PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Sea monsters do exist. Simply ask Jennifer Cameron.
On April 16, the Stuart, Florida, angler caught the biggest swordfish of her fishing profession, weighing in a large that tipped the scales at 436 kilos.
Catching an almost quarter-ton brute like a swordfish is a problem in and of itself. Doing so whereas scuffling with a 102-degree temperature is one thing else fully.
“I wasn’t feeling that good that day, a day after I acquired my second Moderna vaccination” for COVID-19, she advised TCPalm | Treasure Coast Newspapers, a part of the USA TODAY Community. “However we wanted to catch a fish, so I went alongside. After we boated it, I might really feel my fever, went into the cabin and wrapped up in a blanket and slept on the boat journey all the best way again into the marina.”
Why did she have to catch a fish?
The explanation they have been fishing within the first place was as a result of Cameron is among the lead organizers of the Black Gold Jubilee, an annual spring competition and charity fundraiser celebrated on the Torry Island Campground in Belle Glade, Florida.
One side of the occasion is a barbecue. Cameron needed to catch a fish giant sufficient to feed scores of attendees, so focusing on a swordfish would have achieved that objective.
“Typically we get criticized for preserving a fish that giant and never releasing it. However we actually supplied about 300 kilos of fillets to make use of for the barbecue and to offer to households within the Glades who wanted contemporary fish,” she stated. “We solely stored a number of small items for our household.”
She additionally was in a position to educate folks concerning the distinction between swordfish and marlin, a similar-looking fish whose harvest is strictly restricted in U.S. waters and that is not bought as a meals fish right here.
How she nearly misplaced the swordfish
Catching this sword nearly did not occur, her husband stated. The fish apparently was hooked within the dorsal fin — not within the mouth.
“We have been straight out of the St. Lucie Inlet in 1,650 ft of water and utilizing bonito stomach as bait,” he stated. “On our first drift, we had a chunk however the fish got here off fairly shortly. So we pulled up, ran again south (up present) and commenced our second drift. As quickly as Nick put the traces again out, I turned my head and once I appeared again on the buoy, it had disappeared.”
That advised the skilled anglers two issues: The fish was hungry and it was massive.
One frequent methodology to catch swordfish employs using a big buoy to maintain the bait deployed nicely away from the boat and at a enough depth to be a magnet for a swordfish. They’re identified to inhabit the darkish depths under the place daylight penetrates from the floor — at the least 300 ft down.
To get the bait down that deep, Cameron used a 13-pound lead weight. He stated the buoy did not floor for a very long time. After it did, and so they have been in a position to disconnect the lead and retrieve it, the fish got here to the floor and jumped.
“It buried the buoy for 20 minutes, telling me it was a very massive fish. When it jumped, I knew it was larger than 350 kilos,” Glenn stated. His spouse was reeling the fish in utilizing a Lindgren-Pitman electrical reel.
“As soon as we bought the lead off, the fish went again all the way down to 100 fathoms (600 ft), under the Gulf Stream water. After we bought the fish again to the boat, it was time for Nick to harpoon the fish. Though he had by no means finished that to a swordfish earlier than, he did a superb job and stoned it, ending the battle,” Glenn stated.
Then it was as much as the captain and Cremasco to gaff the fish and haul it in by means of the 60-footer’s tuna door.
It wasn’t Jennifer Cameron’s first swordfish.
She caught two in 2017, however the newest one did get her eager about pursuing the Worldwide Sport Fish Affiliation’s Standard Billfish Royal Slam Membership, which acknowledges anglers who catch these seven billfish, with two caught in two oceans:
- Black marlin
- White marlin
- Striped marlin
- Sailfish within the Atlantic and Pacific
- Blue marlin within the Atlantic and Pacific
Jennifer solely must catch a black marlin and a striped marlin, her husband stated.
Different Martin County residents who’ve are members of the IGFA Royal Billfish Slam membership are Doug Blanchard of Stuart, Julie Crispin of Sewall’s Level, Floirda, and Bob Pelosi of Palm Metropolis, Florida.
It has been an eventful yr for the Camerons. In June, the couple skilled fairly a scare after they hit a wave in Beaufort Inlet at Morehead Metropolis, North Carolina, whereas fishing within the Large Rock Blue Marlin event. The wave broke off the pulpit on the bow, ripping the highest of the hull open. Fortuitously, the boat by no means took on any water.
But Glenn needed to spend about six weeks commuting between Stuart and North Carolina to supervise repairs. They have been in a position to end repairing the 60-foot Carolina customized sportfish in time to fish extra tournaments within the mid-Atlantic states and competed within the winter run of sailfish tournaments on the Treasure Coast.
They’ve plans to fish the Customized Boat Shootout and the brand new invitation-only Walker’s Cay event within the Bahamas subsequent month, Jennifer stated.
The autumn swordfish chunk can be good, Glenn stated, particularly for giant fish over 300 kilos, typically referred to as “markers” by business swordfishers.
“We catch massive swords year-round off Stuart, even when we do not fish for them on a regular basis,” he stated. “You’ll be able to catch them right here any month of the yr.”
Living proof? The identical day Capt. George Gozdz of Flatlined charters in Jensen Seashore and host of Unfathomed tv present on the Open air Channel additionally caught a really nice-sized, 150-pound swordfish off Stuart.
Think about that, fishing for swordfish in a spot named the “Sailfish Capital of the World.”
- Minimal measurement: 47 inches measured from decrease jaw to fork size of tail
- Bag restrict: One per harvester per day, to not exceed most of 4 per vessel (not-for-hire) or 15 per for-hire vessel. Zero every day bag and possession restrict for captain and crew of for-hire vessels.
- Obligatory reporting: All landed swordfish should be reported to NOAA inside 24 hours at 800-894-5528.
- Required allow: A Extremely Migratory Species allow is required in federal waters.
- Extra data: For full state fishing laws, go to MyFWC.com.
- Florida report: 757.8 kilos, Invoice Lussier, Islamorada, March 31, 2019
- Pending Florida report: 767.8 kilos, Timmy Maddock, Pompano Seashore, Jan. 25, 2021
- World report: 1,182 kilos, Louis Marron, Iquique, Chile, Might 7, 1953
Observe Ed Killer on Twitter @tcpalmekiller.