Daytime Swordfishing - Gladiators of the Deep

September 04, 2020
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Daytime swordfishing involves deep dropping baits to depths over 1,000 feet, often requiring slow movement and a modified bottom jigging technique. With little current, it's easier to hit the bottom. However, current can hinder the process, so steering the tide is crucial. Daytime swordfishing is fun, time-consuming, and tiring, but can be exhilarating when the bite is on.

Daytime swordfishing is an interesting form of deep dropping. The factor that complicates the process is current. You are, in most cases, dropping baits to depths well over one thousand feet and trying to hit a spot on the bottom. The trick is how you do that. With very little current this proposition is a lot easier. All you need to do is get to the swordfish grounds position yourself toward your desired target, drive slowly as you drop baits to the bottom and stretch the line out behind the boat. As you reel the bait up and drop it down, the bait gets close to your boat and the amount of scope you have decreases. When the line is starting to look like it is pointing straight down, crank it up and redeploy. It is very similar to a modified bottom jigging technique with a few more nuances. Your bait pretty much drops down until you hit bottom. Crank the bait off the bottom and let it soak, as you bump the boat forward. You wait. The trick of course is to know when you get a bite, as most bites are almost imperceptible. I simplified the process, but it is much easier than dealing with more current. Daytime swordfishing is still a challenge with or without much current and the guys that are really good at it do it a lot.

Current fouls this process. Moving water pushes your boat. Given the depth you are fishing in, there is no hope of driving to a spot and hitting your target. What to do? How do you slow your change of position in moving water? You have to drive into the current at a speed that will hold you where you want to be. Stemming the tide is what you need to do.

Daytime swordfishing differs from nighttime in that swordfish rise closer to the surface at night to feed and descend to the depths in the day. This is how it goes in theory, anyway. Big swordfish tend to stay near the bottom throughout the entire day, it is thought. So, if you want to catch big swordfish or just don't want to stay out all night, daytime swordfishing is the game. It is fun, time consuming and tiring. A lot of times it feels like a long slow boat ride. It is damn exhilarating when the chew is on.

Level up your knowledge of fishing for swordfish with our videos.

Learn How to Take Advantage of Current

For this article, I am going to focus on fishing where there is current, as that tends to be a tad more complicated for folks. The idea of stemming the tide to hold your boat in place is straight forward. Hitting a given target zone on the bottom, a 1000 feet or more down, gets a little more fuzzy. You are driving into the current to prevent the boat from drifting over the bait you just dropped over the side. This is a great way to get tangled up. The idea is to drop your bait and then turn into the current and drive forward to stretch the line out behind your boat as it falls. As you keep pushing into the current your bait is being swept away as it descends to the bottom. When it hits bottom, you crank it up several feet and start to drift backwards slowly. This will allow your bait to cover ground.

What are you looking for on the bottom? What do swordfish relate to on the bottom fifteen hundred feet down? They are going to setup in areas that are aggregating bait. In many ways, swordfish are like trout in a river. Where to trout stage in a stream? Deep holes, rocks piles, ledges, slack flow areas, places where bait gets stuck or that provides ambush points is where the trout will be. If you closely examine the oceanic bottom structure that holds swordfish, you will see areas similar to what you find in a trout stream or a lake. Fish relate to structure in all fisheries. That is where the food is.

The difficult part is getting your bait on those spots from so far away. You really are not going to be pinpoint accurate, but you still need to get baits on the location. If you are three hundred feet away, you may not get bites. The swordfish may not even know your bait is in the vicinity. Your challenge is going to be the boat driving, the bait drop and the drifting backwards as your bow points into the current, all while watching for a bite.

Driving, Dropping and Drifting

The unique situation that In The Spread presents is we have taken the time to compile several instructional videos on daytime swordfishing. You can learn every detail of how to drive, drop and drift. You can also learn about swordfish bait rigging, how to make a swordfish rig, all the tools and tackle you will need, boat setup, how to handle big swordfish and how to catch swords with either electric or manual hand crank reels. Our comprehensive collection of fishing videos will take you step-by-step through all facets of fishing for swordfish. Preview our library of swordfish fishing videos.

The part that many anglers struggle with, when dealing with current, is the driving, dropping and drifting and all the mechanics that go into this style of fishing. You start by driving with the current as you put a bait out. You want to stretch the line/leader out behind the boat. When you get to the wax loop that holds your lead on, lock up the drag. Once the lead is on, push the boat speed up a bit and start leading line out again. When you have about five to six hundred feet of line off the reel, you turn the boat 180 degrees and go to freespool half way through the turn. While you are freespooling your lead to the bottom, the driver starts driving back into the current. The driver should be watching the line the entire time. You want to drive until you start to see the line coming straight up and down next to the boat. Now, you can retrieve or drop line to move your bait around. The line must be maintained in this straight up and down orientation. You are fishing now. It is time to watch for the bite.

Top Pros Share Their Experience and Wisdom

The bite from a swordfish is very subtle. Do not expect the rod to just warp over. You have to play the fish most times, in order to get it to commit. If you are able to get your bait to the bottom and you are drifting, this is where more fishermen shoot the pooch. They don't see the bite. You really have to know what to look for. It can be tedious with the motion of the boat and the rod. You have to study how to spot even the most minute change in the rod tips rhythm.

This can all seem overwhelming, at first. It is not that difficult, if you put the time into learning. In The Spread has invested the time to work with some outstanding daytime swordfishing pros, so you can learn what they know. These fishermen are not afraid to show you what to do and take the time to explain in detail why they do what they do. The goal is to help you get out there and bag a swordfish. The best suggestion I can offer you is to watch our videos. Study the techniques demonstrated, go out and apply what you learn and you too will find success. Good luck and get tight.

Watch our Swordfish Videos and perfect your approach to dropping baits to the ocean bottom and cranking up a monster.

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Seth Horne In The Spread,
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