FISH FLASH: Twilight crew lands huge swordfish while tuna fishing

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

It was the week after Thanksgiving, and apparently a great week for fishing as the crew aboard the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill hauled in a massive 532.7-pound swordfish. 

“It was a good week … probably the calmest I’ve seen the Gulf of Mexico in a long time,” Capt. Hill said. 

The group of anglers aboard the Twilight finally get the 500-plus pound swordfish to the boat after a six-hour battle.

He and his group of anglers had run out on a two-day trip about 150 miles from Destin to do some tuna fishing. 

“Swordfish hadn’t even crossed our minds,” Hill said. 

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The guys had hooked two bigeye tuna and fought them for two to three hours.  

“We lost one and caught one,” Hill said, noting the one they landed was about 228 pounds. 

“So, we had already whipped our whole crew … all six guys were already whipped from fighting those two fish,” he said. 

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They pulled back up to the drill ship they had been fishing around and ran another bait. 

“We hooked that swordfish … like right away,” Hill said. 

Here it was 1 a.m., none of the passengers had had any rest. 

The crew aboard the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill were whipped after fighting the 500-plus pound swordfish for six hours.

“If it wasn’t slick calm, we probably wouldn’t have been able to fish like we did,” Hill said. 

“Everybody was tired, but everybody would take about a 30-minute turn on it, then finally big Scott got a hold of it and put some real pressure on it for about 2 ½ hours and broke its spirit. And the customers finished it off the last 45 minutes,” Hill said. 

All in all, it was a six-hour battle. 

Not done yet, they had to get the swordfish on the boat. 

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The tuna door wasn’t big enough for the swordfish to fit through. 

Hill said that one of the guys asked, “Are we going to have to cut the fin off?” 

“I said, ‘No’, we’d cut a hole in the boat before we cut that fin off,” Hill said. 

With ropes and gaffs, “We did lift him over the stern. We just got everybody just right … all nine of us just lifted it straight up and got it up on top of the rail and rolled it in,” he said. 

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The whole ordeal of catching the swordfish was a “fluke,” Hill said. 

“We were fishing way too deep for swordfish,” he said. 

Once they had the fish onboard, the guys headed back to Destin, a 10-hour trip, with the three captains, Hill, Scott Burke and Wyatt Ferraria taking turns driving and sleeping. 

“It was a heck of a battle,” Hill said. 

The crew aboard the Twilight landed scamp, bigeye tuna and swordfish on the two-day trip.

But no state record, due to everyone on the boat taking a turn on the rod. 

The swordfish measured 104 inches from the bottom of the jaw to the fork. It was 29 inches in girth at the tail and 60 inches in girth at the midsection. 

The crew split the meat and Hill is having a head mount made. 

"It was pretty cool,” Hill said of the entire adventure.