Sword Fishing is Hot in the Keys This Time of Year

In the last several months, a number of huge swordfish have been caught in the Florida Keys. These big swordfish are a result of banning long line fishing practices from the East Coast all the way down to Florida many years ago.

In order to keep a swordfish you must have a special license and the fish must measure 47 inches from lower jaw to the fork in the tail. With their large bills, a swordfish must be over 6 foot, overall, to measure in. The take limit is one per angler and only four per boat.

Daytime sword fishing means you have to fish in 1,500 to 2,000-foot depths. Usually only one rod and reel is recommended, otherwise tangles are a mess. Large squid is the best bait, loaded on large circle hooks to a 9 foot, 300 pound test mono leader. A swivel snap to the leader with a cyalume light and fishing strobe lights attached go in the water. Also live bait can be used such as blue runner, small mackerel, or legal (at least 12 inches) size yellow tail snapper. A heavy “break off” weight to carry leader down to 1,500 to 2,000 foot depths is needed.

I prefer late evening and night fishing in 800 to 1,500 foot depths. My equipment is four rods with large 300-yard capacity reels. The reels are loaded with Cortland 300 or 400-pound test braids. I use the same light hook up. Very large squid is the best bait, loaded on large circle hooks to a 9 foot 300 pound test mono leader. At the end of your line, attach a swivel snap to the leader with a cyalume light and fishing strobe light.

Set one rod at a depth of 50 feet, one at a depth of 150 feet, one at a 200-foot depth, and one at 250 feet. For depths to 400 feet even on a bright moonlit night I use a plastic jug filled with two or three cyalume lights which act as a bobber tied to the fishing line in such a way that it is easy to cut the jug off as soon as you hook up to a big swordfish. The remaining line will continue through the eyes of the rod as you reel in your catch.

When you hook up to a swordfish keep the drag on your reel very light. As soon as you hook onto a swordfish, have all your anglers reel in all other rods. Do not bring a swordfish aboard until he is dead. When you have your sword alongside, first determine if he is a legal size to keep, and then take the fish using a harpoon to the head. Use a harpoon with 400 feet of line attached with a float ball on the end. If he is dead loop a line around his tail to bring him aboard.

If you are going to keep your swordfish for eating, it is important to remove its insides immediately. Stuff the belly cavity full of ice and place him in a body bag or large ice chest full of ice.

Let me know of your success or call me for any other information. (305) 509-1547 www.CaptainFranksFishingCharters.com.


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