There are big fish and then there are monster fish.
Three fishermen in South Florida had themselves quite the surprise when they realized they had reeled in a potential record-breaking swordfish off Lighthouse Point in Broward County, per WSVN.
“We were not expecting that size,” said angler Hunter Irvine.
The three men, Timmy Maddock, Hunter Irvine, Jaime Johnson, were fishing just off Lighthouse Point about 10 miles south of Boca Raton on Jan. 20 when they reeled in a 769-pound swordfish.
“You’re never going to see a fish that big in your life,” Irvine added.
The swordfish the gentlemen caught was big—but there’s bigger. In fact, the U.S. record for largest swordfish caught sits just three pounds heavier at an astonishing 772-pounds, per the International Game Fish Association. While the anglers fell short of the U.S. record, they managed to break the verified Florida state record, which stood for 43-years dating back to May 7, 1978, off Key Largo [pending review]. That swordfish came in over 150-pounds lighter at 612.75-pounds caught by Stephen Stanford, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
“I didn’t know what to do,” Maddock told WSVN.
Swordfish can reach a maximum reported length of roughly 15-feet and 1,430-lbs in weight. The record for largest swordfish ever caught weighed in at a jaw-dropping 1,182-pounds, off the coast of Iquique, Chile.
“We were out there to have fun, maybe catch a couple of swordfish,” added Irvine.
And while they certainly accomplished that goal, little did they know they’d stumble across one of that size.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. Honestly, just the people that I was with, it’s going to mean more than a lifetime for us,” said Johnson.
The fish took nearly five hours to reel close enough to the boat before the trio could bring it on board: an experience that the group will never forget.
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