Looking to catch a swordfish? We've got the best tackle for the job. Our experienced staff anglers will help you choose the right rods, reels, bait, and more. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next swordfishing trip today!
Daytime Swordfishing in the Northeast
Daytime swordfishing is an art that demands patience, precision, and adaptability. While daytime swordfishing has been highly popular off of Florida for years, it is really starting to catch on in the Northeast. Swordfish tend to inhabit deeper waters during the daytime, often between 900 to 1,800 feet. This depth requires specialized tackle, including typically electric reels, thin diameter braided line, deep drop lights and heavy weights to effectively reach and engage these majestic predators. Unlike the swift currents found in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida, daytime swordfisherman are typically fishing in less current and shallower locations that leads to an overall easier time targeting these fish in the Northeast outside of the longer runs to our local canyons.
Gearing Up with the Right Swordfish Tackle
Swordfish fishing is an exhilarating pursuit that demands the perfect blend of skill, experience, and, of course, the right tackle. Whether you're a seasoned angler or new to the game, having the right gear can make all the difference. In this guide, we'll dive into the essential tackle for daytime swordfishing in the northeast regions as recommended by our knowledgeable TackleDirect staff anglers to ensure your next swordfish trip is a memorable success.
Swordfish are known for their powerful fights and impressive strength, requiring a delicate balance between heavy-duty gear and finesse. When targeting daytime swords, you will need to make sure you have the following tackle to ensure success. While you can get away with a non electric reel to hand crank a sword from the depths, an electric reel makes for quick work to check your bait, and also ensures steady even pressure when hooked up. A bent butt rod with a soft tip but plenty of backbone that is light enough to detect even the smallest bump from a hungry sword with enough backbone to lift a true giant from the depths. Braided line is also an absolute must in order to decrease the amount of scope in the line due to its thinner diameter compared to monofilament of the same breaking strength.
Mastering Swordfishing Rod Selection
Selecting the right rod is a pivotal decision for any angler seeking daytime swordfish in the Northeast's deep waters with significantly less current than down south. We recommend a rod that has top tier components such as an Aftco or Winthrop bent butt, Fuji SIN or SIC guides, and a Winthrop roller tip.
And remember that if you will be using a Lingren-Pitman S2-1200, SV-1200, or SV-2400 electric reel that you will want to use a rod that comes with a #4 butt. These reels are not compatible with a #2 butt found on several manufacturers rods, which are meant for smaller electric reels like the Shimano Beastmaster 9000A, Daiwa Tanacom 1200, and other similar reels that are significantly lighter than the larger electrics. We build versions with both butt sizes for our Platinum Hook Daytime Swordfish Rods series to ensure we have a solid option for anyone looking to get into daytiming.
Daytime swordfishing demands a rod that strikes the ideal balance between power and flexibility. Look for a 50-80lb class rod with a heavy to extra-heavy power that will yield a strong backbone capable of withstanding the force of a swordfish's initial strike and subsequent runs while also possessing a soft tip that will not rip the hook out of the swordfish's jaw and will also help you to detect the faintest of bites.
Some of our top picks for daytime swordfishing rods include:
- TackleDirect Platinum Hook Daytime Swordfish Rods
- Blackfin Daybreak Gulf Special Rods
- Shimano Terez BW Swordfish Rods
Powerful Swordfish Reels
The reel is just as important as the rod when it comes to daytime swordfishing. You'll need a reel that's strong enough to hold a lot of line and that can retrieve line very quickly. While there are varying opinions out there about what makes the best swordfish reel, there is little doubt that strength, durability, and reliability are crucial. While the Lindgren-Pitman reels do not have the ability to hand crank a fish in, they are the epitome of all three aspects and to that end are the industry standard. They require the use of a #4 butt out of the box and possess several other features that set them apart from the rest.
Lindgren Pitman reel features include a Quick Release spool hub so you can swap out your line depending on varying conditions or if you break off and need to use an entirely new spool of line, a level wind that perfectly lays down braid evenly for the life of the reel, an auto stop feature so you do not wind your swivel and other terminal tackle through your guides, a line counter to gauge how many revolutions you are away from returning to your zeroing point, and a near bullet proof electric motor system that will provide years of trouble free usage. An LP will also perfectly hold a 3000yd spool of 65 or 80lb braid with plenty of room for your wind on leader on top.
