Talk about a rewarding battle.
According to Sport Fishing, 33-year-old Brandon Carney and his crew on his boat the “Willow-B” began their fishing trip off the shore of Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina on August 21st.
Carney, and his crew of Stephen Beaman, Joshua Meekins, Justin Meekins, Shelly Carney, and Cary Carney had their sights set on a swordfish in the deep waters, and little did they know it was setup for the catch of a lifetime.
“We stopped in 1,300 feet of water and dropped our bait down, but had no takers, so we moved to a new location at 10:30 AM and sent an albacore belly on a 10/10 hook with a glow skirt down. We were 50 to 60 miles offshore, using an 11-pound weight rigged 100 feet above the bait to get it deep.”
Although swordfish usually slightly nick the bait before taking it on, Carney says this one slammed the bait and took off, dragging 26-pounds of reel drag with ease.
It was hooked with an electric fishing reel, but wasn’t functioning correctly due to a faulty fuse.
So, Brandon’s dad, Cary, took on the swordfish himself, leading to a 2.5 hour battle that the six will never forget, full of reeling, cranking, and fighting the biggest fish they’d ever laid their eyes on.
“The fish never jumped and after about 30 minutes, dad brought it up to about 20 feet of the surface and we could see how huge it was.
We got the 11-pound weight detached from the line, then the swordfish came back to life, going deeper and deeper and deeper, pulling a lot of 65-pound test line with him.”
The 2.5 hour fight led to the boat getting pulled a whopping 12 miles, and after hovering over 4,000 feet of water, the swordfish finally came up, and then they had to figure out how to get it into the boat.
“It wouldn’t fit through our open tuna door, so we brought it in tail first, wedging the body against the hull. We fitted a rope around its bill, then tossed it over the T-top frame, then hoisted it into the boat. It took us about an hour of trying to figure how to get it into our Contender, and then muscling it in that way.”
They packed the swordfish in 100-pounds of ice, and headed back to Beaufort Inlet.
90-minutes later, they pulled into Portside Marina, where the swordfish was hauled off in a forklift. It weighed in on certified scales at 504.4 pounds, with 53-inch girth and 104-inch length from the lower jaw to fork of tail. It’s bill was 47-inches long.
A regional swordfish tournament was going on when they made the catch, but they weren’t entered, although they would’ve won.
The former North Carolina record for swordfish was a 441-pounder caught by Horace Murray in 1979 off Wrightsville Beach.
Their catch has been submitted as a potential state record, but considering it was weighed on a certified scale, they’ve got it in the bag.
“We have nothing to hide, and my dad did a great job fighting the fish. We’ve filed all the paperwork with the state and have offered to do testing to show how valid the catch is.
We’re thrilled to have caught that fish and be a part of hopefully a record catch.”