An enormous 520-pound swordfish caught off the California Coast in late October bested the previous state record by almost 70 pounds. The fish is the largest broadbill on record from the Pacific Coast of the United States.
Fishing aboard a 25-foot Davidson Bahia, experienced fishermen Dillon Houston, Capt. Ezekiel Cruz, and Mason Karafa had spent most of Oct. 27 deep-dropping without any luck at La Jolla Canyon off San Diego. With just a couple hours of daylight left, they made a last-ditch move to 9 Mile Bank and dropped a rigged squid into about 2,000 feet of water. Their big fish bit within 10 minutes and began a nerve-racking 45-minute battle.
According to Western Outdoor News, their squid was fished on an 11/0 J-hook, with a 5-foot 300-pound mono chafing leader, 100 feet of 200-pound top-shot, and 12 pounds of weight all tied into a Hooker/Shimano Tiagra 50-wide spooled with 80-pound braid. Karafa manned the rod through the entire fight.
Toward the end of the fight, the fish made a hard surface run that brought it thrashing right to the stern of the boat. With Houston at the helm, Cruz took a stab with a flying gaff, but hit the fish’s bill and broke the pole. The gaff didn’t take. The fish circled and charged the boat again, allowing Cruz another shot with a second flying gaff that hit the swordfish solidly in the shoulder. The fish took off, trailing hundreds of feet of buoy and line until it wrapped itself in the line and fought itself to death.
At Dana Landing, the big broadbill bottomed out a set of 500-pound scales. They found a larger set of scales a half-hour away by boat at Chula Seafood at Driscoll Wharf. The fish weighed in at 520 pounds and has since been accepted by California as the new state record.
“The culmination of countless hours, days, years, a lifetime of hard work and mental dedication,” is what it says on the Brothers Sport Fishing Facebook page. “Most see the end result. Few see the commitment and grit that proceeded.”