When it comes to swordfish, I’ve had my share of good fortune as an outdoor writer over the last few years. Back in 2007, I broke the story of the daytime broadbill fishery that was pioneered by the Stanczyk family at Bud N Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida. Along with my wife, the crew caught 11 swords in two days aboard the legendary Catch 22 -- we snapped amazing photos and experienced nothing short of an incredible trip.
Now -- just last week, in fact – I had the great fortune to fish with another group of excellent swordfishermen, the crew of the Booby Trap. Arguably the hottest swordfish boat on the planet, the Booby Trap has singlehandedly developed another fishery in the northern Gulf over the last couple years, catching and releasing loads of daytime swords out of their home base of Surfside Marina in Surfside Beach, Texas.
But there was a catch – we weren’t setting out to simply catch swordfish on this trip. We wanted to try something a bit more ambitious – an IGFA Super Slam, or catching four species of billfish by a single angler in a single calendar day.
That was an extremely ambitious undertaking. Only 20 had been recorded to date with the IGFA. Yet Booby Trap owner Capt. Brett Holden and his crew (captains Jeff Wilson, Shayne Ellis and angler Travis Joyce) were bullish on giving it a whirl. After all, they had done it once before in 2009 (Travis manned the rod on that occasion as well). Along with these men, I was joined for the three-day adventure by “Disco” Luis Herrera, an old-school Cuban fisherman from Miami, friend of the Booby Trap crew and a great man on the boat.
To make a long story short, we caught the slam – in four hours! I don’t know how that ranks in the annals of sport-fishing history, but it was pretty amazing, the product of sound planning, years of experience and just a bit of luck.
We’ll have a full-length, detailed feature on this amazing, diverse fishery in the January 2013 issue of Sport Fishing, but first, here’s a sneak peek at the accomplishment, the condensed story in pictures. Enjoy – and as the fun-loving crew of the Booby Trap likes to say – Get tight, suckas!
Senior Editor, Sport Fishing magazine