200+ lb Swordfish with Captain Nick Stanczyk

200+ sword.jpg

If you don’t know Captain Nick Stanczyk out of Islamorada, you definitely should! In these waters he’s built a reputation to be THE guy for hire when it comes to catching swordfish. He runs his 37’ Freeman called the Broad Minded out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina, mile marker 79 on Overseas Highway. His first mate Chase Fulton is a skilled fisherman and holds a captain’s license himself.

This past week, Nick had extra room on one of his charters which gave my sister and I the opportunity to join and learn from the best. Click here to watch our swordfish video or keep scrolling to continue reading!

At 7 a.m. with the clients aboard, we head out to the swordfish grounds in over 1,000 feet of water. The small seas made for a short one hour ride out; in rough seas this ride can take up to two and a half hours! Once we reached our destination Nick and Chase did not waste time and set up two rods sending the bait down to two different depths off of the sea floor. Then, we watch and wait…

Watching the rods tips like a hawk, you feel your eyes going cross eyed but you dare not miss a bite. A bite can be so small moving the tip as little as a half inch. Both Nick and Chase have trained eyes and can see even the slightest disruption that could be a bite.

We drifted for about an hour with our baits deep in the water column with no success. It was twenty minutes into the second drift when Chase see’s a bite! He ran over to the rod and successfully hooked up a fish. Seconds later Nick saw a bite on the second rod. He quickly rushes over and starts trying to hook up a second fish. Within minutes, we had a DOUBLE HEADER with two fish hooked up at the same time!

First Mate Chase holding up the first swordfish!

First Mate Chase holding up the first swordfish!

Now the responsibility is handed over to the client to fight the fish and bring it up to the surface. Using a combination of the electric reel and hand cranking the angler brought the first fish to the boat in under a half hour, and it was a keeper. INTO THE ICE BOX IT WENT!

Fish number two was still being fought. Over an hour had passed and we started to wonder if it was foul hooked. A foul hooked fish is a fish that is not hooked properly. It can be hooked in the fin, in its side, or even wrapped up in the line. This can make the fight harder for the angler and increase the time it takes to bring it to the boat. One solution is to push the drag up. Increasing the drag will give the angler more power, however, with more tension on the line it could result in losing the fish. Nick takes the risk and has the angler push the drag up to get this fish to the boat.

The first time anyone is able to see the swordfish it’s 50 feet below the surface. Nick immediately says “That’s a nice one! It’s no doubt a 200+ pound fish!” As it gets closer to the surface, Chase readies the harpoon and Nick grabs the gaff. Chase harpoons the fish and Nick gaffs it immediately after. Chase, Nick, and two of the anglers, pull the fish into the boat together. Everyone was ecstatic, congratulatory high fives everywhere! After many pictures and a rush of adrenaline Chase puts the fish into the insulated fish bag.

IMG_6206 2.JPG

With two fish in the boat before 1:00 pm we still had time for one more drift. As if the day wasn’t memorable enough, the last and final drift lands us a THIRD swordfish! This one was also a keeper size but with plenty of meat already onboard, the decision was made to tag and release it.


We were back at the dock by 2:30 pm. The larger swordfish is tail wrapped and pulled up onto the scale weighing in at 211 pounds! Nick began to fillet the swordfish while we helped out and vacuum sealed the steaks, overflowing a wagon full of meat. The happy clients said their goodbyes and headed out with plenty of fish, fish stories and photos to prove it. The two of us were grateful to be a part of everyone's day!


The Gale Force Twins

To Book a Charter with Captain Nick Stanczyk email: BNMCHARTERS@gmail.com

Follow Nick Stanczyk:

Follow Chase Fulton: