OUTDOORS

TO THE POINT - Anastasia fishing team hauls in moonlit catch

TINA HARBUCK
This massive swordfish, 271.7 pounds, was too big to put on the rack behind the Anastasia. Instead the crew positioned it on the docks for a few photo opportunities.

They only had one bite, but it was a good one.

Tyler Bryan of Montana along with help from the crew aboard the Anastasia hauled in a 271.7-pound swordfish early Tuesday morning while fishing with Capt. Tony Davis.

"It was the only bite we had and we fought him all night," Capt. Davis said.

Fishing 82 miles out of Destin, they hooked up with the swordfish at about 10 p.m. Monday and "we got her in the boat at 2:30 a.m."

The minute the swordfish latched on to the bait, Boston mackerel, the chase was on.

"It took off," said a tired Bryan at the docks Tuesday. "It jumped twice. We could see him jump in the moon light.

"It was exhausting and fun," he said.

After pulling and reeling for two hours, Bryan had to hand the rod off to deckhand Tom Stewart.

"I didn’t think I was going to lose it, but I had to hand it off. I was exhausted," he said, noting that his legs and arms were still hurting Tuesday.

"We got the goody out of him," captain said of Bryan. Then Stewart took over.

"The first thing she did was run about 100 yards to show me she still had some strength," Stewart said.

"She would do that about every 10 minutes to show you that she was in charge. She'd take off and we'd work her back to the boat," he said. The swordfish even got wrapped around the sea anchor rope a few times.

There was never a doubt as to what species of fish they were fighting.

"We knew it was a swordfish. Shark don't do that … the way it was running we knew what it was. It was just a matter of whether she was ever going to give up," Stewart said.

After tangling with the swordfish with a 50 Shimano loaded with 80-pound test they got it to the boat in four-and-a-half hours.

The massive fish with about a 3-foot sword was difficult to get on the boat.

"I told Tony to open the marlin door," Stewart said, knowing the Anastasia didn't have one.

"He said, 'Yes Tom Stewart, what marlin door?' … that's my point."

They managed to get the swordfish over the side and in the boat and made it back to HarborWalk Marina a little before 11 a.m. Tuesday where it weighed in at 271.7 pounds.

Bryan said it was definitely the largest fish he's ever caught.

"We're going to eat it … and oh yes we're going to mount it," he said.