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September 07, 2012

Florida Keys Anglers Find Post-Storm Trophy Swordfish Frenzy

George Poveromo and TV crew hook six hefty swords in three days

The Florida Keys seem to be experiencing the year of the swordfish. In March, anglers weighed in a 520-pound daytime sword. In April, that was topped by a 683-pounder. In July, Keys captain Vic Gaspeny caught his 200th swordfish — a lifetime milestone — and in July, a 460-pound swordy became the largest caught by a charter boat out of the famed Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada.

Now comes a report that fellow editor and TV host George Poveromo and his crew hooked six nice swordfish in three days this week. Here’s the skinny from Keys source Andy Newman:

Is it the moon phase?

Did Hurricane Isaac's late August presence in the northern Gulf of Mexico drive some fish south and into the Atlantic Ocean?

Whatever the reason, there have been some hefty swordfish fought, lost and even caught off Islamorada in the Florida Keys the last few days.

Earlier this week, saltwater fishing scribe and broadcaster George Poveromo teamed up with Captain Nick Stanczyk of Bud N' Mary's to shoot a show on daytime swordfishing off the Keys for the 2013 season of George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing. The show airs on NBC Sports Channel.

Stanczyk's dad Richard, his uncle Scott and friend Vic Gaspeny pioneered daytime swordfishing techniques almost nine years ago.

On Tuesday, Nick Stanczyk and Poverono set out in Poveromo's Mako 284. About 45 minutes after the bait went into the water, Poveromo hooked up. Some three hours later, they had a swordfish almost within gaffing range and the hook pulled.

Back to the GPS numbers again and within minutes, another hookup. Again, Poveromo was fighting a big fish. This fish was about 350 pounds and again, the fish was lost near the boat.

Poveromo was exhausted, given that he spent the last five to six hours fighting two big swordfish on his standup Penn International 80 tackle. He wanted to call it a day and try again Wednesday, the second day of the two-day shoot. But Stanczyk wasn't about to return to the dock without a fish, so he convinced Poveromo to try yet another drop.

Bait in the water once again. Amazingly, within minutes of hitting the bottom more than 1,500 feet below, another hookup. The third time was the charm and they boated a 256-pound fish, returning to the dock at dark.

On Wednesday, they go out again. No pressure. They just want to grab some additional footage. First, they hit the Islamorada 409 hump to vertical jig for blackfin tunas. Then, one drop at the swordfish grounds and they release a fish estimated to weigh 175 pounds. Heading back in, they run in to a school of nice dolphin and they're back at Bud N’ Mary’s by 2 p.m.

On Thursday, with the television show done, Stanczyk returns to his Bn'M charter boat and leads his client to a 300-pound swordfish. 

The same day, Poveromo takes Carl Grassi, a friend and owner of the camera boat, out fun fishing — just the two of them on the Mako 284. Grassi wants to catch a swordfish. Using GPS numbers and bait rigs provided by Stanczyk, they quickly hook up.

After a seven-hour fight that covers 26 miles from hookup to landing, Grassi finally reels in a 380-lb. swordfish on the Penn stand up outfit spooled with 80-pound-test Sufix 832 line. Poveromo said the fish was "tail-wrapped" during the last hour and came up dead.

"It was an amazing week of fishing," Poveromo said late Thursday night. "But I'm glad I'm now going home so I can rest and recover."