What a catch: Florida anglers reel in 769-pound swordfish

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, Fla. — Three anglers in South Florida have quite a fish tale to tell.

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Timmy Maddock, Hunter Irvine and Jaime Johnson said they reeled in a swordfish on Wednesday that weighed nearly 769 pounds, WSVN reported. The catch could be a Florida record and just barely missed being a national record.

The three fishermen caught the fish off the coast of Lighthouse Point in Broward County, WSVN reported.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Maddock told the television station.

“We were not expecting that size,” Irvine added. “You’re never going to see a fish that big in your life.”

“I don’t even know what to say,” Johnson said.

The anglers said they battled the swordfish for nearly five hours before hauling it in, WSVN reported.

According to the International Game Fish Association, the U.S. record for the largest swordfish caught is 772 pounds.

The verified record in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is 612.75 pounds. That fish was caught May 7, 1978, off Key Largo by Stephen Stanford. According to the Sun-Sentinel, in April 2019, Bill Lussier and Debbie Lussier of Cape Coral reeled in a swordfish that tipped the scale at 757.8 pounds.

The Florida catch this week is nowhere near the world record for swordfish. According to the International Game Fish Association, Louis E. Marron caught a 1,182-pound swordfish off the coast of Iquique, Chile, on May 7, 1953. Marron, aboard Flying Heart III, landed the fish in just under two hours after it struck a trolled bonito, according to Marlin magazine. His tackle consisted of a black palm rod and 12/0 Fin-Nor Reel with 39-thread Cortland Super Cutty line, the magazine reported.

The Florida fishermen still enjoyed their experience.

“It was cool, for sure,” Maddock told WSVN.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Johnson told the television station. “Honestly, just the people that I was with, it’s going to mean more than a lifetime for us.”