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> Issue 4 > Page 6 - A Life History of the Swordfish

Page 6 - A Life History of the Swordfish

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/5/1 (958 reads)

dinas, silver hake, redfish and the Atlantic herring. And he eats great quantities of squid • about l/5th of his diet • including not only the short-finned squid (Illex illecebrosus) but occasionally the larger squid of the order Oegopsida • large squid jaws, or beaks, found in the stomachs. The stomach contents also show that swordfish feed not only at the surface but to depths of 100 fathoms and more. Most fishermen who have been out in a dory trying to drown a swordfish, know some? thing of the sword as a weapon. Once struck, they are liable to come through the dory. We heard of one that went through the big boat • 2 inches planking plus 6 inches hardwood. And on July 6, 1967, at a depth of 610 meters, the submarine Alvin was rammed through by a swordfish. Bob Fitzgerald of Dingwall told us: "The kind of fight they put up depended on where they were hit. If they happened to be hit in the head or any vital spot, you know, they would not last' too long. If you got close enough and drove that harpoon right down through them, sometimes go right through on the other side and clinch, turn crosswise • that would dam'e their insides and they wouldn't last so long. But the ordinary, if you struck thera back close to their tail or in the fleshy part, they'd put up a good fight, half hour sometimes an hour. Of course, I have seen real devils, you know • 2 or 3 hours. They get down on the bottom there and just keep go? ing, fast as they could, and you haul them back trying to drown them, if they'll come back they'll come back so far and then they'll take off again. Some of them will come to the top of the water and jump, and I've had two or three of them come and ram the boat. Yes, indeed, I was in the dory when they came through the dory right to their eyes. I don't know if they turn on the boat or it just hap? pens in the fight. You never know the mind of a fish, if they have such a thing. I've seen one that I figure he was trying to kill me. He didn't jump at the boat, he jumped at me and came right in a- cross the side of the boat and rolled down on the side of the boat and then rolled back off into the water again. The next time he came through it, right to his eyes. Then I was off Neil's Harbour and I was drowning a fellow and he came through me. And I've had two fish that stuck in the bottom on me. Sometimes you strike them in the side of the head they go crazy, you know? This fellow went crazy and dove down 60-70 fathom of water. You know he's stuck when you pull up over him and that's

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