Well, we had never caught a sword so we decided it was time. Me, Allen and special guest Ferdi loaded up the FN Pair-A-Dice Monday and headed south to try our hand. Ferdi is over visiting from Germany and he was a good man to have along and the only one of the three of us to ever catch a sword before so we welcomed his experienced hand.
The weather was wonderful and we had a great afternoon run to the swordfish grounds. We got there early enough to troll before sunset in hopes of a wahoo or billfish. We had one knockdown on the Moldcraft Wide Range, but never saw the fish. Other than that it was quiet, but the sunset was spectacular and reminded us there are many reasons we like to be on the water, other than just the great northern Gulf of Mexico fishing.
We had our satellite report from FishTrack.com so the crew studied the report and agreed on the right place to put out our swordfish spread. Fish Track is a cool service (They are not a sponsor. I am not getting paid by them etc…., but they are letting me try out the service) similar to Bluewater Supermap, Hiltons, RipCharts, or Roffers (All of which I use and like). These services are extremely helpful in identifying the best places to target fish and help save you fuel by giving you advance intelligence on where to go. I will do a blog on these at a later date.
So we set up our drift in a slow current under 1 mile per hour with baits in the water by 9:00 PM. We had the underwater light on, but other than three or four of the biggest flying fish I have ever seen, there was not a lot of bait showing up. A little after 10:00 PM, the clicker started going off slowly on the 50 wide deployed off the bow. I got on it, started to reel up the slack in the line and FISH ON! While I was hooked up, it did not feel like much of a fish and I did not know if it was a sword. A few minutes later, however, whatever it was realized it was hooked and start peeling 50 lb test off the reel with impunity. Now I knew it was either a good size shark or sword and I was in for a long fight.
I have to say my wife came through again. She bought me a full harness for my fishing belt a few months back and there was no way I could have managed the rod on this fish without it. It was kicking my butt! About an hour and fifteen minutes after hooking up we could finally see the disco light (also supplied by wife Lisa) attached to the leader flashing down in the water under the boat and had the leader in hand shortly thereafter. I was relieved as I was running out of steam, but my heart sank when the fish surged away from the boat and the disco light faded into oblivion as the line once again began melting off the reel. I honestly was not sure I had it in me to gain that line back, but the fish was tired too and I was able to get it to the boat a few minutes later.
We again had the leader. Ferdi was leader man and Allen was on the gaff, but with only three of us we did not have an extra hand to drive the boat and were dead in the water. The fish took advantage of that, pulling the leader into the IPS units under the boat. We could not get her out so we let go of the leader and backed off the drag and dropped the rod tip under the boat. Just like on TV, she swam right out and the fight was back on. Once again she peeled off a good bit of line, but the disco light was still visible and it was clear she was wearing out. I had her on the surface off the bow when she turned and made a mad dash for the IPS units. Are you kidding me!?! This fish is tired, but she knows how to make us work. As Ferdi grabs the leader and tries to clear the fish I see her bill stick up behind the transom. She has gone between the IPS units and come up behind the boat. I’m yelling: “She’s off the transom, gaff that &!@#% now!” Boom! Ferdi has the gaff in her and Allen has the bill and she is over the rail and on the deck. WooHoo! First Sword and she is a nice one. Those guys did a great job getting that fish and we were all stoked. Now its time for pictures and a celebratory adult beverage.
We got her on ice, set up a new drift and put the baits back out. Speaking of bait, we were fishing Baitmasters circle hook rigged squid. (Again, they are not a sponsor, are not paying me, etc…, it’s just where we ordered bait). Gotta shout out to Baitmasters because their bait is always in great shape and holds up incredibly well. Look at that circle hook right in the corner of the jaw and it was stuck because I was puttin’ the heat to that fish for more than an hour and a half.
For a while, after we landed the sword, things were slow for us, but two other boats had hooked up within a minute or two of each other and were both in fights that would not end for two and a half and three and a half hours. About 4:00 AM, the clicker starts going on Allen’s rod. He feeds the fish and then starts reeling up the slack, but is not hooked up. Or is he? As the disco light comes into view, we see another big sword coming up with it, but she turns off and swims around the transom of the boat. She had not eaten the bait, but she was thinking about it. Within another minute or two there is a big hit on Ferdi’s rod, but no hook up. He and Allen are working baits in the water trying to get that hookup, but the fish is gone and so is most of Ferdi’s squid. I know one thing, if another sword was hooking up that night, I was not going to be the one to fight her!
Ferdi did have another hit, but it turned out to be a nice Blackfin Tuna.
This BFT was really strange. It did not fight at all. It didn’t swim to the boat either. In fact it was like it never kicked its tail at all until it was in the boat. It was like it just went limp. Very odd.
At sunrise we put the trolling spread again and went in search of other quarry. Things were slow for us but we had an unexpected, but very trusting little visitor.
Arr matey…, made me feel a bit like a pirate. Allen did manage to get us a decent gaffer dolphin though to finish off the morning.
With a lot of work to clean the boat and fish, we decided to head back early. So we flew the flags proudly as we entered the pass.
Tonight we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
It was a fun trip. It’s always neat to try something new and have it all come together. As soon as the weather stops cooperating and I can’t go fishing for a week, I’ll get another “how to” blog up. Now that I am an expert experienced sword fisherman ;), I can blog the “how to” on that so you too can catch em up! P.S. If you are enjoying reading the blog, please register to follow with the “Register” link in the right margin.