The Origination of Modern Daytime Swordfishing
"Daytime swordfishing is exploding worldwide! What a ride it has been so far and we have only scratched the surface of fishing in the abyss near the bottom of the sea."
Anytime I think about catching a swordfish in broad daylight I immediately think back to times when it was not even really considered in our modern day times. I had heard about guys catching them in Venezuela years earlier but the idea of day dropping was not on the radar. We were stuck thinking inside the box fishing at night and we were catching fish. The recreational night time swordfish boom had begun as the longline vessels were pushed out of our area.
We spent years at night catching swordfish and we were happy. I think about jumps in the moonlight and lightsticks racing across the surface hoping to catch a glimpse of the swordfish towing it around. I always wanted to see the fish clearly but we never really could until the fight was over and even then you never really saw the beauty of the fish in the darkness. As the years went by the night swordfish boom slowly faded as guys seemed to have the attitude of “been there done that”. Lots of anglers had success but those who struggled catching swords at night would give up because it was tough to recover from. Fishing all night and having to work a day job is tough. As we entered the early 2000's recreational swordfishing was stagnant and maybe a bit on the decline.
In later months of 2005 I received a call from one of my friends who had fished with me for night swords aboard the “Bill Collector”. He was overly excited and said he really needed to talk to me and to come to his shop quickly. When I arrived he waved me into his office and swiftly closed the door behind me. I sat down in front of him and he told me I could not tell anybody about what he was going to show me next. I agreed anxiously as he pulled a picture from his desk. It was a picture of him lying next to a swordfish that looked to be around 400lbs. As I looked up from the picture I noticed my buddy leaning back sideways in his chair with the biggest grin I had ever seen on his face. He was looking at me strangely waiting for a response. I was impressed by the fish but missed the point. I assumed he had fought the fish for a long time and landed it sometime in the morning as the picture was taken in the daylight. I was not following where he was going.
I had fought and caught swords into the early morning hours before. What he told me next would change my life forever. He leaned up from his chair and pointed to the swordfish in the picture and said that he caught the fish on his first drop to the bottom during the day off of Ft. Lauderdale. He said he dropped monofilament all the way to the bottom; the rod bent over and after a long epic battle caught this sword! I sat there in amazement probably quiet. He continued telling me that his close friends in the Keys had been catching them and they had not told anyone about their success. They had caught several fish at this point and told him about it. He asked me not to say anything so I obliged and did not say anything for some time. Eventually the Keys boys broke their silence and told everyone what they had been up to. They had gone out fishing with the intent on catching a broadbill swordfish in the daytime. They dropped monofilament to the bottom nearly emptying the reel. The rod loaded a bit and they began the long hand crank retrieve. After what seemed like hours they wound up catching what would be the first daytime swordfish in the modern day era.
Vic Gaspeny, Richard Stanczyk, Scott Stanczyk and Nick Stanczyk are to be given all the credit for igniting modern day swordfishing. If it was not for them we would probably still be drifting and dreaming at night. They also said that if they did not catch that fish on their first drop they would have never dropped again. Let that sink in for a minute. How things would be different.
I began fishing in the daytime later that next week after seeing my friend’s picture. I experimented with 130lb braid and a Lindgren Pitman electric reel as I knew I needed to cut the heavy current and have plenty of line to reach bottom in the deep. I wrote everything I did down in a logbook during and after every trip. I would drop and get bites not really knowing if I was getting swordfish bites. The rod would tap several times and I would move the bait around but I could never stay connected to whatever was bouncing the rod. I did not get lucky and catch one on my first, second or 10th trip. I struggled to hook whatever was down there and would lose them all. I would wind my squid bait up and have nothing left but the hook. I was not fishing a skirt of even using floss. The down time winding the bait up was brutal so I created a rig that had two squids set 100 feet apart. My thought process was that if I missed him on one bait I could leave the rig down and he would find the second bait shortly thereafter. It worked! They would take my first squid and enjoy it to the point where they would eat the second squid more aggressively. On my 11th trip I caught my first daytime swordfish about 150lbs.
Since catching my first daytime swordfish in late 2005 I have put in endless amounts of time and effort into thinking about how to conquer catching swords in the daylight. The experiences of myself and a few others would be the beginnings of what would change the lives of so many. Daytime swordfishing is the greatest thing that I have ever experienced as a fisherman. I am so happy to have been a part of something that has brought so many anglers joy. I have taught my techniques worldwide and have had success catching day swords nearly every place that I have traveled. I have game planned with some of the world’s greatest fishermen.
Daytime swordfishing is exploding worldwide! What a ride it has been so far and we have only scratched the surface of fishing in the abyss near the bottom of the sea.
- RJ Boyle
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