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Swordfish Fishing Fort Lauderdale
About 7 years ago, the state of Florida outlawed commercial boats from longlining in the Straits of Florida. This incredibly wise bit of legislation helped the diminished swordfish populations to come back in full force. Every year since then, the swordfishing in Fort Lauderdale has been getting better and better. Our proximity to the nutrient rich gulf stream waters, makes Fort Lauderdale a hotspot for swordfish activity. Swordfish are traditionally nocturnal feeders so we prefer to fish for them at night. They feed on squid, mackerel, tuna and pretty much anyth ing else that swims their way.
Although we have caught swordfish close to shore in only 350’ of water, the best swordfishing in Ft. Lauderdale is about 15 miles offshore. The gulfstream current out that far is moving an average of about 3-4 miles per hour. The gulfstream acts as a huge conveyor belt, pushing along baitfish and gamefish alike as they migrate northward. Swordfish aren’t the only fish you might catch fishing out there. It is not unheard of to catch yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, certain game sharks, and even the rare marlin while swordfishing off Ft. Lauderdale. Swordfish however, are generally the targeted species on these trips, especially when fishing at night. Swordfish are occasionally caught during the daytime as well, but many more are caught during the night.
Swordfish have a short stocky body shape, with a powerful tail and an incredibly long bill. The bill is flat on the top and extremely sharp on the edges, giving it a sword shape (hence their name). Swordfish are the only billfish species (other than sawsharks which are more of a ray than a fish) that uses their bill to kill its prey. In my many years of fishing Fort Lauderdale, I have caught almost every fish species possible out here and swordfish are definitely one of the top fighting fish in our ocean. They are pure muscle and fight till the bitter end. It takes the heaviest of tackle to land a swordfish.
Best bait to use for SwordfishSquid are the preferred baits to use for catching swordfish out of Fort Lauderdale. A carefully rigged dead squid or mackerel seems to work the best for enticing these fish to eat. Live baits can sometimes get the bite when swordfish are shying away from squid. Live blue runners, goggle eyes, rainbow runners, tinker mackerel and live tunas are all good live baits to use. Cylume light sticks and waterproof strobe lights are attached near the baits, to the line when fishing for swordfish. The glow of the cylume and the flashing of the strobe light make the fish aggressive and more apt to bite the bait.
When we fish for swordfish in Fort Lauderdale, we stagger the baits at different depths to avoid tangles. On our private boat swordfish charters, we fish about 5 or 6 lines. We use balloons and different sized weights to keep the baits apart and free of tangles. These are also used to position the baits in the different water columns. On our drift boat, we fish 12-15 lines, so we can fish a lot more water columns and cover even more depths. Swordfishing is dynamic and a lot of conditions contribute to your success or failure out there. Moon phases affect swordfish ing more than any other species out of South Florida. My favorite moon phases to fish on are a week before and a week after the full moon.
When you do hook into a swordfish, make sure to fight him gently and don’t “horse” him in. Swordfish have soft mouths and the hooks can be pulled easily. It’s better to spend a few extra minutes fighting the fish than to lose him due to being impatient. The captain and mate are right there to coach you through and help you to catch the fish. Swordfish are excellent eating so unless you are strictly catch and release, we like to bring legal size fish in. When the fish comes up to the boat, it is typical to gaff or harpoon them. Using these devices, a swordfish has less of a chance to get off right next to the boat.
Fort Lauderdale offers excellent swordfishing opportunities, and the fishing is actually quite good for them out here. It’s never a guarantee, but the captains and mates at Fishing Headquarters have vast experience swordfishing in the Fort Lauderdale area and if anyone can hook you into a big swordfish, it’s us. Feel free to call us, if you have any questions about Fort Lauderdale swordfishing techniques, we’re always happy to help.
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