The 65-foot custom Carolina charter boat RoShamBo, captained by Wille Zimmerman, pulled out of Ocean City Fishing Center early on Sept. 21, destined for a long and fish-filled day far offshore.
“We first targeted tilefish and boated about 30 of them, then got into schoolie dolphin, and put about a dozen in the boat,” said RoShamBo mate Daniel Ames. “Next with the sun high, we tried for swordfish, drifting very deep water with a couple baited lines with three flashing Diamond lights fitted above the leader.”
That’s when the action really started to heat up, as a swordfish took a bait in over 1,000-feet of water and 12-year old Bubba Stamp got into the fighting chair.
It was Bubba’s birthday, and after an hour battle on a 50-pound class swordfish set up, Bubba got the billfish close to the RoShamBo and Ames gaffed a 130-pounder. It was Bubba’s first swordfish and a heck of a birthday present.
“We got right back to fishing, and pulled the hook on another swordfish,” said Ames, age 28. “We thought we were about done for the day, but at 2:15 p.m. we hooked a third sword on an eel bait, and Jeffery Jacobs got into the chair for what became a helluva fight.”
The fish fought deep and tough, but Jacobs (from Leonardtown, Md.) was physically up to the challenge. He pulled the fish to the surface time and again, only to have it stubbornly dive hundreds of feet below the boat, renewing the fight.
Ames says each time Jacobs got the fish near the surface it got mad and made a jump or two, launching itself out of the water 6 or 7 times during the over five-hour battle.
“The swordfish never charged the boat,” said RoShamBo Captain Willie Zimmerman. “I think it was bothered by the sun because as the sun started to set, the sword seemed to calm down a bit and we finally got him to the boat.”
Two flying gaffs and a long-handled gaff were used to subdue the fish, and a block and tackle was employed to haul the giant aboard the boat – 5 ½-hours after the fight began.
“Jacobs was tired by the swordfish, but he was up for it, and he said could have fought the fish longer if that’s what it took to get it in the boat,” said Ames.
Near the end of the fight the sword came beside the boat and regurgitated an estimated 50-pounds of digesting food, including large baitfish and squid.
“Everyone saw it throw up that food, which was too bad because I’m sure it would have weighed 50 pounds more than it did when we got back to the marina,” said Ames.
After a long 65-mile run back to Ocean City Fishing Center and well after nightfall, the fish on certified scales weighed 393.8-pounds, with a 101-inch length and 56-inch girth.
It almost surely will be a new Maryland state record for swordfish. A official paperwork currently is being filed with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It should easily surpass the current state record swordfish weighing 318.5 pounds, caught in Aug. 2021 by Jake Bertonazzi.