Swordfish are found in warm, deep parts of the ocean around the world. Anglers often target them because they make a tasty meal and put up quite a fight when caught. The best methods to use to catch them are bottom fishing, drifting, and night fishing.


Region: Northeast, South
Habitat: Ocean

How to identify Swordfish

The largest of the broadbill species, swordfish are known for their smooth, flat, sword-like bills. They use their bills to kill prey or defend against predators. Both of the swordfish’s dorsal and pectoral fins are non-retractable. They have a large keel on both sides of their caudal peduncle. The coloring on their backs and sides varies from shades of grays to blues, while their abdomens are off-white. Swordfish will occasionally attack boats, leaving parts of their bills still lodged in the boat’s hull.

Where to catch Swordfish

Swordfish are found around the globe in warm waters at depths of 3,000 feet or more. Females generally prefer cooler, deeper water along coral banks and canyons. During spawning, female swordfish are often seen in warm water, where the males prefer to stay. These fish are solitary and migratory.

Range: Northeast, South
Swordfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Swordfish:

How to catch Swordfish

The best technique for catching them during the day is bottom fishing. At night, trolling or drifting can be very effective for catching swordfish. Another effective method to try is saltwater trolling. Anglers should look for swordfish in deep water near underwater canyons and valleys. At night swordfish can be captured by drift fishing at 350 feet over inshore humps and canyons. Peak fishing season for swordfish is during the fall. Swordfish are skittish of moving boats. Their fins sometimes stick out of the water when they float near the surface looking for warmth, which can make them an easy target for watchful anglers. They normally won’t strike at bait unless it’s repeatedly put before them. Hooking them can be challenging because they have soft mouths. To compensate, anglers should drag lower. Before an angler can fish for one of these behemoths, they must first obtain a special permit for highly migratory species.

Drift fishing during the night using natural bait, such as whole squid, is an effective method for catching Swordfish. If you want to improve your catch rate, add a small light stick just above the hook.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Swordfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Swordfish

Live baits, such as squid, bonito, Spanish mackerel, eel, mullet, herring, and tuna work well for catching swordfish. Improve your catch rate by adding a lightstick to the line just above the hook.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Swordfish: