OCEAN CITY- The ink was barely dry on entering the first Maryland state record swordfish two weeks ago when the record fell again last week during the White Marlin Open.
During the Big Fish Classic in late July, angler Pete Schultz on the Real One hauled in a 301-pound swordfish to take first place in the signature division. The Real One placed in other divisions and took home a tournament-high $542,000-plus in prize money during that event. The 301-pound sword was later confirmed as a new state record for the species.
The Real One could only rest on its laurels for a short time, however. Last week during the White Marlin Open, angler Jake Bertonazzi on the Jersey Boys reeled in a 318-pound swordfish on the last day of the tournament to take over the top spot on the state’s record books for the species. The record sword earned the Jersey Boys crew $118,000 in prize money in the tournament.
Bertonazzi was deep-dropping with squid on a circle hook when the big sword took the bait just minutes before the lines-out time was about to expire. It took nearly two hours to boat the record swordfish, which was brought to the scale at host Harbour Island late on the last day. Bertonazzi called the catch a mind-blowing experience.
“We were having a slow week,” he said. “We were not having anything. We had 15 minutes before the end of the tournament when it started taking the bait.”
The swordfish’s weight was officially certified by WMO weighmaster Alex Davis at Harbour Island. A Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist later this week confirmed the new state record.
The DNR compiles state records for various species in different divisions including the Atlantic Division. A few years back, DNR Fisheries added swordfish to the record books and set the minimum qualifying weight at 350 pounds. That was reduced to 300 pounds last year, but before two weeks ago, the slot was listed as vacant on the state record books.
The DNR maintains record for various species in four divisions including Atlantic, Chesapeake, non-tidal and invasive, and award plaques to anglers who achieve record catches. Anglers who believe they have a potential record catch are encouraged to fill out the state record application and call (410) 260-8325.