One of the great things about daytime Swordfish Trips is the Hollywood Hills is right off shore of us and that gives us a high chance for success. Another great thing about them is our decisions of what to fish for and where have already been made.
Lately fishing in our area has been slow. Our above normal sea temperatures and warm weather has kept the Sailfish we usually catch this time of year north of us. There has been no reason for them to migrate south and while we have been catching some fish, Dolphin, a few Kingfish and so on, the action hasn’t been great. We’re hoping these next two cold fronts make a change in all this.
So when Darren and I found we were headed out for day timing for Swordfish, we were delighted! We loaded up Brad and his dad Jeff and headed out for our long run off shore, well, long for here since most our fish are caught within 2 miles of shore. This trip would take us over 2 hours of running with high speed lures out to get to our fishing grounds.
Fishing for Swordfish during the day is quite involved. We use an electric reel with various spools of different weight line… Usually 80# or 60# if the current is strong. A 15 lbs. weight is also used to help us get the bait down to the bottom and the bait? This must be a work of art. It has to travel through the water so it does not spin and get tangled. There’s nothing worse that retrieving a bait that has spun up and become a jumbled mess of line, lights and hooks.
Our ride to the fishing grounds was uneventful other than one Mahi-mahi we caught as we rounded the corner making ready for our first drop. Jeff did the reeling and Brad was delighted as he had never caught one before. The boys were licking their chops thinking of dinner already. The trolling lines were cleared, the electric reel set up and baited and we began our first deep drop of the day.
It takes about 4 minutes to reach the bottom here in the depth we fish in. Flashing lights that are water activated are used on the leader to attract attention once the bait is down. The glow sticks we use at night cannot handle the pressure of the water here at this kind of depth. The computer readout on the reel says we have about 2300’ of line out and our bait is just off the bottom.
We waited about an hour and while we waited, we put a kite up with a few live Goggle eyes in it just in case another Mahi or maybe something else was around. As we fished, our direction was 1.5 knots to the north even though we were headed south. The Gulf Stream usually runs at better than 3 knots to the north this time of year.
With no bite we decided to bring the bait up and check, just to make sure small fish had not destroyed it or it had tangled on the drop. It takes almost 7 minutes with the electric to retrieve the bait, over 20 if done by hand. And as always, time is our enemy… But the bait was fine and we re-dropped right where we were. We were in the heart of the grounds; all we needed was some cooperation from our prey.
Finally back in place, we again waited for a sign. Seas were subsiding some and as we often do, moving the bait, checking our proximity to the bottom, Darren looked up at me and just gave a grin. He was in the process of dropping down and the weight stopped. It just stopped, way too soon. The rod tip twitched a few times, the button was pushed and held and something was taking drag!
It took over 30 minutes to retrieve the weight, the fish we had on, whatever it was, was still 150’ from the boat and couldn’t be seen. It bit like a Swordy, and was fighting like a Swordy, but you just never know. Sharks, Oil fish, at this depth? It could be all kinds of things. And now? With the weight off? The fun begins. Let’s get a look at what we have on!
About 50’ from the boat we got our first look at our fish. He was up on the surface slashing his bill back and forth. It’s a Swordfish all right and a nice one too. He measured out at 97” overall and weighed I’d guess about 80 lbs. After the long battle he was tired and gave Darren no trouble at the boat with the gaff. Once in the boat the fish was still moving and had to be held down tightly to keep from hurting himself or others.
It doesn’t always go this way, we wish it did. But when it all comes together? It’s a great experience! I’ve been doing this a long, LONG time and I still get chills when landing a fish like this. Imagine how Brad and his dad felt? Their first time…
So while the fishing might not be so great, that doesn’t mean great things can’t happen. And the success we had today off Hollywood on this fishing trip looking for Swordfish certainly will keep me energized for some time to come.
Thanks for listening; I got a little long on this one. LOL