World-Record Catch Certified by IGFA
Nicky Sinden’s 794.2-pound swordfish caught off New Zealand was certified by the International Game Fish Association as the new all-tackle ladies word record. It tops the 758-pound swordfish that held the record for 65 years.
Sinden, host of a popular New Zealand fishing show, caught the broadbill swordfish back in March. It’s the largest broadbill ever caught by a female, according to the IGFA.
Read Sinden’s full account of the catch below.
Nicky Sinden, host of a popular New Zealand fishing show, had no idea what lay ahead when she took her new vessel out for a day of swordfishing off Whangaroa, New Zealand, on March 22, 2017. with friends Dave Woodman and Matt Haliday. The day ended up being one she will never forget: she returned to port with a potential ladies all-tackle world record swordfish aboard. This is her recap of that remarkable catch.
We hit the water to film an episode of Ados Addicted to Fishing, and we were on a mission to land a broadbill swordfish on my new 23-foot boat, Game On. We were fishing in the daytime off the Northland region of New Zealand.
It ended up being a baptism by fire when an enormous swordfish ate a large arrow squid on the second drop as if it were an elephant eating a peanut. I hooked the fish on a Shimano Talica 50, spooled with 80-pound-test Sufix spliced to a backing of 100-pound-test Ace and I fought the fish standing up at 44 pounds of drag — full sunset — for a little over an hour. The fish porpoised out of the water during the fight and we realized we we not dealing with a small fish when it revealed its huge 6-foot bill.
We were able to gaff the fish with an IGFA-legal gaff, but getting the fish in the boat proved to be a massive task. With the bill over the transom, all of the crew (plus our cameraman) tried pulling it into the boat without any luck, so I jumped in the water and tied a rope around the fish’s tail before we started the long slow journey of towing the swordfish back to port at Whangaroa. Since we weren’t going faster than 8 knots, we decided to put out a full spread of lures for a marlin but didn’t have any bites.
And while we knew the swordfish was big, we had no idea it could be a pending world record until the weigh station crane at Whangaroa lifted the swordfish from the back of the boat. The scale read over 600 pounds before the crane had even fully picked the fish up off the boat. Eventually, the certified scale settled on 794.2 pounds.
That’s when we started asking the question: What’s the ladies world record for swordfish? A quick call to Shimano headquarters and they asked me if I was sitting down. They said I had just landed a pending ladies all-tackle world record for swordfish as well as a new women’s 130-pound-class record. The big sword also set a New Zealand national record.
While I was sharing the story with my dad on the phone, the giant fish broke the weigh master’s rope and dropped sword-first into the water, where it got stuck in the mud. Luckily, we were able to haul it back up, still in perfect condition. And needless to say, we still have ear-to-ear smiles from this catch.