Crew aboard the 100 Proof land monster 440-pound swordfish after four-hour fight
After fishing all day, they weren’t done yet. Capt. Allen Staples and crew aboard the 100 Proof hauled in a 440.1-pound swordfish at 6:30 a.m. Monday after a four-hour fight.
The angler on the rod was Brent Evans of Arkansas. Staples said, Evans likes to come and fish for big fish, and hardly ever keeps anything.
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But on Monday the circumstances were a bit different when the fish came up dead.
“He fought himself to death, I reckon,” said Staples, who noted that's not the first time he’s seen something like this happen. “I’ve had several do that.”
They hooked the swordfish at 2:30 a.m. and got him onboard by 7 a.m.
“We were just drifting in 1,600 feet of water about 60 miles southwest (when the monster took the bait),” Staples said.
They had lines in the water at three depths — 150 feet, 250 feet and 350 feet.
“He took the 250 line … it doesn’t matter, I think they can see all three perfectly clear,” Staples said.
Evans battled the fish on a 50 wide Tiagra with 100-pound test line and squid for bait.
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Staples said the fish stayed down most of the time. About halfway through the fight the swordfish came up and they could see just how big he was, then he went straight back down.
About 6:30 a.m., the fish came up “dead as a hammer,” Staples said.
They had planned to fish the rest of the day, but the swordfish wouldn’t fit in the bag that well.
“We didn’t have a lot of ice … we had plenty of ice for normal, but not enough for him,” Staples said.
The swordfish measured 105 inches from the lower jaw to the middle of the tail.
They iced down the fish the best they could, trolled for a couple hours and then headed back to Destin.
Besides that, Staples said, Evans “was done … he was toast.”
And rightly so; it was not his only fish on the trip.
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The guys left at midnight Saturday and rode until daylight then started trolling.
Staples said they went three for five on white marlin and caught three blackfin tuna.
“And we had a blue marlin eat a bonito off the line right behind the boat. We had a good day of trolling,” Staples said.
Then they headed to the area they wanted to fish for swordfish.
They caught a small swordfish and was debating on whether to keep it or not, but then it came off.
Staples said they caught a second swordfish, but again it was small.
They also caught and released a dusky shark before they hooked a big fish and pulled him off.
“We don’t know what kind, but damned near spooled us on a 50 wide,” Staples said of the mystery big fish.
Then it wasn’t long after that they got the monster swordfish on line.
The swordfish was the biggest Staples has ever pulled in on his boat.
“I’ve caught three, and that makes the third one over 300 pounds … and every one of those big ones fought themselves to death,” he said. "They fight so long they just die.”
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Staples said his other big ones were 348, 311 and 292 pounds.
“They are the hardest fighting thing out there,” he said.
Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House in Destin holds an annual Swordfish Shootout.
According to Miller Phillips of Boshamps, the largest they have weighed in during their tournament has been a 340-pounder caught on the Flat Dangerous with Capt. George Gill in 2016.
As for the 440.1-pounder brought in on the 100 Proof, “That’s a certified sea monster, especially around here,” Phillips said.
Staples said they plan to mount the bill of the swordfish and there was plenty of meat to go around. Evans took a full cooler home and Staples shared the rest with family and friends.