Last year, Capt. Nick Stanczyk tied for first in most swordfish tagged in the Atlantic Ocean. Stanczyk wasn’t ready to tie again this time around, so he fished extra hard and released more fish than anyone else in the U.S.
Stanczyk, who turns 34 this week, took home the trophy as the top tagging captain for swordfish in the Atlantic for 2018 during a recent annual Tag & Release Awards Ceremony in Miami. Between November 2017 and October of 2018, Stanczyk tagged and released 90 swordfish for several organizations, mostly The Billfish Foundation (TBF). Stanczyk says seven were tagged for different organizations while 83 were tagged for the foundation.
“It goes to show that we do have one of the sword fisheries in the world here,” Stanczyk said in a recent interview with The Weekly. “We set a record for most ever tagged and released for The Billfish Foundation.”
Founded in 1986, The Billfish Foundation works to conserve billfish worldwide. Its keystone program, the traditional tagging program, began in 1990. Today, it has grown to be the largest international billfish-tagging program in the world. TBF’s initial focus was on research and educational programs. In 1990, that focus was expanded to include advocacy for responsible fisheries management, recognizing that influencing decision makers with sound science is a crucial step in successful billfish conservation.
Stanczyk runs his fishing charter business at Bud ‘N’ Mary’s Sportfishing Marina, which his dad, Richard, has owned since 1978. Nick fishes out of the marina along with his brother Rick and uncle Scott.
“We became known for swordfishing over the last 15 years. It’s kind of our claim to fame or niche in the fishing history,” Nick said. “That became my charter business. I have clients who come all over the world and fish.”
After college, Stanczyk wanted to keep fishing and pursue it as a career. Over the last few years, he ended up getting a new boat with a big Pelagic wrap around it. With help from social media, his charter business has taken off as people get to see what’s caught on a regular basis.
A number of swordfish are caught to be eaten since they’re breeding, but Stanczyk said catch and release is obviously encouraged on any small ones. They’re let go for research to see where they wind up and end up getting caught again.
“I learned a lot from my dad and uncle on where to start it,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of trips over the last 10 years.”
Capt. Nick Stanczyk can be found on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.