While the LP reels may be the industry standard, there are still other options on the market that can get the job done. The Hooker Electric reels are a solid option, especially if you would like the option to hand crank a fish and they even have the option for a detachable motor so that you can fight a swordfish standup without the heavy motor drive attached to the reel. This option has gained considerable traction over the last few years, as it can be used in some of the major tournaments that have a swordfish category like the White Marlin Open.
Some of our top picks for daytime swordfishing reels include:
- Lindgren Pitman LP-SV-1200-GFN Commercial Electric Reel
- Lindgren-Pitman S2-1200 Commercial Electric Reel
- Hooker Electric Penn International 50VISW Electric Reel
Choosing the Perfect Line and Leader
Strength and durability take center stage when making line and leader selections for swordfishing. Braided lines are the only main line choice for swordfish anglers due to their incredible strength-to-diameter ratio. A high-quality braided line with a test rating of 65 to 80 pounds is essential to minimize scope and drag on the line while possessing enough strength for heavy drag situations. The thin diameter of braids allows for greater line capacity on your reel as well, enabling you to reach the depths where swordfish lurk with plenty of line to spare.
At the end of your braided main line, you will want to tie a Bimini Twist to form a double line. This will be used to connect to your wind on leader via a loop to loop connection. The wind-on leader will have a waxed loop attached to easily attach your deep drop weight, which you will want to remove as quickly as possible once hooked up and have enough line on the reel to reach this spot. The heavy lead can be used as a source of leverage and not getting the weight off fast enough has led to many fish being lost.
The leader is the final connection between your mainline and your bait or lure, and it's where the battle is won or lost. Opt for high-quality Xtra-Hard monofilament leader material with a breaking strength ranging from 250 to 300 pounds. Monofilament offers excellent shock absorption and the Xtra-Hard mono provides a natural bait presentation with plenty of abrasion resistance.
Here's what our experts recommend for swordfishing line and leader:
- Daiwa J-Braid X4 Island Blue Line - 80 lb. 3000 yds.
- Momoi 11300 X-Tra Hard Mono Leader - Clear White - 300 lb. - 100 yds.
- Momoi Swordfish Wind On Leader - Smoke Blue - 300 lb 150 ft.
Fine-Tuning Your Terminal Tackle
Your terminal tackle forms the critical connection between your mainline and the swordfish bait, serving as the ultimate test of your setup's strength and effectiveness. Use high-quality stainless steel J- Hooks in the 9/0 to 12/0 size range for daytime swordfishing, and make sure to hatch the hook to the bait you are using. A 10/0 is the most popular option and it is always a good idea to sharpen your hooks before fishing, as they are almost never sharp enough out of the box to ensure a proper hook set.
Depending on water depth and current conditions, you may need varying weight to reach the desired swordfish depths with little scope in the line. Cylindrical deep drop weights are often the best choice to get down deep quickly.
High quality crimps / sleeves are also used to create a secure and durable connection between your wind-on leader and leader possessing your hooked bait. And do not forget to use a few lights attached to your wind-on leader with rubber bands that will help to lure the swordfish in from the surrounding area to find your bait nearby.
Some of our top picks for terminal tackle for swordfishing include:
- Quick Rig Big Game Stainless Steel Koga Hooks
- Mustad 7691S-SS Big Game Stainless Steel Hook
- Sportfish Deep Drop Stick Weights
- American Fishing Wire Ball-Bearing Crane Swivels
- Lindgren-Pitman Duralite Diamonds Water Activated Strobe Light
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Other Helpful Tackle & Accessories
In addition to a rod, reel, and high-quality terminal tackle, you'll also need a few other pieces of tackle for daytime swordfishing. These include harpoons, gaffs, heavy-duty swiveling rod holders with backing plates, and more. You can also opt for a Winthrop adjustable butt for maximum versatility.
Here are some of our recommendations for swordfish accessories:
- Shoals Harpoons Harpoon Kits
- Shoals Harpoons Harpoon Line with Ball/Basket
- Winthrop T-10X Positional Butts - Standard
- Sea Striker CH18 Heavy Duty Hand Crimper
As you gear up for your next Northeast daytime swordfish adventure, let the knowledge of our TackleDirect experienced staff anglers guide you towards success. By selecting the right tackle and how to use it all properly, you'll be well-prepared to conquer the depths and bring home stories of epic battles with monster broadbills. Remember, it's not just about the catch - it's about the thrill of the chase and the memories that last a lifetime.