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'It buried the buoy for 20 minutes': Swordfish weighing 436 pounds reeled in by Stuart, Florida, woman


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Sea monsters do exist. Just ask Jennifer Cameron.

On April 16, the Stuart, Florida, angler caught the largest swordfish of her fishing career, weighing in a giant that tipped the scales at 436 pounds.

Cameron fished with husband Capt. Glenn Cameron, who owns Floridian fishing charters docked at Sailfish Marina of Stuart Florida, and mate Nick Cremasco. 

Catching a nearly quarter-ton brute like a swordfish is a challenge in and of itself. Doing so while struggling with a 102-degree temperature is something else completely.

“I wasn’t feeling that good that day, a day after I received my second Moderna vaccination” for COVID-19, she told TCPalm | Treasure Coast Newspapers, part of the USA TODAY Network. “But we needed to catch a fish, so I went along. After we boated it, I could feel my fever, went into the cabin and wrapped up in a blanket and slept on the boat ride all the way back into the marina.”

Jennifer Cameron of Stuart caught a 436-pound swordfish April 16, 2021 in 1,000 feet of water off Stuart.

Why did she need to catch a fish? 

The reason they were fishing in the first place was because Cameron is one of the lead organizers of the Black Gold Jubilee, an annual spring festival and charity fundraiser celebrated at the Torry Island Campground in Belle Glade, Florida.

One aspect of the event is a fish fry. Cameron wanted to catch a fish large enough to feed scores of attendees, so targeting a swordfish would have achieved that goal.

Mission accomplished.

“Sometimes we get criticized for keeping a fish that large and not releasing it. But we literally provided about 300 pounds of fillets to use for the fish fry and to provide to families in the Glades who needed fresh fish,” she said. “We only kept a few small pieces for our family.”

She also was able to educate people about the difference between swordfish and marlin, a similar-looking fish whose harvest is strictly limited in U.S. waters and that’s not sold as a food fish here.

How she almost lost the swordfish

Catching this sword almost didn’t happen, her husband said. The fish apparently was hooked in the dorsal fin — not in the mouth.

“We were straight out of the St. Lucie Inlet in 1,650 feet of water and using bonito belly as bait,” he said. “On our first drift, we had a bite but the fish came off pretty quickly. So we pulled up, ran back south (up current) and began our second drift. As soon as Nick put the lines back out, I turned my head and when I looked back at the buoy, it had disappeared.”


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