Sodwana daytime broadie – a plan comes together

Congratulations to the crew aboard “Lihann” for capturing a Broadbill Swordfish of Sodwana Bay in “broad” daylight. This is truly a magnificent catch and surely the start of a new target quarry.

We would like to remind everybody about the recent ban on vertical jigging and therefore urge all anglers to practice this method responsibly!!!

Story and pictures supplied by Jonathan Booysen

On the 6th of June 2010, Denis Booysen, Hannes and Michael Duvenage, Divan Coetzee and I launched Hannes’ boat “Lihann” off Sodwana. This marked the last day of a 3 day fishing trip in which we would target broadbill swordfish during the day. On the previous days, we had tried to determine which area we needed to concentrate our efforts on and after much debate, we decided that the ‘big W’ area was our best bet. We had tried fishing in depths from 350m to 450m which only resulted in large thresher sharks. On the last day, we unanimously decided to focus our efforts in the deeper water.

The weather was perfect with no wind and when we arrived at our designated area, there was no swell and very little current. I clipped on one of the squids that I had rigged the night before and let it out behind the boat. I then attached a few lightsticks onto the windon leader followed by a heavy sinker. All this was attached to an 80Lbs braided main line fished on a two speed reel on a bent butt 80Lbs marlin rod. This whole setup was slowly lowered to the bottom until the weight hit the ground. I then took a few turns on the reel to lift the sinker off the ground and we all settled down to wait.

Broadbill Rig

After about half an hour, the rod bumped a few times and the reel started running. My Dad took the strike and began the task of retrieving 500m of line. It took 45 minutes before the leader came up and when I took the trace, I saw the fish to be a nice yellowfin tuna. We gaffed the 30 odd kg fish and repositioned ourselves for the next drift. The same procedure of dropping the lightened rig to the bottom was used and again we waited for the strike.

At about 12:00 the rod tip gave the slightest bump and then bent slightly before coming back to the usual position. We all assumed it was a swell but the slight bump had us all wondering. Over the next ten minutes the rod tip indicated that the weight was bumping on the bottom and I would give the reel a few turns to keep it off the bottom. After a while the 500m marker came out the water and the tip still showed the rig was bouncing on the bottom. Hannes and I asked what the depth was and when my Dad said it was over 550m deep, we realised there was something strange happening. I told Michael to get into the chair and retrieve the rig and whatever was pulling the weight up. After about 30 minutes, the weight was about 80m from the boat but the line was angling to the surface. I told Michael that we probably had some kind of bottomfish on the line that was surfacing. Everyone on the boat agreed as this was the most logical explanation.

Broadie on the beach

A short while later, the sinker line broke off causing the line to come up even faster. With the line right on the surface, we were expecting to see a fish come floating to the surface. The next moment, the long dark bill broke the surface followed by the bronze body of a broadbill! This spectacular sight was met with spontaneous shouts of “BROADBILL!” from everyone onboard. The drag was immediately slacked and we were all in panic stations! The fish fought on the surface for about 15 minutes jumping clear out of the water four times. As the fish tired, it started making big circles under the boat. With each circle, it came closer and closer. I took the trace and brought the fish up the last few meters. As soon as it was in range, Hannes and Divan sank 2 gaffs into the fish’s head and swiftly pulled it on board. I am sure that boats off Diepgat heard the shouts from everyone onboard.

The Broadie Team

After a few photos, we packed up and headed for the beach. More photos were taken before we loaded the boat and left for Richards Bay.

We arrived at the Richards Bay Ski Boat Club at just after 6pm where the fish weighed in at 31,2kg.

This fish marks only the second broadbill ever caught in South Africa during the day. The first being caught be the crew of “Aphrodite”.

Congratulations once again to everybody involved!!!