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Going Deep

R.J. Boyle specializes in catching broadbill swordfish in the Gulf Stream during the day

It takes a long time for bait to reach the bottom in 1,700 feet of water, even when you’re using 10 pounds of lead.

The anticipation of hooking a massive broadbill swordfish and getting to see the beast in broad daylight seems to slow the drop even more.It’s like when you were a kid going to the movies: The trip to the theater always seemed 10 times longer than the ride home.

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A look back at King Cod

Travel back to the early days of commercial fishing in New England, when schooners plied the banks, and cod and other species were plentiful beyond imagination

Typical dorymen hard at work.“Dories over!”

It’s the call Asa Allard and Harland Guidry have been waiting for, and the men hurriedly prepare their little boat. Thwarts are shipped, and the bilge plug is jammed in. Oars, pen boards, water jug, bailer, bucket, gaff, bait knife, sail, mast and three tubs of hooks and tarred-cotton line are hastily stowed.

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Acts of cod

Alphonse Bielevich holds the world record for sport-caught cod with this 98-pound, 12-ounce fish boated June 8, 1969, off New Hampshire's Isles of Shoals.• The largest cod ever recorded weighed 211.25 pounds and was caught on a longline off Massachusetts in May 1895.

• On July 22, 1873, Miss Fannie Belis of St. Louis caught a 130-pounder during a fishing excursion aboard the yacht United States off Eastern Point, Mass. A number of cod over 100 pounds were reported in the late 1800s, but few, if any, of that size have been documented in the 20th century.

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What happened to the halibut?

Fishermen faced the danger of being lost or run down in their dories by a ship in the fog.If there was ever a poster child for overfishing, it’s the Atlantic halibut, a jumbo member of the flounder clan that can grow to upward of 400 pounds. Like cod, halibut were plentiful on the Grand Banks, Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine during Colonial times, but they weren’t considered fit to eat and were regarded by cod fishermen as a nuisance.

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Sport fishing for groundfish

The Northeast and Canadian Maritimes were ground zero for the fishery.The sport of catching groundfish dates back more than 200 years. George Washington is said to have made a successful excursion off New Hampshire to catch cod around the time of the Revolutionary War, and the species’ popularity has endured ever since.

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