief that the fish was gone just like that. Brendin crumpled to the floor and asked for more water. The fight had taken us 14 miles from where we started and the sun was starting to set. We headed back to the same area to set up for some night fishing.
Things were pretty uneventful so we broke out the grill and cooked up some burgers. Brendin was the first to fall asleep and one by one everyone started to doze off until it was just Johnny and I working the lines. Around midnight I saw one of the rod tips shaking a little bit so I picked it up to check it out. It felt like something was just shaking the line until I felt a steady pull. I set the hook and it was fish on! It didn’t put up a big fight but Johnny had the gaff at the ready when the fish finally broke the water about 15 feet away. It was thrashing its head around with the bill sticking out of the water. I could see that it was a small swordfish but Johnny couldn’t quite make out what it was. As I reeled it closer to the boat I told him to get rid of the gaff and just grab his bill. In one motion he pulled the swordfish over the side into the boat. We high fived each other and started to hoot and holler, waking everyone else on the boat back up. We took a few pictures, measured it to confirm it was too small to keep and then revived it before sending it back down into the darkness.
Now everyone was wide awake and ready to go. We had three lines out when Brendin had something grab one of his baits and head straight for the bottom, peeling off probably close to 400 yards before slowing down. Unfortunately it pulled loose soon after. Not even ten minutes after resetting his line Brendin had another fish on. He fought it for about 15 minutes before he got it to the boat. In short order we had it gaffed, pictures taken, packed it in ice and got the lines back out.
About an hour later Brendin shouted out that there was a swordfish jumping near the front of the boat with a glow stick attached to the line and that everyone needed to start reeling to find out who was hooked up. Thomas came tight with the fish and set the hook. Fish on. After another 15 minute fight we had our second keeper swordfish in the boat. We set up for one last drift before it started getting light. We had one more fish on but lost him after just a few minutes. Fuel was now becoming an issue so we headed back into the ledge for a little bit of trolling before the long run in. We caught two bonita and lost a decent size mahi at boat side. Everyone was exhausted so we cleaned up the boat a little and broke out the bean bags. We had two swordfish on ice and released another. Not a bad trip. The ocean was calm so I throttled us up, cranked up the tunes and headed for the hill. No state record again but we didn’t really care because we had such a great time and it makes such a good excuse to go back again!