Tracy Ann backs in with her fat swordfish from left to right: David, Andrew & Al Monte, Martin Gonzalez, Julio CastroAll we can say is WOW, what a day the Tracy Ann had yesterday. We got a call from captain Julio Castro around 1.00 pm on Thursday to say that he had hooked up a swordfish. Weird, because just that morning, I had commented to a deckhand about the water being a bit green on the Pacific and that there were "perfect conditions for swordfish" and lo and behold the call comes in to say they have one on. Everybody was really excited, first swordfish of the season, not many caught in a year here, maybe in a good year perhaps ten for the whole Cabo fleet. Unlike other destinations we do not fish for swordfish at night, but find them up on the surface during the day. Hate to say it, but we are spoiled, "Why go out at night when fishing is so good during the day?" Honestly, I thought the fish would be one of those smaller start of the season fish, in fact it is rare that swordfish go over 200 lbs here, but as the afternoon wore on and the boat still wasn't back, I began to wonder...."probably a first time angler, struggling to reel it in...or maybe it's bigger than we think". I finally got the call from the dock that they had it on board around 4.00 pm and that they would be back in thirty minutes as they were close by. We asked the captain over the phone, "How big?" and were delighted when he said 300-400 lbs. Everybody in the fleet got excited and rushed off to the dock to meet the boat, including our other captains who had already gone home for the day.
Al usually flyfishes for striped bass but caught a sailfish once in Guatemala.The boat was only six miles off of the Old Lighthouse when they hooked the fish, so were back quickly and backed into the dock proudly with their fish and anglers. As you can see from the photos, it was a fat fish. I jumped aboard to talk to the angler, Al Monte from Sutton, Massachusetts who was rather dazed after fighting the fish alone for four hours straight. This was Al's first trip to Cabo and he was celebrating his 60th birthday by going fishing with his two sons David 32 and Andrew 34. I was really blown away to learn this was not their only catch; they had released two striped marlin earlier in the day estimated at 140 and 160 lbs and then went on to catch six football-sized tuna too. It was later in the day when Captain Julio had spotted what he thought was another marlin on the surface. He saw its fin but then it raised his head and he knew it was a broadbill. Deckhand Martin quickly put a live green jack on the end of his line (80 lb test with 200 lb flurocarbon) and cast it confidently, accurately and strongly to the fish, landing about five feet from its bill. With no hesitation it snatched the bait and he hooked it, passing the rod to Al. The boys told me, "We finished the beer really quickly once we hooked that fish," but Al, a project manager for an electrical contracting company soldiered on. I asked him, "Did you ever feel like giving up or handing it off?" to which he replied "nope!" His sons added, "That fish was stubborn, but not as stubborn as our dad." which paid off as he was able to get the fish to the boat. When they gaffed it in the chest, the fish went nuts, almost taking the deckhand out and straightening the gaff in the process but they were able to get another on in it and quickly subdued the prize catch. Back at the dock it took some muscle to get it up on the scale where it registered 391 lbs, so we figure add another 10% for loss of body fluids, which puts it over 400 lbs.
Congratulations to the Monte boys and of course to our captain Julio Castro and his deckhand Martin Gonzalez....they make a great team! If you recall, they are the ones who had a 749 lb blue marlin one day before the Bisbee last year and were also the top release boat worldwide for striped marlin in 2011, according to the Billfish Foundation.
Posted by Tracy Ehrenberg
Proud anglers and crew at the weigh station