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Old 03-07-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Swordfishing 101

I have had a few requests lately on how to rig up leaders, baits, etc. for swordfishing. There are many ways to do it, depending on your resources, skill level, time, etc. but here are a few we have found to be successful on our boat. Much thanks to Chris Vecsey at Top Gun Tackle as well as Wade (Downtime2)



as for sword rigs, we dont do anything overly fancy onour boat.we have 2 main rigs we use. on both of these rigs, the leaders are pretty much the same. i like to use around 15' of 300-400# leader. i havent really noticed a difference between flouro and mono (maybe because of the dark?) so i just grab whatever i have readily available.

the first one is relatively easy but most people lack the materials to construct it; this first rig can be seen at http://sportfishingmag.com/gulfswordrigs

i kinda like this first one so long as i take the time to rig them up while everyone is eating dinner inside the salon. i'll rig up around 4 or so in about 20 minutes....the floss helps hold the squid up....as in, keeps the mantle from "bunching" up much like a slinky or sock, if that makes sense. this can also be accomplished with copper rigging wire, but i prefer rigging floss. the key here is matching the hook size to the squid that you are using. for further help rigging this leader, either contact chris vecsey at top gun tackle in orange beach (251 981-3811) or myself.


as for the second, start out with the same leader. 15' of 300-400# leader, crimped on with chafe tubing at the hook; and with a loop crimped at the tag end. i'm not sure the size j-hook, (11/0 or 12/0) but it's big anda bit longeron the shank side than what i would normally rig plastics on....i believe it's meant for pulling horse ballyhoo. as for baiting it, swords are not likesome fishin that, often they will turn their nose up at your offering if isnt cosmetically appealing. we will spear whatever we have on the boat, on the hook. it may be anything from 4-5 boston macks on the hook, or a squid (live if they've shown up under the lights); a big fresh dead blackfin or bonito, etc. doesn't have to look pretty.

as for the lights, we dont waste our time usually with the expensive lindgreen-pittman lights (or however you spell that company). they work, but they have not proven any more effective than just your standard cyalume "snap-sticks." i attach these at the swivel (top of the leader) with copper rigging wire. very simple. various other boats i work on will stick the lightstick inside a gatorade bottle and float one near the surface, but i really havent seen those in awhile so i cant comment on them. the weights also go at the swivel. now the key is to let it drop SLOWLY. if not, thebait (all depending on current-just like bottom fishing. i use anywhere from 12-32 ounces) will helicopter around the leader and light stick and prove useless. i will sometimes attach the weights with a rubber band, but it honestly just depends on how much lead i brought aboard. we usually dont keep a whole lot aboard cuz we dont like to fool around with bottom fishing all that much. the last few trips i ran, i attached the weights with rigging floss attached to a life-saver. i'm sure you've heard of this method, as the candy will dissolve in a couple of minutes and then the weights will break off to a watery grave. basically, once you get your bait at its desired depth (i like to stagger my baits at 150, 250, 350 feet down (100 foot intervals) ), let it sit and then that weight will break off. the bait will slowly rise to the surface. if not hit, it usually takes about an hour for the bait to float back to the surface. redeploy as desired. if you're on a bigger boat, hang the lines right out of the outriggers. this just keeps them out of the props and hanging vertically. keep your drag lever VERY light. i keep mine just above freespool, with the clicker engaged. and then i pop a monster or a redbull and sit out and either cast poppers to yellowfin or just chill to a little Squizz onXM radio. swords will often take very subtle inches of line ata time....this is when they are usually whackin the shit outta the bait with their bills. DO NOT TOUCH THE REEL AT THIS TIME. wait til that puppy starts screamin, and then very slowly but deliberately move the drag lever closer (but not all the way) to strike. fight fish accordingly. i think this pretty much covers sword fishing as we do it on our boat; sorry for the long, drawn-outpost. this is often much easier to show in person, and i will be happy to show anyone how to do it next week either at my place over in orange beach or at whatever place we meet up for wednesday night dinner.

As for swordfishing during the day, apparently this practice has been utilized by the guys over in the Mediterranean for a while now, and to great success. There is simply no reason why these fish only feed at night. However, because this practice really hasn't caught on in the northern gulf of mexico, there is simply a lack of evidence to prove that it works or not. My theory? It will work. Same methods, same baits, same depths, same "fishy" areas; be it around a rig or the steps, etc. Stay tuned for a report in the next few weeks; I am very anxious to try daytime deep dropping for swords.

As for trolling at night for swords, moldcraft actually makes several of their lures in glow-in-the-dark paint schemes. Once again, we haven't tried it so I am not in a place to say whether it works or not. Something to think about next time you're bored at night and have some extra senior wide ranges in glow laying around....

Edit: While drifting at night, especially around a well-lit up rig, there simply is nothing better than rigging up a live flier thru the lips, and setting him out on a drift line behind the boat. No weights. I typically use a stout spinning rod (everyone should know by now I use my heavy spinning rod for EVERYTHING), but if decent size yellers have been spotted in the area, let that baby out on a 50w. Flying fish are like crack cocaine for yellowfin. You should not have a problem with this line becoming entangled with your sword lines.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:12 PM   #2
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

That is one thing I am very anxious to try...Swordfishin that is....



Hell right now I am anxious for ANY fishing!!!





