This fall, we filmed an incredibly cool episode fishing for Swordfish with Captain Nick Stanczyk of the legendary Stanczyk family from Islamorada, Florida. Nick, along with his dad Richard and brothers/uncles literally invented Daytime Swordfishing as we know it about 20 years ago. For non fishing fanatics, fishing for Swords in the daytime is incredibly noteworthy because these fish were only previously accessible at night when they would come closer to the surface to feed, or when they would be randomly spotted free swimming on the surface (something that is EXTREMELY rare to see for yourself). The Stanczyks popularized a method of deep-dropping in around 2,000 feet of water in broad daylight, and pulling up Swordfish of epic proportions. How epic? See for yourself...
The whole story will be explained in the episode, but take my word for it, these guys are absolutely the truth. Now I've been around Bud N' Mary's my entire life, and have seen Nick and his dad a ton of times, but I never got the chance to fish with him. He has an e-mail wait list about 1,000 people long and with over 100,000 followers on Instagram and Youtube, there are no shortage of people asking him to take them out. Luckily, my longtime friend Captain Skip Nielsen put in a good word for me and connected us, and I was soon texting with the Swordfish king himself. We went back and forth for months trying to make it happen and eventually, he had a cancellation and it was on. I was unbelievably excited.
When the fish came up from 1,900 feet down for the first time, I couldn't form words with my mouth. It was completely flabbergasting to the human brain. This GIANT fish with the most electric neon blue color mixed with the deepest royal purple underneath. It had a bill like a Samurai sword and was thrashing it around in every single direction. I have seen some crazy animals in my life, but goddamn this one fried my brain on the spot. This picture from my friend Capt. Nick Stanczyk gives a pretty cool look at what I was seeing...
The way they move is so graceful and powerful, plus the huge bill looks incredibly wild plastered onto the front of such a big fish.
… and it was 50 times more vibrant and electric than that in real life. You also have to add in the fact that when you get a bite 2,000 feet down at the bottom of the ocean, you probably have 2,500 - 3,000 feet of line due to current and the line scoping that occurs to get the bait to such a depth. So, when you finally come tight on it and the fish starts swimming to the surface, it takes 15-20 minutes before you even get to really start battling it, and even LONGER before you ever get a single look at the fish. When I tell you that I lost my mind when I saw that thing after nervously reeling for 40 minutes straight, I really mean that I LOST MY MIND!
This is what it looks like at the bottom of the ocean 1,700 feet down just to give you an idea, almost a sci-fi creation.
Anyways, just look at some of these enormous and beautiful fish Nick has caught over the past year. INSANE!
Why am I advocating for Swordfish on a Monday afternoon in January? Because they are absurdly under talked about in the grand scheme of the world. The amount of publicity this fish receives should be up there with the dogs/cats/parakeets of the world, a household name if you will. So maybe my looking at these pictures and videos, the Swordfish will get a little more love than it did yesterday, and that is a beautiful thing if you ask me.