South Coast angler has landed Australia’s biggest swordfish and the second largest in the world.
Weighing in at 436.2kg, the fish came second only to a swordfish caught in Chile in 1953 which weighed 536.1kg.
Ulladulla captain George Lirantzis , along with fisherman Mitch Ryan, and crew Ken and Pete Rushton, took his boat Side Affect, a Noosa Cat 2700,
75 kilomertres off Mallacoota on Sunday chasing swordfish.
The monster fish wasn’t the first one hooked by the fishermen that day, with a swordfish and a shark let go before the “bite of the big one” at 3.05pm.
“When we got the bite of the big one it came screaming up to the surface,” Mr Lirantzis said.
“We saw it jump out, which was unusual because most of them go back down. This one stayed on the surface for the whole fight.
“It was within 50 metres of the boat for the entire fight.”
It took Mr Ryan one hour and 50 minutes to get the swordfish to the boat, and another hour for the four grown men to get it into the boat.
“That is very short. Normally, swordfish take a lot longer [to land],” Mr Lirantzis said.
“There are guys who have fought them for 23 hours and 50 minutes. We have been blessed with this one.
“The difference with this one was that it spent the whole time on the surface giving us some explosive jumps.
“When we finally got it boat side, we all struggled for over an hour to get it in the boat.”
Once it was in the boat, it was “all celebrations and high fives”.
“We knew straight up it was over 400 kilograms and we knew it was going to be largest in Australia,” Mr Lirantzis said.
“We didn’t realise it was going to be second biggest in world.”
Mr Lirantzis said every angler’s dream was to catch a “magic mark fish”.
“That is 1000 pounds. This fish was 961 pounds, so we were only 39 pounds off,” he said.
After a 337kg swordfish catch in 2017, Mr Lirantzis said he had an “inkling” there was a bigger “monster” out there to be caught.
“I didn’t think it would happen so quick,” he said.
“I spend 90 per cent of my time at this time of year chasing swordfish. We tow the boat five hours south to Mallacoota to chase them.
“It is then a one hour and 40 minute run to the grounds and we come in daily. The return trip is almost 150 kilometres.”
The Ulladulla Game Fishing Club president said the catch was being frozen at the Ulladulla Fishing Co Op and would be taxidermied .
“One will be made for me, and one will be made for the angler, Mitch, which will be stored at our club house or in the Ulladulla Ex Servos Club,” Mr Lirantzis said.
The catch won’t be officially recorded because of the gear used. The crew were using a 130-pound Non International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rated line.
However, Mr Lirantzis said he didn’t “need a piece of paper” to prove the catch.
“We don’t go fishing for the record. The catch is so significant to us that we don’t need a piece of paper,” he said.
“We use a leader instead of a line because a leader makes the tackle more robust and can catch more fish on it without having to rerig .
“The last couple of years I have been chasing the fish, I said I didn’t want to have to come in every night to retie our knots.”
COURTESY EDEN MAGNET May 2018
Courtesy Eden Magnet May 2018