Massive 560-pound swordfish caught off North Carolina by 13-year old

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Veteran Outer Banks N.C. Capt. Michael Tickle runs the 67-foot Jerrett Bay boat “Wasteknot” out of Morehead City. But on Dec. 29 he headed offshore on a friend’s much smaller 28-foot Southport boat with his 13-year old son Kelson, and 28-year old boat mate Zach Grantham for a go at swordfish.

“The weather that time of year can be iffy, but we had a beautiful day with great conditions,” said Tickle, age 38. “There was just 2.5 knots of northeast current, and we headed 60 miles east of Beaufort Inlet and started fishing in 1,600-feet of water.”

They used a 20-inch eel bait rigged with an 11/0 Mustad 7691 hook, and a pink Fathom skirt. It was connected to a Tiagra reel spooled with 80-pound test Power Pro, and 150 yards of 250-pound wind-on leader, and taken deep with add-on weight.

They drift-fished until almost noon, before a sword struck.

“The swordfish took a few hundred yards of line on the bite then raced to the surface,” said Tickle. “We never saw it initially. But after about an hour we were able to get the weight off the line (to aid the fish fight).

“As I was getting the weight off, the fish jumped twice beside the boat. After that it went back down and it took Kelson another 4.5 hours to get it back up where Zach was able to get a dart in it.

“Once we’re able to get the fish alongside, it took us around 30-minutes to get the fish in the boat with the aid of a block and tackle.”

It took the anglers 5.5 hours to land the massive swordfish.

The anglers ran back to port, weighing the sword at Big Rock Landing in Morehead City, NC with the aid of friends from EJW OUTDOORS. The huge sword scaled 560-pounds, with a 165-inch total length, and 106-inch girth.

“This was my third swordfish over 500-pounds,” said Capt. Tickle. “But this one was extra special fishing with my son as the angler.”

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I'm a writer who focuses on the outdoors and travel. I share my time between Alaska and Colorado, where, when I'm not writing, I enjoy camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and skiing (often with dogs in tow). My byline may also be seen in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and others.


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