April 05, 2012
Just a few weeks after a 520-pound swordfish was caught in the Florida Keys, the region has now seen another big broadbill.
Billy Rabito Jr., a Marathon, Fla., native and captain of the 61-foot Viking, Mystique, presided over the catch of a 683-pound swordfish Tuesday about 30 miles south of Marathon.
Mike Driskell of Little Torch Key, Fla., manned the reel, an electric Shimano Tiagra with an 80-pound braid baited with a 5-pound bonito.
The broadbill put up a two-hour fight, Rabito said, and some additional time was needed to bring the fish onboard through the boat's transom tuna door. Rabito said everyone onboard, including the Mystique's owner, Katherine Macmillan, helped pull the fish onboard.
The massive swordfish is certainly big enough to be a state record -- beating the 612.75-pounder caught May 7, 1978, near Key Largo -- but Rabito's catch will not qualify for a state or IGFA record because it was landed with an electric reel.
The world record swordfish, according to the IGFA, was a 1,182-pounder caught by Louis Marron on May 7, 1953, near Iquique, Chile.