30 Swords in Three Days!

The Booby Trap team set out to break some swordfish records — and they succeeded.

30 Swords

30 Swords

The boys on Booby Trap, fishing out of Surfside, Texas, continue to rack up incredible numbers of broadbill swordfish.

The 52-foot Viking Express Booby Trap, with Capt. Brett Holden, Capt. Jeff Wilson, mate Matt Reed, Capt. Nick Stanzcyk, Josh Graves and David Gregory, set out from the outset to break some swordfish records. This team from Surfside, Texas (near Freeport), planned to catch high numbers of daytime swordfish to break their previous record of catching 13 in a day. They exceeded that number on this trip, catching 14 swordfish in one day. In 2012, Booby Trap made two separate trips that produced 21 swordfish; on this trip they beat that, with 22 in a day and a half and 30 daytime swords total for the trip.

It turned out to be an awesome trip for us, since we wanted to show our good friend and guest swordfishing expert, Capt. Nick Stanzcyk of Bud N’ Mary’s fame, what we had learned since his father Richard Stanzcyk brought the technique to the Florida Keys.

After making the long run to the sword grounds, we started dropping the baits to nearly 1,800 feet. We didn’t have to wait long; they were really biting!

We were showing Nick our doubleheader techniques, and it took all of one drop for him to slide right into the groove. We ended up hooking 12 doubleheaders.

Catching two swords at a time can be quite a challenge. At one point we had a 350-pound sword jumping a quarter-mile behind the boat and a 250-pounder jumping a quarter-mile out in front of the boat! It’s very important to find an area that you have all to yourself before doubling up on swords. You need at least a mile between boats when the swords are hitting the 200- to 400-pound mark. We wanted to target the swords in areas we had previously fished, but those spots had other boats on them, so we fished new and unproven areas. That worked out great, to say the least, and we never had a problem, other than one container ship almost getting a swordfish in her wheels. The whole crew fished hard for the entire three-day trip, fighting swords one after the other nonstop, with some swords taking as little as 15 minutes to the wire and others taking two to three hours.

The most amazing thing about the trip was the size of these daytime swords. We estimated that 23 of the 30 swordfish weighed over 200 pounds and that five of them ranged between 300 and 400. We released 26 swordfish in good shape to fight another day — four were hooked deep and iced down for the 100-mile trip back to Surfside Marina.

All 30 swordfish were caught on conventional IGFA-approved 80-pound tackle and Baitmasters squid.

This trip put us at an all-time high, with 218 swordfish in 45 trips on Booby Trap. Out of the 218 swords, we estimated that 20 exceeded the old state record of 341 pounds. We set the new record in the second week of June, when one of our guest anglers, Brian Barclay, caught a 493-pound swordfish that's a pending Texas state record.

As of June 15, 2013, the Booby Trap Fishing Team holds the records of 30 swords in one trip; 14 swordfish in a day; and the Texas state record sword. We just need a grander now!

— Brett Holden, boobytrapfishingteam.com