Nighttime Fishing for Swordfish




While often times anglers target swordfish during the day with a technique called deep dropping, that usually includes pulling a 5lb weight in nearly 1000ft of water, (170 fathoms.) Yet, “deep dropping” is most effective when the sun is high in the sky, while the swordfish are down low at the ocean floor, feeding around the mud bottom.

Another effective technique is to nighttime fish for swordfish! While temps drop to cooler status at night, the swordfish that is primarily a nocturnal feeder, become most active at night! Fishing in 170 fathoms or more is still ideal. Anglers should be looking for; bait, currents and contour lines that are key to selecting your course to drift.

With that, Broadbill Swordfish are commonly most active in the early morning hours. While their prey such as squid also become more active under the moonlight become easy meals, & other prey like small dolphin and bonita become easy targets for broadbills, as mahi drop their guard at night.  As These easy feeding opportunities arise so do the swordfish during the night. Swordfish have an extremely large eye, and millions of electro sensors in their bill extremity, and heightened sense of smell. All of these senses help swordfish locate food through out the water column. These highly adapted, keen senses are exemplified at nighttime, when they become most active in complete darkness. These senses allow the swordfish to hunt its prey most effectively at night. With their long bill and stream line body cruising the thermocline for food.


Free lining a bait, such as rigged squid or dolphin belly behind the boat to 25 yards of leader connected to a flashing light & then dropped to a thermocline of 400ft (67 fathoms) is a great way to get your bait in the strike zone with a little bit of flash! Attaching a small balloon to the line with 300yrds out, will help the angler determine the drift of the boat, the direction of the current & tide. In addition the balloon will also help show the heading of the fishing line behind the boat as you drift with the current. lastly the balloon will also help the angler detect subtle bites, just like a bobber. If the balloon starts swimming up the current or even right at the boat, the angler will know he or she has a bite. While nighttime fishing, it seems that most bites come during hours of high tidal movements, defiantly a key to note. Typically the nighttime bites’ often come in the early morning hours of the following day. This nighttime technique has proven to reveal some true monsters of the deep, as well as multiple catch evenings. While making the effort to fish for swordfish at night, realizing and accounting for high levels of activity and good fishing tides is key when planning a trip. Fishing the tides later in the evening will be an effective fishing trip.

Hope all you anglers enjoyed this article & can utilize this technique in the future,  learned a little bit more about the Broadbill Swordfish and their feeding habits and techniques used to catch them during the night & why the night time is ideal to target this species! Hope this article was helpful & will help you catch more swordfish this season!

-Ryan Collins




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