Father-Son Fishing Duo Reels in North Carolina State Record 12.5-Foot Swordfish

by Emily Morgan

A father and son fishing duo recently made North Carolina history when they reeled in the largest swordfish in the state’s history. According to the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries, angler Brandon Carney was fishing on his boat on August 21 when his dad, Cary Carney, reeled in the record-setting fish.

“It started out just like any other day,” Carney said in a recent interview. “We made our second drop around 10:30 in the morning, and there she was. As soon as Dad hooked into it, I said, ‘I think we got a big one.'”

However, it turned out to be bigger than they ever expected. The swordfish weighed in at 504 pounds, 8 ounces. It was also nearly 13 feet in length.

But before the two could weigh and measure the beast of a fish, they had to devise a plan to get it into their boat.

“We had an electric reel, but because [the fish] was peeling off so much line, it blew every fuse we had as soon as we engaged the electric,” Carney admitted. “We disconnected all power from it, and we were like, ‘Well, I guess we’re cranking this bad boy in.'”

Turning off the power allowed Carney’s catch to qualify for the North Carolina state record, as fish caught on electric reels don’t qualify for such titles.

In addition, battling the swordfish made the whole struggle all the more interesting. Multiple times, the behemoth of a swordfish descended over 2,000 feet beneath the water’s surface. Carney said the fish pulled his boat over 10 miles during the fight.

Father-son fishing duo oust 1979 North Carolina swordfish record

Once Cary finally beat the fish, the other crew members had to hoist it into the boat. After devising a plan, they tied a rope to its bill and used the boat’s T-top as a pulley before getting it onto the vessel’s deck.

“He came up and he was just done,” one of the crew members said. “He didn’t try to swipe us with his bill, he didn’t try to get away— he came up and was just toast.”

The big-billed fish also ousted the previous North Carolina state record. That record was set in 1979 by a wide margin of 63 pounds.

According to North Carolina Marine Fisheries, this swordfish’s fork length measured 104 inches alone, while its circumference came in at 53 inches.

While the two anglers were shocked by the size of the swordfish, they were even more impressed by the number of meals the massive fish had provided them.

“We did not waste any of the meat,” he revealed. “We had it on ice, we weighed it and put it back on ice and then immediately cut it up. I think 30 people is a conservative estimate of how many people we’ve shared it with. All of our neighbors and all of our friends have eaten some of it. It’s remarkable.”