Swordfish, aptly named for its long, flat bill that not only resembles a sword, but is used like one, is one of the biggest, fastest, and most prized species of game fish.View 10 listings
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Where and When?
Swordfish are found in the tropical and temperate waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as the Mediterranian. The biggest swordfish are found in the Pacific ocean, those caught in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean are somewhat smaller. The biggest swordfish caught by a sports angler took the bait near the coast of Chile. Swordfish are highly migratory. They spawn in temperatures 24 C or higher, but typically prefer somewhat colder waters to dwell in, which contributes to their migratory behavior. Spearfishing was banned for a long time in the American Atlantic waters, to protect the fish after the stock was depleted by commercial fishing, but at present the North Atlantic population has recovered, and no overharvest is reported. Swordfishing is offered by charters and captains at most traditional deep sea fishing locations, and the summer months seem to produce the highest harvests.
The swordfish is one of the fastest and the most agile predatory fish on this planet. Adult swordfish have neither scales nor teeth. The most conspicuous feature of their appearance is the long, sword-like bill, that can be almost as long as the body of the fish proper. There is evidence, although at present incomplete, that the ‘sword’ is actually used as a weapon in duels with sharks, and it’s an established fact that the swordfish use their bill to slash at and hit their prey, so that they can easily catch the wounded. The swordfish is not only one of the most popular, but also one of the biggest game fish on the planet. The biggest swordfish on record weighed 1,430 pounds and was nearly 15 feet long, and specimens 10 feet in length are quite common. Most spearfish caught by sport anglers weigh between 50 and 200 lb.
How to Catch?
Harpooning is the most traditional and oldest way of catching spearfish, however commercial harvest these days mostly depends on long lines, and recreational fishing is typically done with poles, or rods and reels. Spearfish is a deep water fish, so a boat is necessary, and the bait requires heavy leads to go down to required depth. Live bait, typically whole smaller fish like mackerel or herring, or squid, is used, and special extra strong rods, reels and lines are required to land the fish of this size. Swordfish are solitary creatures, and don’t gather in schools, and the boat may drift for a long time before the fish strikes the bait - but what an excitement when it does! It is quite a challenge to land the swordfish, given the fish’s extraordinary size and strength. Spearfish are powerful fighters, and have been known to attack the fishing crafts that caught them, a degree of caution is required for safety. The captain and the crew of the fishing boat need to have a lot of experience and knowledge, far beyond that which an average recreational fisherman can hope to possess, to successfully harvest this species, and you’re advised to hire a reputable charter if you want to feel the thrill of a huge swordfish on your line.