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The swordfish, which is also known as broadbill in some countries, is a large, predatory saltwater fish that is named for its long, pointed bill. Although elusive, they are a very popular sportfish. Found in tropical and temperate parts of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, and usually stay near to the surface of the water down to depths of 1800 feet. They are usually around 3 meters (9.8 feet) in length, although many have been recorded as large as 4.55 meters (14.9 feet) long and 1430 pounds.

Swordfish usually reach maturity at 4 to 5 years of age, and the maximum age is believed to be around 9 years. The females are generally larger than the males, and fish found in the Pacific usually grow to larger sizes than those found in the northwest Atlantic and Mediterranean swordfish. They use their long “swords” to slash and injure its prey, thus making it easier to catch. The swordfish relies on its speed and agility in the water to chase down its prey, and it is one of the fastest fish in the ocean. These large fish prefer water temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, but do have a wider tolerance to water temperatures than other fish of similar size. This species of fish is migratory, and usually moves the most during the summer months towards colder areas. They are not a schooling fish, and always swim alone or in very loose groups that are separated by a good amount of distance.  They can frequently be found at the water surface, basking in the sun and airing their dorsal fin. This fish species has relatively few natural predators, although killer whales and mako sharks have been known to attack and eat swordfish. Juvenile fish are far more vulnerable to these attacks, and are eaten by a wide variety of other predatory fish.

Because of their large size and unique look, swordfish are a very popular sport fishing species. Various methods can be used to catch them, and one of the most popular is deep-drop fishing since they spend most of the daylight hours in deep water. Fishing for these amazing fish requires strong fishing rods and reels, and because of their large size they can put up an exceptional fight. It is not uncommon to use five or more pound weights just to get the bait deep enough during the day to catch them, sometimes up to 1500 feet down. When fishing at night, bait is used in much shallower water, usually only a couple hundred feet on up to the surface. Popular bait choices include mackerel, herring, mullet, bonito, and squid. These can either be cut or used to live, and a number of imitation and artificial lures can also be successful.

Swordfish fishing (many times referred to as sword fishing) takes patience and you have to wait all day for a bite. Some trips may even yield no bites, where other times you may get a hit every time you drop your line. When a fish is hooked, you are in for a great battle. Many swordfish hooked during the day will swim to the surface at first, and many anglers will think they lost them because you can’t feel them. Once they get there they try to go back to the bottom again, and the fight is on. Some battles can only last 15 minutes while others can go on for hours and hours. Swordfish are well known for their jumping and acrobatics while being reeled in on fishing line. Anglers catch these amazing fish all over the world, but some of the best fishing can be found from California to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia, and Venezuela.

Swordfish are amazing fish and the highlight of many people’s fishing careers. Because of their size, power, and unique look, they are not only one of the most popular game fish, but also one of the most powerful and challenging. If you have ever thought of going on a deep sea fishing adventure for some of the world’s greatest fish, a big swordfish should be on your list to consider. They also make great table fare! 

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