The first time I met him he was in full uniform including his government issue life preserver. He had just docked his state-of-the-art patrol boat at one of the Stock Island marinas, walked into the ship store and announced that he was looking for a sailing vessel involved in something shady that was reported to have been in the area.
That was his job, looking for the bad guy out on the water. Now retired from the Coast Guard, Capt. Beau Woods has changed his focus to something different, but no less dangerous. He is now a Lower Keys charter captain who has developed a remarkable skill for finding swordfish.
Swordfishing during the daylight hours was developed over the last decade right
here in the Florida Keys, mainly by the fleet at Bud N’ Mary's in Islamorada. Daily
reports of swordfish landings coupled with the name Stanczyk sparked the interest
and passion of many including, Capt. Beau Woods.
Add the word "passion" to any endeavor and eventually it will lead you to the word "obsession," which is the emotional ingredient needed to be extraordinary. Ask Beau about swordfishing and he'll explain what baits to use, how to rig, how to drift and where to fish; never skipping a beat between subjects and smiling the entire time. Here in the last week his passion has paid off for a few lucky anglers.
Angler Darren Leggett from Cudjoe Key wanted to catch a swordfish — bad. In fact, he had been on eight different swordfish trips that ended without any broadbill glory. To say Darren was snakebit on swordfish is an understatement.
After making the run out on Captain Beau’s charter vessel named the Double 00, past an area known as the Wall offshore of the lower Florida Keys, the first bait was laid out.
Right away the rod loaded up on a mid-sized swordfish (100-pound-plus) that through the proverbial "Buck Fever" pulled the hook at the surface when Darren hesitated on the harpoon. He just stared at the swordfish in disbelief. Luckily, on the next drift the crew hooked up again with an even larger fish that came to the boat quickly. A swordfish at the surface in less than 20 minutes is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to landing the fish. Finally, after attaching two buoys and two deep runs, the fish was boat side — still mean, but contained.
Darren Leggett succeeded and caught his swordfish.
Emma Shield out of Key West had no idea what she was in for when asked to go fishing out of Cudjoe Gardens Marina on the Double 00. After a long run offshore and a successful drift, the first swordfish of the day was released. Noticing her excitement Beau asked her if she would like to be next. Easy answer, "Yes please!"
It didn't take long before Emma was hooked up and fighting a world-class gamefish down deep in the Atlantic Ocean. What a way to be introduced to offshore fishing. The fish was later landed and captured in a photo with an extremely excited Emma struggling to hold the beast. She was hooked. There were a total of five swordfish bites on that trip.
The final numbers were solid. Out of the four swordfish charters on the Double 00 this week, five fish were landed and well over 10 fish were fooled bythe bait. These are big numbers no doubt. One thing is for sure, Beau knows swordfish.