May 6, 1973
By Ted Malley
|Mom passenger on boat, son Tim captain,|
his brother Ted swordfish spotter in plane.
I spent twelve years spotting swordfish for the local fleet. My brother Timmy has spent six years doing likewise. Last year we joined forces, bought our own boat and went after swordfish big time. Although neither of us had ever been swordfishing on a boat or even operated a boat, we managed to set a modern day record for swordfish harpooned in a season.
|TED AND TIM|
Ted records weight: average 200 feisty pounds
What makes sword fishing so exciting? How about 15 hours non-stop in a single engine aircraft 250 miles from the nearest point of land? Or racing sunset and thunderstorms for the hangar. How many times have we left early in the morning with clear, calm, beautiful weather, only to return after dark to fog and rain with no alternative but to make ceiling zero, visibility zero instrument approaches into unfamiliar airports.
That’s what the pilot faces. What happens on the boat? Days of waves as big as houses. Waves so big that they break stands made of 8” aluminum tubing as if they were toothpicks—sometimes with the striker still in them (this happened to me). Masts have also been known to break with accompanying loss of lives. Dories lost in the fog for hours, days —sometimes forever. Dory-men skewered by irate swordfish.
Then there are the good things, like tying alongside another boat or two on a calm night with clambakes, lobsters, halibut and swordfish steaks sizzling on deck. And booze and stories and lies. Or those unbelievable calm days with fish everywhere and the promise of fat paychecks. But the money never comes easy. Horsing 300-pound fish around has broken many strong spirits.
This life of the swordfishermen, depicted by shots from the planes, the stand, the topmast or dory would make a standout documentary.
|From Ted's plane, his mom snaps Carla Joyce, captained by his brother Tim.|