Chasing Royal Slams

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Back in November, I had Mark, from California, out swordfishing on the Bn’M. We had three days booked, but were only able to fish two of the days because of the weather.

ChasingRoyalSlams02Mark has literally traveled around the world catching billfish for “Royal Slams”. A “Billfish Royal Slam” includes Atlantic and Pacific sailfish, Atlantic and Pacific blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, white marlin, spearfish, and broadbill swordfish. Mark has been battling another angler over the years to achieve the most “Billfish Royal Slams”.

Swordfish have been the hardest species for Mark to catch, but I told him we had a good shot here in Islamorada. Of course, the weather was supposed to be calm for us, with 5–8 knots of wind, but, as it goes, it still blew 15–18 knots. It makes it a little uncomfortable to fish when you’re drifting side to side in 3–5 foot waves. Anyhow, on the first day, we wound up hooking two swordfish. The first one got off pretty quick, but the second one stayed on for a little while. Mark got in the chair and was going to work bringing up the fish with 2000’ of line out, but after about 10 minutes, we pulled the hook. I was very disappointed, and a little frustrated, we didn’t get a fish that day. Mark, however, was still in good spirits and excited we had a couple bites.

The next day, we ran a little further and, around noon, hooked up. It wasn’t a monster, maybe 50 lbs, but Mark sure was excited when we caught the fish. He then explained to me that over the last few years, including a trip to New Zealand, he had only caught one other swordfish on his past 16 trips! It really put things into perspective how hard some people work to catch swordfish and how lucky we are to have some of the most consistent swordfishing in the world right off Islamorada! That was our only bite that day, but we made it count and Mark was able to complete another “Billfish Royal Slam”. We got blown out the last day, but I know Mark will be back soon enough chasing swordfish with us again.

The winter and spring aren’t my favorite times for swordfish, but I know I’ll be doing some trips when the weather allows. We’ll be spending a lot of time on the reef fishing for sailfish, cobia, mackerel, wahoo, and snapper the next few months.




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