Swordfish are part of the billfish family and commonly known as “broadbills”. They have long flat bills that they used to slash at prey in order to injure it for an easier catch. Swordfish have soft mouths since they lose all their teeth and scales by adulthood. Swordfish tend to spend most of their day near the bottom in depths up to 1850 feet. For this reason, Florida Keys fisherman would typically target Swordfish during the night. Over the last 10 years fisherman have discovered that with the right equipment and techniques Sword fishing can be very successful during the day.
When asked if he prefers daytime Sword fishing versus night, Captain Marty Lewis of the Main Attraction explained that “Catching Swordfish in the daytime is way more exciting.” He described how “You can see the fish jump and thrash out of the water; the colors are magnificent and you actually see the fight.” Main Attraction offers daytime Swordfish charters, which is a ten-hour trip. Since the Swordfish grounds are more than 32 miles offshore, Captain Marty likes to fish his way out. This means if birds or debris is spotted on the way, they will stop and try for Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo, etc.
When it comes to Sword fishing in the daytime, equipment is everything. Main Attraction uses Daiwa 3000 electric reels and braided 80-pound line with a 250-pound wind-on leader. They typically use two blinking strobe lights with one bait attached. They use several different baits depending on the conditions, Squid, Bonita, or Mahi strips (with the skin). Mate Digger Rodamer likes to keep the skin on so the bait stays hardy and tough, which allows it to last longer.
Then they use a 6 to 10-pound lead to drop the bait to the bottom which is usually anywhere from 1450 to 1850 feet deep. Captain Marty does a controlled drift dragging the bait along the bottom which typically takes up to 45 minutes, but it all depends on the conditions. Digger usually likes to have two electric rods going on each drift, if the conditions are good enough to allow them to avoid a tangle.
When asked what the ideal conditions for sword fishing are, Captain Marty said “ You want less than 10 knots of wind, a good current, anywhere from 1.5 knots to 3 knots would be considered ideal, and the best bite has been found after a full moon phase is over (but not during).”
He also threw in a fun fact and told us that if you see porpoises on the surface, its usually a good sign. Porpoise like to eat squid much like swordfish! If you are interested in Sword fishing with Captain Marty Lewis aboard the Main Attraction contact us at (305) 289-0071 or visit our contact page.