Fishing trips for Swordfish off the shore of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood can produce a bite in a single day. But more experienced fishermen know their odds increase with a multi-day fishing trip. It just so happens the boys we had out today had fished the previous few days with us. Their first day was a bust as far as Swordfish went. The second day got a few bites but nothing stayed connected. Those first few days happened to be my days off and because of the poor luck, there was talk of staying in tight for some more action. But at the last minute, Chip changed his mind and we were once again headed off shore to where the Swordfish feed during the day. We were in the “Go big or go home” mode.
Dave and Darrin had done the research and with the few bites the day before, we had a good idea where to fish. It’s a long way to the area we fish for Swordfish so we had the high speed lures out for any Marlin that might be around. Our first set we found we were getting too deep too quickly and decided after 45 minutes to reset. Retrieving the bait and making a move in the heavy currents of the Gulf Stream can take almost an hour but we would find out this was to be our day.
Our second set got us a bite. The fish played and billed the bait but eventually lost interest and never ate. We checked the bait and found it was fairly mutilated so we rigged again, got back in front of the fish and dropped again. It didn’t take long until we were connected!
Because of the depth, the size of the gear and pure human resources we use an electric reel for this type of fishing. In many cases the angler sits in the chair and fights the fish just as you would but pushing a button to real rather than cranking with a handle. Many a fish can be lost if the rod is pulled or jerked too quickly or harshly. Chip opted to leave the rod in the covering boards and set the reel to automatic. With the drag set, the reel can do all the work if you wish and Chip opted for another beer. LOL
Once the weight was retrieved and removed from the line, our fish was still 150’ away and down from the boat, we still hadn’t seen him. Now we come to a bit more boat handling to keep the boat in good position. Chip ready with the dart as the fish neared the boat, the dart is merely a safety precaution to have another line attached to the fish. None of these creatures are happy about their first boat ride…
With the dart finally in (it isn’t easy and takes practice) and Darrin on the gaff, our prey was boated and high 5’s all around. 3 full days of fishing and finally Chip’s prize was on board. A nice one too, weighing in at 180 lbs. a 68” short length. (The short length is measured from the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw). The short length makes sure the fish is big enough to legally harvest and there was no doubt with this one.
While it was great having one fish aboard, we were zooming back to where the fish were for a second shot and got that shot shortly after reaching the bottom again. A fairly fierce bite that destroyed the bait and retrieving as fast as we could and resetting for another shot did not pan out. It’s not unusual for these fish to start moving to shallower waters at this time of day to get into position for their night feeding where they come much closer to the surface and we revert to hand cranking them.
I felt lucky and privileged to be part of Chip catching his fish of a life time. And as the sun began sinking in the west, we headed home from our Swordfish fishing trip off Fort Lauderdale. The hours just seem to fade away when you come home with your prize.