LIGHTHOUSE POINT, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of friends out fishing off the coast of South Florida were shocked to discover the size of the swordfish they reeled in nearly set a U.S. record, but the massive catch did not come without a fight.

Timmy Maddock, Hunter Irvine and Jaime Johnson had no idea what was in store for them when they put their fishing rods into the water off Lighthouse Point, Wednesday.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said Maddock.

“We were not expecting that size,” said Irvine.

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

For Irvine, it was the kind of experience that comes along once in a lifetime.

“You’re never going to see a fish that big in your life,” he said.

Irvine said they weren’t even looking to make any major catches when they went out on a boat.

“We were out there to have fun, maybe catch a couple of swordfish,” he said.

They did just that, but it wasn’t just any swordfish.

“Oh, my God!” one of them is heard screaming in cellphone video capturing the moment the massive fish surfaced.

Reeling it in, however, proved to be a challenge.

“It shot to the surface. It jumped, we saw the fish, and then it went back down to the bottom, and we fought him for five hours on the bottom,” said Maddock.

The friends were eventually able to reel in the swordfish. They said it was so strong that it bit a pole they used to bring it onto the boat.

Once the swordfish was in the vessel, the fishermen weighed it.

“It’s right at about 769 [pounds],” one of them is heard saying in cellphone video.

The friends said they hope they would be able to make history. As they waited for Florida Fish and Wildlife officials to determine whether or not they had set a record, they said they’re just happy they were able to go through this experience together.

“It was cool, for sure, great experience,” said Maddock.

“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.

According to the International Game Fish Association, which keeps track of these statistics, the U.S. record for the largest swordfish caught is 772 pounds, so this group’s catch fell just short by a few pounds.

The world record is out of Chile, where fishermen reeled in a swordfish weighing in at nearly 1,200 pounds.

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