Fishermen off Keys reel in 758-pound swordfish, biggest in Florida history

ISLAMORADA, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of people fishing off the Florida Keys reeled in a catch for the record books, and they took the pictures to prove it.

The giant catch on March 31 is no fish tale. An Islamorada boat captain and a couple from Cape Coral spent eight hours trying to reel in a mammoth swordfish.

How large? the big fish weighed in at 757.8 pounds.

Bill and Debbie Lussier were out on the water with Captain Nick Stanczyk.

“There’s what we caught him on,” said Stanczyk as he showed off the fish lure. “Right there, guys … biggest swordfish I’ve ever seen.”

The trio had just put their poles in the water. About 10 minutes later, they felt a tug on Bill’s fishing line.

The fight that ensued dragged their boat 20 miles.

“That’s where the harpoon was in his back. Got in him in about eight hours,” said Stanczyk.

The captain has mastered the art of hooking this deep-water fish, but the catch was more than 150 pounds heavier than any he has ever pulled in.

As it turns out, it was also the biggest in the recorded history out of Florida waters — by about 146 pounds, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The fishermen’s next step was cleaning and cutting up the catch, piece by piece.

How did the meat look?

“Beautiful,” said Bill.

“Now, judging by the fat content, what would you rate this fish on a scale of 1 to 10?” Stanczyk asked Bill.

“Ten-plus,” said Bill.

“We got a 10-plus. Do you hear that, guys? The big fish looks delicious,” said Stanczyk.

Some of the meat was cut into steaks at Islamorada Marina and given to family and friends.

“Nothing’s wasted,” said Kenny, a friend of Stanczyk.

“Kenny, you got dinner. Enjoy,” said Stanczyk.

“And lunch,” added Kenny.

Some of it was vacuum-sealed and saved.

“We’re going to vacuum-seal some of this swordfish. When we catch a giant fish like that, we don’t want to waste it,” said Stanczyk. “People took a lot home with them, and we’re going to process the rest. We gave a lot away already, and I’m going to fill the freezer.”

And the rest of it was given to scientists to they can test the water and learn more about this legendary fish.

“That’s the eyeball right there. They’re going to send it in for testing,” said. “They said they might be able to tell how old it is by looking at the lens. Kinda cool stuff. To the scientist it goes.”

Quite a bit of luck was needed for the amazing catch. The Lussiers were originally scheduled to go on the fishing trip months earlier, but bad weather postponed it.

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