swordfish bait rigging in the spread fishing video
Sep 3, 2020

Swordfish Bait Rigging | In The Spread Fishing

Swordfish bait rigging may be the single most important component of catching swordfish. With all the time, effort and money that goes into targeting broadbill swords, there is just no margin for error. After all, you are dropping a bait to depths that exceed a thousand feet, in most cases. If your swordfish bait rigging is not right, those bites will be few and far between. The thing you have to think about is that your bait is the last thing between you and a fish that may be eye balling your about from a quarter mile away. Why fool around with baits that are not rigged well?

If you have ever seen underwater swordfish videos, you know how they will slash at a prey item and then come back on it for the feast. They want to immobilize their quarry, so it is easier to eat. If the bait they are trying eat makes a move to escape, the swordfish will get even more fired up to consume it. The more time you spend fishing for swordfish, the more you begin to realize what goes into getting the fish to eat your bait. More times than not, the swordfish does not just swallow you bait allowing you to easily hook it. They generally will take a shot at your bait and then come back on it to check it out. If you have not reacted and your bait is just drifting along like nothing happened, the sword may just swim away and you will be none the wiser. If you react and move you bait up or down in the water column, the sword will get excited thinking the bait is attempting to escape and fire on it in a vicious way. Boom, you are hooked up. It is not easy.

The reason you want really well rigging baits is so your presentation can withstand that first shot and still look appealing to the sword. If you instead are using half ass rigged baits that get demolished on the first shot, well, you are going to catch less fish or none. Your baits need to be hardy enough to take a beating and still present a natural swimming motion. Swordfish will try a bait multiple times before eating it. Baits need to be rigged in such a way as to withstand the assault that is coming their way. This involves a well thought out plan to keep your baits looking good, all while taking a bludgeoning.

Let's face it, when the fish are in a feeding pattern and gobbling everything in sight, the average guy can go out and catch fish. But, when the bite slows, the moon is not right, the tide is different or any of the elements that triggering feeding are off, it will be very tough to get bites. This is when the freshness and quality of your baits is giant. You are running a long way offshore. The investment to go out swordfishing is huge. Your bait is the least expensive part of the equation. Don't use a bait that has been in your cooler and previously used. Fresh is best. Get it right.

What really goes into rigging swordfish baits? Well, you need to start with bait that has a natural ruggedness quality. Everybody has different ideas on the baits that work. How much current you have to contend with can play a factor. Prevailing food sources for swordfish can play a factor, as well. Based on my experience though, well rigged fresh baits will get bitten anywhere. What baits are those?

Swordfish bait rigging centers around the use of ladyfish, belly baits, silver mullet, tinker mackerel and squid. A little used but highly lethal bait that you should also consider is the ballyhoo. Yes. It is an amazing bait. If you haven't watched our 2.5 hour video on rigging swordfish baits, you should check it out. We provide a methodical step by step presentation for your learning benefit. You will also get a ton of background information on why these baits work well and some rather in-depth detail on the specific rigging techniques that are used. This is the most comprehensive bait rigging video on the market and well worth your time. Knowing how to rig baits properly will only serve to help you catch more. One important consideration when fishing for swordfish is that the way that your baits are presented when the fish are feeding is huge. You may only get one shot, so make the most of it.

Before you even start down the road of swordfish bait rigging, you will need an assortment of tools and tackle. All rigging requires having the right accessories for the specific application. For swordfish bait rigging, you will need a supply of monofilament. Extra hard 300 lb works well. It offers a certain flexibility that will benefit your baits swimming action and help keep it from getting fouled. It is also hard enough to handle big swordfish. The right crimps and crimping pliers will be needed for use with the mono. A good set of monofilament cutters is suggested. The hooks you should use is open to discussion. If you have had success with a certain hook, stick with it. What we recommend is a southern tuna bend hook. The 10/0 and 11/0 sizes are used more often, but if you are using a smaller bait, a 9/0 is ok. Make sure whatever hooks you use are sharp. The is critical to get right. Don't over sharpen. The tip can bend on the bill of the sword. Most hooks will only need a slight touch up. As with any type of bait rigging, having a selection of good knives is important. A short serrated knife is ideal, along with a short curved blade knife. Four to six inches is best for the blade length on the knives. Another crucial tool to have handy is an ice pick. This will great for poking holes for mono to go through or marking stitch points. The one ingredient that you will use ample amounts of is rigging floss. This is what helps provide stability to you baits. A waxed 50 lb floss is great. For the floss, you will need rigging needles. Please, stay away from the morticians needle, if you don't want to cut yourself. A round closed eye needle is highly recommended. This is all you need to get started.

When it comes to the actual baits that you will be working with, I cannot reiterate enough how crucial it is to use super fresh bait. The baits we have had the most success with are ladyfish, dolphin belly, silver mullet, tinker mackerel, double hooked squid, bonito belly and the Panama bait. The Panama bait is a folded over side of a bonito. For each of these baits, our video shows you what to look for in a bait, how to prepare it for rigging and every step and stitch that goes into perfecting the bait rig.

When you head out to the swordfish grounds, you should have a variety of baits in your box. Do not get one dimensional with what you drop. You never know what the swordfish are going to be interested. Having options will pay off for you. Some of these baits are easier to get than others, so go with what you can get. Most good bait and tackle shops that sell swordfish baits should have several options for you. You can also mail order well rigged fresh baits.

If you want to know how to rig swordfish baits, please watch our swordfish bait rigging video. It is 2 hours and 43 minutes of high level instruction from one of the more accomplished swordfishing anglers in the world.

Seth Horne


In The Spread

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