Another Huge Swordfish Landed Off Florida Keys

Another Huge Swordfish Landed Off Florida Keys
The crew of the Mystique poses with their huge swordfish. (Courtesy FlaKeys.com)

Mystique crew reels in 683.8-pounder off Marathon

MARATHON, Fla. – Less than 10 days after a 520-pound swordfish was caught, aneven bigger broadbill has been reeled in off the Florida Keys.

Fishing on the Mystique, a 61-foot Viking owned by Katherine MacMillan,Marathon captain Billy Rabito Jr. presided over the catch of a 683.8-poundbroadbill hooked some 30 miles to the south of Marathon Tuesday afternoon. Theapproximate length and girth on the fish was 107 and 70 inches respectively,Rabito said.

He added that the length measurement was taken between the lower jaw and thefork of the tail (normal for measuring fish) and that the overall length of thebroadbill including its bill and tail was much longer.

The fish bit a whole 5-pound bonito hooked to 80-pound braid, spooled on anelectric Shimano Tiagra reel. Mike Driskell, the boat's mate who lives on LittleTorch Key, manned the reel.


It was weighed on a scale, recently certified by the International Game FishAssociation and the State of Florida, according to Byron Goss, co-owner of BigTime Bait & Tackle in Marathon, who witnessed the weigh-in at Key ColonyBeach Marina. About 150 spectators, who gathered for the weigh-in, were treatedto complimentary fresh swordfish steaks, Rabito said.


Rabito said it took about two hours to bring the big broadbill to the boatand additional time to get the fish onboard through the boat's large transomtuna door with the aid of an anchor windlass. Everyone on the boat, includingMacMillan, helped to get the swordfish into the cockpit.


"I feel blessed to have hooked that fish, keep it hooked and get it to theboat," said Rabito, a second-generation Keys captain who has been fishingprofessionally for the past 22 years. "Daytime fish can often come unhooked, soit's the opportunity of a lifetime."

The fish was the second swordfish more than 500 pounds caught off the FloridaKeys within 10 days and is believed to be the largest ever caught in Keys watersduring daytime hours.

On Sunday, March 25, Caribsea Captain Kenny Spaulding, a third-generationKeys charterboat captain, led angler Fred Beshara, 67, to a 520-pound broadbilloff Islamorada caught on a Daiwa Dendoh MP3000 electric power-assist reel.


"It shows that the big fish are here (off the Keys)," said veteran Keyscharterboat skipper Jim Sharpe.

The fish won't qualify for either a state or IGFA record because it wascaught on an electric reel. Thus a 612.75-pound broadbill caught off Key Largoat night May 7, 1978, will continue to be the official state record, accordingto the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission data.

Rabito said when he first saw the fish, he knew it was big and would weighmore than 500 pounds, but didn't think it would approach 700 pounds.


"I've caught lots of swordfish, including many 300-pounders and I've beenwaiting to get a big fish," he said.

Modern sportfishing techniques for daytime swordfishing were pioneered in theKeys about 10 years ago by Islamorada sportfishing professionals RichardStanczyk, his brother Scott and Vic Gaspeny. Rabito lauded their efforts thathave created a whole new big game sportfishing opportunity for Keys-boundanglers.

"I tip my hat to all the guys who have pioneered this thing," Rabito said."It has paved the path for the younger guys and gives you great respect forthose that went out there, spent a lot of time and experimented."

Recommended for You

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on. Bass

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for walleyes in early summer. Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

 Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the day; Catfish

Catfish Night & Day: How to Catch 'Em Both Ways

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×