Okay, it was a swordfish, but “Holy Mackerel!” is the edited version of what angler Rob Helzer and his crew were screaming when the 488-pound swordfish jumped for the first time. He and friends Rob Warburton, Jim and Kathy Carter and John Rooks landed the fish on May 2.
“We were straight out of Marathon, about 42 miles, fishing in 1,800 feet of water,” Helzer said. It was their third swordfishing trip and while they had hooked some big ones before, this was the first one they got all the way to the boat.
“We had hooked into a few others, but what a dandy this was!” he said. “It was a team effort.”
The entire production would have been impossible without the electric reel and the block and tackle, recently installed, to bring the fish into the boat. Once at the dock, Helzer tied a line around the tail and attached it to the pickup to drag it out onto the slab. Packaging the meat — about 300 pounds — took an entire day and a half. Suffice to say, the neighborhood is happy with Helzer and friends’ catch and distribution of swordfish steak.
“That was definitely the catch of a lifetime,” Helzer said. Helzer splits his time between Marathon and Michigan.