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South Florida daytime swordfish
Captain Steve Dougherty
Since the ban of coastal longlining in 2001, swordfish have made an incredible comeback. While fishing under the cover of darkness is enjoyable, South Florida's developing daytime fishery provides incredible opportunities with hefty swordfish.
Targeting aggressive bottom contours over 1,500 feet deep requires specialized terminal tackle and gear. Retrieving a 12-pound sash weight from the dark depths is best accomplished with heavy-duty electric reels. While many argue electrics aren't sporty, swordfish still have the upper hand thanks to the extreme environment and years of evolution.
Swordfish are opportunistic feeders and will strike a variety of offerings. It's important your baits are capable of withstanding the repeated attacks of a marauding broadbill, with stitched bonito strips highly effective and incredibly durable.
A juvenile swordfish ferociously slashes the surface as the fight nears the end.
With their large eyes and sharp bills, swordfish are arguably the ocean's most formidable predators. Hunting near-freezing temperatures by day and rising to the surface at night, swordfish exhibit radical changes that would kill lesser game with ease.
While it will take time to perfect the technique, when everything comes together it will be well worth the effort.
During daylight hours anglers can fully appreciate this apex predator's magnificent coloring.
Swords hooked under the blazing sun often rise to the surface to show their true colors. Anglers often think they've pulled the hook, only to find their fish going ballistic on the surface.
Surprisingly, these powerful opponents have rather delicate mouths with soft tissue. Fish too much drag and you will easily pull the hook.
When you have a fish on the leader and it's time to end the game you don't need to throw your harpoon like a javelin. Instead, take your time and make your first shot count.
Boating a broadbill requires extreme caution. Even after a lengthy battle they still have enough energy to strike back, so be careful.
Although swordfish can be encountered any given day of the year, the largest fish are captured during the fall and winter months.
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