New California State Record Swordfish

By Morgan Lyle

California’s state record swordfish was boated this fall by three dedicated and enthusiastic anglers. They like to think a fourth fisherman had a hand in their success, at least in spirit. Dillon Houston, Ezekiel Cruz, and Mason Karafa caught the swordfish on Oct. 27, a broadbill 68 pounds heavier than the previous California record.

They had spent the day fishing but not catching at La Jolla Canyon off San Diego. With the sun sinking in the sky, the moved to 9 Mile Bank, closer to the coast, where Houston — a co-owner of Brothers Sportfishing — last year met and became friends with Capt. Ron Ellis. A skipper from Santa Barbara who had relocated to San Diego, Ellis was lost at sea in February.

Help From a Friend

Houston, Cruz, and Karafa toasted his memory, dropped a squid-tipped hook nearly 2,000 feet, and within an hour had caught the 520-pound swordfish they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

The group fished from a 25-foot Davidson Bahia that usually sees bluefins, yellowfins, California yellowtail, mahi, and rockfish on Brothers Sportfishing charters. They only began swordfishing last year, so it’s no surprise they had never caught one this big. No one had, at least in California waters. The former state record fish weighed 452 pounds.

Using squid rigged on a J-hook and 12 pounds of lead, the group hooked up fairly quickly. After watching the rod tip intently for 10 minutes, Karafa jumped up and said, “we just got a bite,” Houston recalled. Karafa felt the rod come tight, and the 45-minute fight was on.

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