Swordfish are distributed world wide and are of significant economic value. They are prized for their firm white meat. This has in times past contributed to their demise, however, due to conservation regulations as well as their high reproduction rate and rapid growth, they have made a tremendous come back and now provide a great year-round sport fishery.
At one time, it was thought that in the Horse Latitudes that Swordfish could only be taken at night. However, it was discovered that fishing close to the bottom in very deep water during daylight hours produced a high likelihood of a hookup. Key West has proven to be a top notch area for the pursuit of this great gamefish.
A typical day of swordfishing in the blue waters of Key West, will produce from one to five or more hookups, often culminating with aching muscles and ultimately landing one of the greatest of the giant billfish.
Another nice feature of this trip is that the chance of other species, i.e. Dolphin, Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, etc. are extremely good and may be taken on light tackle while in the quest of your first Swordfish.
Swordfishing with Electric Reels
In the Key West area, Swordfish are found most commonly along the Continental Shelf in depths of from 1500 to 2000 feet of water. Those depths will discourage most anglers from trying this fishery, however the remedy to this problem is modern electric reels. Daiwa makes a variety of electric reels with variable speed retrieves. The reels also have a conventional handle which allows the angler to actually fight the fish in a conventional manner.
So, dropping to the depths described, if you do not get a strike, simply set the reel on automatic and the reel will retrieve the line and stop when the swivel gets to the tip. If a fish is hooked, the angler may simply begin reeling and fighting the fish in a conventional manner. Leaving the rod in the rod holder and winching the fish in electrically is an injustice to this great gamefish because after all we call ourselves ‘sport fishermen‘.
Releasing or Icing a Swordfish
An interesting fact is, Swordfish caught and released will commonly remain under the boat for sometimes a half hour of more after the release. This may be due to the shadow of the boat and the bright sun elsewhere around the boat. Just an interesting observation.
If you decide to keep a fish, be sure to ice it well as the tropical heat will quickly turn the meat opaque and the quality of the meat rapidly deteriorates. Visit our Recipes page for details of preparing Swordfish.
Swordfishing Photo Gallery
The Dry Tortugas is the last, great vestige of sportfishing in the northern hemisphere. This remote group of islands are surrounded by more than ten thousand square miles of fishing resources that have remained relatively untapped due to the time that it would take to cover this vast and remote area.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico, for our purposes, begins at the North side of the flats, along the lower Florida Keys and includes a portion of the Florida Bay, continuing to the West and North of the Dry Tortugas, encompassing more than 5000 square miles of fishable water within range of our hi-tech, offshore boats.
Key West offers the sportfishing enthusiast the largest variety of gamefish in the world. Other locations will argue that they are the sportfishing capital of the world, or the best for this species or that particular fish. There are more “I.G.F.A. World Records” from the waters of Key West than the next closest, several locations combined.
Marquesas is a magical word that conjures thoughts of tropical breezes, emerald green water surrounding a tropical island paradise. A ring of islands surrounded by acres and acres of pristine water and shallow flats where giant Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Mutton Snappers, great Barracudas and monster Sharks of all kinds prowl the flats.