We had a very amazing day on the water last week. One that none of us will forget for the rest of our lives. We were filming Local Knowledge out of Key West on Tuesday 3/29. Since we had such a great weather window we decided to carry on our quest for a daytime swordfish on film. Our last sword trip a couple weeks prior was shitty to say the least. We got bit on our first drop. As soon as we came tight, we went to check the tension on the line by just lifting the spectra between the reel and the first guide. For no reason the line snapped on the reel. Fish gone, Rigging gone, Lights gone, Spectra gone, not to mention hundreds of dollars in gear, gone. Not how you want to start your day (or any day for that matter). An hour and a half later we get back in the water, make a couple more drops without a sniff and head home hating swordfishing (as usual). Fast forward a couple weeks to Tuesday.... We made the 50 mile run to the far grounds in beautiful seas. Rush's good buddy and our camera boat driver, Tie had fished this area the day before for nothing until getting an estimated 200# fish on his last drop of the day. Tie got bit on the first squid he put out so we started there. 12-18" Squid seems to be the best bait for these fish, but as we all know everything likes to eat squid. When we reset our first drift the squid had been mauled by his cousins. Time to fish Bonita bellies. Drop #2 we used a bonita belly and we had a bite within 5 min. I teased the fish twice and by the third strike, he was on. I tried to come tight using the removable Hooker Electric motor. The fish fought and fought but just never came tight. Got the bait back and it had been mauled. No problem, just part of the game. Drop #3 and #4 were fruitless but we discover a bunch of bait on a hard bottom lump Rush had. At 1:30 PM, Drop #5 set us up to drift through that spot with the bait. I dropped the bait and got past the indication on the line that marked about where the bottom should be. I kept dropping and never hit bottom. Finally the line started coming off the reel so slow something wasn't right. I quickly reeled up all the slack and it was immediately clear we got bit on the way down. There wasn't a lot pulling or tension, in fact there was very little tension with the occasional slight shake. At this point we took the electric off the reel and I strapped in to our Aftco harness. I had about 1200' of line out and quickly wound the line all the way to the 200' top shot. I put another 75' of top shot on the reel with very little resistance and we were able to remove the 8 pound weight with little problem. At this point I was sure we had a tiny fish. Very little in the way of pulling or headshakes. I wound in another 60' or 80' of top shot and the fish was at the surface but we just couldn't see it with the glare. We were closer than 50' away and never got a look at it. Not knowing how or where the fish was hooked we just remained patient and played it with 20# or so pounds of drag. After a couple minutes just out of sight the fish finally made a slow, steady run straight down and settled in 400' under the boat. Even on this run, it didn't seem like anything really big. As the hours went on, the fish continued to grow... We would get it up to the wind on several times and it would just walk away from us. After a couple hours or so, we got the fish really close and it did not like the sound of the motors and just ran off 600'+ of line just under the surface like a big tuna. At this point we knew we had a real fish. I continued to fight over the next few hours and in to the dark. The fish seemingly grew by 100 pounds per hour! I was now pulling 25 pounds of drag with my hands in the spool. The fish just continued to dog us down deep, then come to 100' of the surface and take back 500-800' of line at a time. After 5+ hours in the harness you can imagine how depressed and beat up I was watching that line peel off the spool like it was nothing. Just short of the 6 hour mark the fish finally showed a little sign of being tired. I was able to get it just off the side of the boat and it would only sound 100'. Then 50' feet. The whole time, taking us around the bow, down the side, around the motors, time and time again. Now with so little line out, we couldn't move the boat fast enough to keep up with it and basically had to fight it from a dead boat. We had the harpoon ready and it was just me and Rush in the boat. That's a lot of pissed off fish for two guys to handle. We really needed another man on the wheel and it would have gone so much smoother. Finally I get the fish boat side but he's still 8' under the water and VERY much alive and pissed. I called Rush from the helm to bring the dart ASAP. Just as he got to the rail the fish dove under the boat. It was so dark you could barely make out the silhouette. By some miracle, Rush drills the SOB, behind the dorsal. This was maybe the most important bit of luck we received on this fish. Rush asked me how big it was after getting a decent look. I said, not that big, maybe 250#. Dart in solid, game over right? Hell no. The fish ripped off 600' of dart line and 600' of line off the reel at the same time. The dart line was burning off Rush's glove. Serious Old Man and the Sea shit. Rush told me we were out of dart line so I put the drag to sunset and stopped the fish while Rush had just 10' of dart line left. Now that we had tested the dart's purchase, we both pulled like hell for for another 30-40 minutes using both lines. Finally we had the fish boat side again. It's still pulling like hell trying to get under the boat and in the motors. This fish won't die! We struggled boat side for another 15 minutes and it FINALLY came up on it's side. Rush quickly gaffed it in the side. When he pulled on the gaff the fish rolled over and for the first time we saw it clearly. It was an ABSOLUTE DINOSAUR! The base of the tail at the caudal fins was over a foot wide. I've never seen anything like this beast. No time to celebrate, I quickly gaffed it in the gills and started the bleeding process. We secured the fish with a tail wrap tied to a cleat and then tried to get a bill wrap on it. Rush went to get a better shot with his gaff and and stuck it in the head, near the brain. Bad idea! The fish instantly turned bright purple and silver again and went absolutely ape-shit with both of us hanging on for dear life. It kicked the crap out of us again and was trying to kill me with it's 5' bill while looking me in the eye. Finally it let up and we were able to bill wrap it and tie it to the hard top. It was almost 10pm before we were able to drag the fish through transom door on the Andros. Once on deck you could really appreciate how special this fish was. We estimated it at 350#. Then 400#. Then maybe bigger... We tied the boat up for the night at Tie's house and iced the fish down with 500# of cubes in trash bags. It was 3am before we got to bed. At 9 am the next morning Rush pulled the boat into Murray Marine. We gave them a heads up and they had the forklift ready. Word travels fast in the keys and we had about 75 people there to see it come out. Just taking the ice bags off and people were blown away. As we slowly lifted the fish, you really got a feel for how big it was. When the scale settled it went 489.8 pounds! To catch a fish of this size is special anytime. To do it on film with a team of great guys you have traveled, worked with, laughed with and cried with over the last 6 months was something special. This was the biggest fish Rush had ever caught in 25 years of guiding over 200+ days per year. That's exceptional in itself. Rush and I (and Tie) are HUGE swordfish geeks. We are always talking about them, thinking about them, sharing pics from around the world, etc. Rush has had a horrible bad luck streak with swords and that rig breaking on the last trip was just the capper on his shit luck. That all changed that day. For me, this is a HUGE bucket list fish. I'm really most interested in big tunas and big swords. I've been lucky enough to catch plenty of big tuna, but this fish is something I'd never imagine catching on ANY coast. When someone asks me what the baddest fish in the sea is, no question anymore. I've never seen or felt anything fight and pull like this fish. Most people will never understand the amount of time, work, money and patience that goes into sword fishing. That combined with the amount of pure LUCK it takes to land a fish like this on 50# stand up gear is the longest of long shots. As many of you know, I've been trying to catch one on daytime gear here in San Diego. To say I'm more motivated that ever is an understatement... Gear - Shimano Tiagra 50LRS, Biscane Bay Deep Drop Rod, 80# Power Pro Depth Hunter Braid, 11/0 Mustad 7691SS hook, 130# wind on, 300# leader and a Bonita Belly bait.