The Weighmaster’s Report

Over the past year I have been passionately gathering information and purchasing fishing gear for Swordfishing. It requires a commitment both in cost of equipment, rigging, deployment, and time on the water to fish for them. The chances are roughly 1 in 10 trips to be successful, but on every trip hopefully you will learn something that helps the process. 

 We had experienced several slashed baits and smashed up weights during our attempts, but had not connected with a fish. On November 25th my friend Kyle and I got the chance to put all that knowledge to work. Somewhere West of the 9 Mile Bank, out in some Very Deep Water we saw the conditions we were looking for. We set up and deployed 2 baits, one Buoy Rod 100 yds behind the boat and one Tip Rod straight down.

About 2 hours later I noticed the buoy doing something unusual it was floating out of position. A Swordfish had eaten the bait and was calmly swimming away with it and the 8 lbs of Lead.

I began to retrieve the line when the buoy fell over indicating that the fish was swimming the lead up to the surface – we were ON.

We quickly prepared the deck and cleared the other rod. Then the reel slowly caught up to the slack line as the fish was swimming to the surface. It was unnerving that it was not fighting – it never took a foot of line off the reel the entire way up from 1000 feet down, until it got 40 feet below us.

The fish kicked it’s tail hard and in a couple of seconds it breached it’s entire body out of the water slashing it’s bill behind us. It had all it’s energy to beat us up! For the next 30 minutes Kyle was driving the boat to keep the fish off us as it made runs at the boat. The fish never went below 40 feet deep the whole time. It would just slash side to side violently underwater and made 5 more jumps very close to the boat.

As we gained line and were able to bring the fish within 8 feet from the boat I was able to harpoon the fish. (I possess a Commercial California Swordfish Permit as well as Federal Harpoon and Hook and Line Swordfish Permit)

– The harpoon did nothing but make it mad – Kyle used a Flying Gaff in it’s head and cleated it off, I straight gaffed it in the head, then Kyle straight gaff it’s tail trying to tail rope it but it bent out his gaff, he re-gaffed it and was able to tail rope the fish. For the next 10 minutes albeit tied and wearing all that hardware the fish pounded the side of my boat.

I have never seen a fish exhibit so much power. Lots of emotion and a good amount of time before we brought the fish onboard.

As rewarding as this accomplishment may be, It does not qualify for MBMC or IGFA Awards.

Most times these fish are fish with a rod in the rod holder, or the use of electric reels. The use of non approved equipment or techniques would further disqualify a catch.

But that’s not to say it could not be done, I’m confident it can with the right equipment and crew making a deliberate attempt.

 – Maybe on the next one.

Tight Lines

Billy Vitale