A California angler recently caught one heck of a swordfish—and it’s already been certified as a Golden State record. On Monday, October 30, Mason Karafa was fishing with Boat Captain Ezekiel Cruz and owner-operator of Brothers Sportfishing Dillon Houston.
The trio was fishing the waters near San Diego when the impressive catch took place. They were “deep dropping”—a saltwater fishing method in which anglers drop baits and lures to extreme depths. According to Western Outdoor News (WON), the fishing method is relatively new in California. The fishermen had rigged squid to a 11/0 J-hook. After trying one spot unsuccessfully, they motored to an area 9-miles away in a last-ditch effort to get on fish.
“The bait was down for less than 5 minutes [in the new spot] when it got whacked,” Cruz told WON. Karafa manned the rod while Cruz cleared the deck and Houston manned the helm. The fight included a couple of particularly intense moments. At one point, the fish hit a hard U-Turn and charged the boat; Karafa was able to keep tension on the line as Houston drove away from the fish. Later, the fish started whacking the motor with its sword.
Then, Cruz’s first hit with a flying gaff broke off. His second hit was successful—though it prompted the swordfish to take a 500-yard run before getting tangled in the buoy line. Once the fish died, it took the strength of all three men to hoist it aboard. They boated the fish an hour and a half after hooking into it.
“[It’s] the culmination of countless hours, days, years, a lifetime of hard work and mental dedication,” wrote Brothers Sport Fishing in a Facebook post. “Most see the end result. Few see the commitment and grit that preceded [it].”
The fish ultimately weighed in at a whopping 520 pounds, easily besting the previous California state record, a 452-pounder caught in 2003. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has already confirmed the new record. Though it’s an epic catch for the Golden State, it doesn’t even approach world record territory. The current IGFA All-Tackle Record is a 1,182-pounder caught in 1953 off the waters of Chile.