We take turns holding the gaff, kneeling on the aft cockpit bench with arms extended outboard between the backstay, tracking device, and the cords which tie down the sunshade.
The enormous fish thrashes about on the other end of the gaff, its head held just above the water surface. It is a violent, intimate death. And it is protracted, taking perhaps 5 minutes to die from when it was gaffed.
Once we are sure it is dead, we loop a line around its midriff and hoist it with some difficulty into the cockpit. It is enormous, 1.9m in length (excluding the tail) and perhaps 40 or 50 kg. It is clearly too big for our needs. Marlin? Sailfish? Swordfish? We hazard guesses but none of us know for sure.
We send a picture to Jacques and ask him to identify it. We also request him not to share the picture on social media yet. The response comes back – swordfish, Sassi orange.
We cut two huge fillets from the fish. Skin them, divide them and place them in four ziplock bags. It is enough fish for 5 or 6 big meals for the four of us. It is all we could possibly eat.
The rest of the carcass is dropped over the side with some mumbled words. We are acutely aware of the waste. Something will eat the rest of it, we reassure each other.
We felt no elation, nor sense of achievement, in catching the swordfish. Instead we were all a little uncomfortable, possibly disturbed, by the death of an incredible creature and the waste.
We had sashimi with our sundowners and swordfish steaks for dinner that night. Last night we had ceviche. We will eat well for days. The rod and reel have been stowed. Our fishing is over.