To land a large broadbill is considered by many to be the highest achievement in angling.

Northeast, South
Catch Ease

How to identify a Swordfish

Characteristically, this species has a smooth, very broad, flattened sword (broadbill) that is significantly longer and wider than the bill of any other billfish. It also has a nonretractable dorsal fin, rigid, nonretractable pectoral fins, and a single, but very large keel on either side of the caudal peduncle. Adults lack scales and swordfish of all sizes lack ventral fins. The back may be dark brown, bronze, dark metallic purple, grayish blue or black. The sides may be dark like the back or dusky in color. The belly and lower sides of the head are dirty white or light brown.This pelagic, migratory species usually travels alone. It uses its sword for defense and to kill or stun food such as squid, dolphin, mackerel, bluefish and various other midwater and deep-see pelagic species. Occasional attacks on boats have been authenticated by the recovery of swords found broken off in wooden hulls. One swordfish attacked Alvin, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute submarine, at a depth of 2,000 feet and wedged its sword so tightly into a seam that it could not be withdrawn.

Where to catch Swordfish

The broadbill swordfish is found worldwide in temperate and tropical oceanic and continental shelf waters from the surface to depths of 400-500 fathoms (2,400-3000 feet) or more. Except when spawning, females prefer cool, deep waters near submarine canyons or coral banks. Males prefer to remain in somewhat warmer waters. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish:

how to catch Swordfish

Fishing methods include presenting trolled baits or deep drifting at night with baits such as squid or bonito strips. They often bask on the surface with their dorsal and tail fins protruding from the water, making them susceptible to harpooners and longliners who make the majority of swordfish catches in the United States. They are finicky, easily frightened by an approaching boat, and rarely strike blindly. The bait must be presented carefully and repeatedly before the swordfish will take it. The soft mouth of the swordfish makes hookups uncertain and the slashing bill can make short work of an angler’s line or leader. To counteract the soft mouths of the swordfish, most anglers will set their drags lower than they would for most fish of this size. Squid is the most popular bait, though Spanish mackerel, eel, mullet, herring, tuna and live or dead bonito are also used.The flesh of a swordfish is considered by many to be one of the finest eating fish in the ocean. It has a firm texture and can be grilled, broiled or fried. Any angler wishing to target broadbill swordfish must first check any state and federal regulations for any necessary permits that may be required. In the United States, all anglers must possess a Highly Migratory Species Permit before landing any swordfish. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:

Swordfish lures, tackle & bait

The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish:

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