During a recent daytime swordfishing trip in Islamorada, Florida, captains Vic Gaspeny and Richard Stanczyk assured me that sunnyside broadbill could be caught in deep waters well outside the Straits of Florida.
Capt. Nick Stanczyk (left) was nearly pulled in by this 313-pound Islamorada bruiser, caught by Vic Gaspeny (blue shirt) aboard the B n M
They weren't pulling my chain.
Fishing with Capt. Randy Morton on September 23, Gaspeny landed a 50-pound broadbill off Virginia Beach, Virginia, while plying the depths between 1,000 to 2,000 feet. The fish was one of four hookups the crew got during the day. They used only 5 pounds of weight to reach bottom in light currents, and jumped off another fish boatside following a long fight.
"Within a minute of hitting the bottom on our first drop, he had a fish on," said Morton, who runs the Lucky Strike, a 29-foot Blackfin, out of Long Bay Pointe Marina. "It was unbelievable."
In June, during a 2-day trip I took out of Stanczyk's Bud 'N Mary's Marina (in which we caught 11 daytime broadbill), Gaspeny told me that he planned to try the deep-dropping method later in the year off the mid-Atlantic coast. Just as he predicted, it worked like a charm - and it certainly broadens the discussion (and the range) of this exciting new type of fishing.
The practice is spreading in the Sunshine State. Daytime catches have been registered throughout south Florida by enterprising anglers such as captains George LaBonte of Jupiter and Dean Panos of Miami.
As for Gaspeny, the little Virginia swordfish comes on the heels of a whopper he recently caught aboard the B 'n M out of Bud N Marys. Fishing with Capt. Nick Stanczyk on September 6, Gaspeny brought in a dandy 313-pounder taken in 1,850 feet, which nearly pulled Stanczyk overboard!
"I gaffed him down deep with the straight gaff," Stanczyk said. "My arms and shoulders were completely in with the bill of my hat. One leg was in the air over the side, and Vic grabbed my other leg from the chair and finally I got my balance back!"
These fish are indeed gladiators! And they're better by day. Get out there and catch one!
Associate Editor, Sport Fishing