Talk about a rewarding battle.
According sport fishing, Brandon Carney, 33, and his crew on his boat the “Willow-B” began their fishing trip off Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina on August 21.
Carney and his crew of Stephen Beaman, Joshua Meekins, Justin Meekins, Shelly Carney, and Cary Carney had their sights set on a deep-water swordfish, and little did they know it was set for the catch of a lifetime.
“We stopped in 1,300 feet of water and dropped our bait, but had no takers, so we moved to a new location at 10:30 a.m. and sent an albacore belly on a 10/10 hook with a bright down skirt. We were 50 or 60 miles offshore, using an 11-pound sinker rigged 100 feet above the bait to get it down deep.
Although swordfish usually nick the bait slightly before taking it, Carney says this one slammed the bait and took off, easily dragging 26 pounds of reel drag.
It was hooked up to an electric fishing reel, but didn’t work properly due to a faulty fuse.
So Brandon’s dad, Cary, took on the swordfish himself, leading to a 2.5-hour battle the six will never forget, full of reeling, cranking and battling against the biggest fish on which they have ever laid eyes.
“The fish never jumped out and after about 30 minutes dad brought it back about 20 feet from the surface and we could see how huge it was.
We undid the 11-pound weight from the line, and then the swordfish came back to life, going deeper and deeper, pulling a lot of 65-pound test lines with it.
The 2.5 hour fight resulted in the boat being pulled 12 miles, and after gliding in over 4,000 feet of water, the Swordfish finally arrived, and then they had to figure out how to get it into the boat.
“He couldn’t fit through our open tuna trap, so we brought him in tail first, wedging the body against the hull. We put a rope around his beak, then threw him over the T-frame, then hoisted him into the boat. It took us about an hour trying to figure out how to fit it into our Contender and then beef it up that way.
They packed the swordfish in 100 pounds of ice and returned to Beaufort Inlet.
90 minutes later they arrived at Portside Marina, where the swordfish was transported in a forklift. He weighed on certified scales 504.4 pounds, with a circumference of 53 inches and a length of 104 inches from lower jaw to tail fork. Its beak was 47 inches long.
A regional swordfish tournament was going on when they made the catch, but they weren’t entered, even though they would have won.
The old North Carolina record for swordfish was a 441 pounds caught by Horace Murray in 1979 off Wrightsville Beach.
Their catch was touted as a potential state record, but given that it was weighed on a certified scale, they have it in the bag.
“We have nothing to hide and my dad has done a great job fighting the fish. We filed all the paperwork with the state and offered to do some testing to show the validity of the plug.
We are thrilled to have caught this fish and hopefully be part of a record catch.