“Bucket List” Swordfish

A German angler sctratches one more Billfish off his list!

August 13, 2009
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Joerg Jager, from Germany, booked us for 2 days of Sword fishing. He decided to split them, taking a day off between. We met at the dock at 6 PM and blasted off a few minutes later. The seas were running about 2-3′ and we had a nice cruise out to the deeper water. Arriving at my favorite drift site, I quickly checked the drift and the line looked very good. The drift was a bit fast at a little over 3 knots and the easterly breeze was pushing us in a little.

Devon and I readied the lines and I motored us back upstream to the starting point. We set out our spread. Everything is looking great as we drift by all the good spots of previous trips. We drifted for a good while and the sonar was showing that we had moved well into a non-productive area. Pull ’em up! Our short float line came in, slashed in half. We never saw any indication of a bite! I powered up The BEAST and made our way south for another drift. This time I set my drift a little deeper to start, trying to prolong the drift over more productive bottom.

Once again, we set out the baits and began the monotony of drift fishing for Swordfish. Nothing much to do but wait, have a little conversation, listen to some reggae, and crank the tip rods up and down. I noticed during the first drift that Joerg was very quiet. During the second drift we was even more quiet and was nodding off to sleep. Nothing is happening and complete boredom has set in now. Suddenly Joerg bolts to the gunnel and starts yelling for “Ralph”. Oh Boy! It might be a short night. Devon and I started discussing the matter, trying to decipher what is going on and what we could change, to up our odds. Joerg is still bent over the rail. We had drifted this line twice for almost 2 hours with only one slashed bait. Strike that! We pulled our lines and found that the deep tip rod had gotten whacked but never once was there any indication of it either.


The game plan gets changed since Joerg is refusing to give it up, I moved to my “go to” drift. Three of the lines already deployed and the deep rod is going down. About 50 feet from its destination I feel the bite. Joerg takes the rod and the fish is swimming to the boat! Reel, Joerg, reel! The line gets tight. He’s feeling the fish’s weight. Suddenly the line goes limp and the fish is gone. Crap! SNAFU! What happened? The bait is intact, just a bit worse for the wear! “Quick, drop it back down, Devon!” Again 50 feet from our desired depth, Devon says, “He ate it!” OK? Feed him! Feed him! Devon let the fish have it until Joerg was ready and then pushed the drag up. FISH ON! Joerg danced one full lap around The BEAST. Well, it looked similar to dancing because he left his sea legs back at the dock! Other than a few quick power runs, the fish seemed content to come to the boat. Devon puts the steel to the fish and we muscle the fish over the rail. Thud! Joerg is all smiles for the moment. Whoops! There he goes again, calling for his imaginary friend, Ralph!

A nice, thick, 60″, 70 pound fish (SWO08/10/2009FL194) is subdued, readied for some photos and then secured for the ride home.


Having a successful Day 1, we took the next day off to ready for Round 2. Day 2 arrives and it is a beautiful evening. Joerg met up with us at the usual 6 PM start time and off we went. The seas were calm, the winds were calm, and the skies were clear. We never had to drop RPM as we made our way into open water to our waypoint, arriving in plenty of time to set up our spread before dusk.

We’re set up and the waiting game begins. Shortly after nightfall we have a hit on the deep rod. That was it! Just a hit. No runs, 1 hit, no errors! We pulled the bait up to see that it was bit in two. The culprit was, most likely, a small night shark judging by the bite marks. We rebaited and sent it down again. No more than 5 minutes passes and we get bit on our other tip rod. Once again we retrieve half of the bait and the donor of the bite was obviously a slightly larger shark. Looks like this drift is going to be a PITA. We drifted this line until we got into unproductive waters. Pull ’em Devon! The deeper of the float lines came in all busted up, with teeth marks. It appears we are experiencing a shark night.

I made a move to Wpt. #2 that worked for us on Joerg’s trip 2 nights before. We deployed the baits and began our drift! Crapola! A slightly different drift due to area currents and slackened breeze. I cut the drift short as I realized that we were not going to hang in the area long enough. I ran The BEAST south to my start point and readjusted slightly for the new drift line. This small change kept us in the zone. 1 mile, 2 miles, and boredom has set in. On and on, we were focused on the floats and rod tips. Conversation and music were our salvation from the monotony. Time runs out and I kept giving it 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes. Finally, an hour after quitting time, I called it a wrap. As it happens so often, we’re clearing lines when I see the deep tip rod bouncing. Fish! Devon takes command of the rod and begins a free spool drop back. Nothing! Go figure! We engaged the reel and brought up the bait. Definitely a Sword bite! The bait is slashed to shreds and balled up on the hook.


We couldn’t catch a break that night. I powered up and made the run in as Devon and Joerg caught some shuteye time. At the dock, he let us know he was happy! He’s had several trips for specific target species that have come up empty. He considered his trips with us a success. He caught a Swordfish on our 1st night, and on this night he didn’t get sick. The only fish remaining in his Billfish quest now, is the Black Marlin. Good luck Joerg! You’ll get him.

Capt. Jim
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