Man Reportedly Hospitalized for Infection After 8-Hour Battle With 301-Pound Swordfish

A Maryland man participating in the annual Big Fish Classic Tournament set a state record for catching a 301-pound swordfish on July 23. Not that it was easy by any means.

One of the ocean's most formidable predators, swordfish put on weight so rapidly they may increase their body mass a millionfold or more between birth and death, according to Oceana. They use their long, sharp bills to incapacitate their prey, making them easier to overpower and devour. Besides humans, some sharks, and some toothed whales, adult swordfish have no natural predators, the organization stated.

The man, a 36-year-old Annapolis resident by the name of Peter Schultz, reeled the fish in over the course of an eight-hour battle that took place around 50 miles offshore. Schultz's hard-won victory was rewarded with a hefty prize: a check in the amount of $542,648, which he reportedly plans to split with his four teammates.

"We put so much effort into this," he said, according to a press release issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on July 29. "Everyone had a crucial role."

Schultz baited the line with a dead eel and hooked the swordfish at some point thereafter, the release stated. Thus began the epic tug-of-war between the two parties. Schultz told the local news outlet FOX 5 DC that he was so afraid the fish would escape that he didn't once remove his hands from the reel.

"They will sit like a submarine for an hour and you can't move them, and then they will torpedo toward the boat at 40, 50 miles an hour," he said. "Not an exaggeration." That said, Schultz had a blast. "I would give my right hand to do that over again," he said. "It was totally worth it. It was epic."

But his success came at a cost. During the battle, Schultz developed a blister on his hand as a result of all the reeling, according to FOX 5 DC. The blister became infected, forcing him to seek treatment at a local hospital. While he has since been released, he lost 11 pounds in the meantime.

"Well, I weighed 185 pounds last week. I just left the hospital and now I weigh 174 pounds," he told FOX 5 DC.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recognizes fishermen who land state record-breaking sport fish in any of four divisions: Atlantic, Chesapeake, non-tidal, and invasive, according to the release. Besides Schultz, other record-holders include Ed Jones, who caught an 84-pound blue catfish in the Potomac River near Fort Washington on August 13, 2012; Mark Bennett, who caught a 236.5-pound yellowfin tuna at Washington Canyon on September 22, 2002; and Robert Farris, who caught a 1,062-pound blue marlin at Baltimore Canyon on August 7, 2009, per the department's website.

A fish vendor carries a dead swordfish.
On July 23, Maryland contractor Peter Schultz landed a massive 301-pound specimen. Stock image of a fish vendor carrying a dead swordfish. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images