Great post, very informative BTW :toast
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:24 AM   #3
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

Yeah that first squid rig is about the most simple one to make and is easy for anyone. My favorite though is the egg weight rig.

Take a section of leader, slide a 1 oz. egg weight on followed by two sleeves and your hook. Thread the mono through both sleeves like you might do to put spacing between a hook and trolling lure with the egg weight above (DO NOT CRIMP YET). Measure where the egg weight will rest at the tip of the mantle and the hook exiting just out of the base of it above the head. Adjust your sleeves to this length and crimp. Thread your leader through the tip of mantle and pull the egg weight up inside, the weight will stop at the tip. Stitch hook eye in place as well as head to body and your ready to go.

I have't trolled for them yet but am planning on tryin next weekend if the weather cooperates. I have two of those mold craft sword specialsand am planning on pulling them at around 4 knots or so down deep. Will let you know how that goes.

Thanks for the credit hoo

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Old 03-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

http://www.360tuna.com/forum/f24/swordfish-101-a-236/
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:07 PM   #5
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

Quote:
tunapopper (3/8/2008)Yeah that first squid rig is about the most simple one to make and is easy for anyone. My favorite though is the egg weight rig.

Take a section of leader, slide a 1 oz. egg weight on followed by two sleeves and your hook. Thread the mono through both sleeves like you might do to put spacing between a hook and trolling lure with the egg weight above (DO NOT CRIMP YET). Measure where the egg weight will rest at the tip of the mantle and the hook exiting just out of the base of it above the head. Adjust your sleeves to this length and crimp. Thread your leader through the tip of mantle and pull the egg weight up inside, the weight will stop at the tip. Stitch hook eye in place as well as head to body and your ready to go.

I have't trolled for them yet but am planning on tryin next weekend if the weather cooperates. I have two of those mold craft sword specialsand am planning on pulling them at around 4 knots or so down deep. Will let you know how that goes.

Thanks for the credit hoo

Chris Vecsey


THat's exactly the same way I rig mine only I use a tri-color bead instead of the lead. We've pulled the glow in the dark Moldcrafts and a special Bart lure the old man sent a couple years ago. It glows and runs good really slow, but no joy.

If you;re using live bait, I like to wrap the bait with the leader in a spiral. Hook pointing up in front of the dorsal and stitched on with rigging thread and then sewed on at the tail.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

Never thought of doing a livie that way but always down for something new. I'm going to take some live bluefish out there and try them out, they seem to stay pretty hardy in a big livewell. Hell those swords are bluewater catfish they'll eat anything.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:53 PM   #7
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

If I go to south Forida this summer I'm going to give it a try. I have a small boat and wouldn't feel too comfortable 50 plus offshore at night. However down south I can do it within around 20 miles or less. I've always loved night fishing. Good tunes, cold brews, salty breeze and just being out there under a star filled night. It don't get much better than that. Hec sometimes the fish get in the way if you get lost in yourthoughts.

Close your eyes and go there..............I'm there right now.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

Quote:
David Ridenour (3/8/2008)If I go to south Forida this summer I'm going to give it a try. I have a small boat and wouldn't feel too comfortable 50 plus offshore at night. However down south I can do it within around 20 miles or less. I've always loved night fishing. Good tunes, cold brews, salty breeze and just being out there under a star filled night. It don't get much better than that. Hec sometimes the fish get in the way if you get lost in yourthoughts.

Close your eyes and go there..............I'm there right now.


Great post David, and very informative thread Woody. Very nicely done. Cant wait to get back down. I am dying over here!
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Old 03-10-2008, 01:05 PM   #9
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Default RE: Swordfishing 101

Nice post Woody! I think we might try and get in on the daytime sword pioneering as well. There was a big article about it recently in one of the Saltwater magazines and it went into pretty good detail about the gulf specifically. I was impressed! Can't wait to get out there and give it a try!!
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:12 PM   #10
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<P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">When we started fishing swords I used Blue's rig because of how well the squid was presented and it was readily available on-line. The first year we used that rig we caught our fare share of fish, hell we even tried it with a 20/0 circle hook which worked ok. The problem with that rig other that it takes a while to rig each bait is that when the fish hits and starts to swim off and you start to move the drag into the strike position to set the hook (same way blue describes) is that the floss that is holding the mantle to the crimp on the leader does one of two thing pulls out of the squid or parts from the crimp. Either way the squid slides down the leaderand bunches up in the gap of the hook preventing the hook from getting a solid bite and setting in the fish. So where does this leave us? Well like Blue said there is more than one way to skin a cat and everybody has a rig they feel confident about and that is the 50 percent of the battle.After tryingabout a dozen different rigging techniques. I have settled on what is call the tag in method for my night time drops. I tie a bimini in my main line and to thatI gowith 15' to20' of 200-300lb mono wind-on-leader with a snap swivel crimped to the end this allows me to quickly switch from trolling baits in the day to swording at night and visa-versa. Now for the actual rig. I use 3 to 10 feet of 200-400 lb fluorocarbon, not because it is harder for the fish to see but whatI like is abrasion resistance and the stiffness of the leader (which makes it easier to rap up the next daysince it has no memory). But for the purpose of this rig the stiffness is what I like. After I make a loop w/ chaff guard crimp one end to attach to the snapswival on the wind-on. I then slide two more sleeves on to the leader one I leave free to float up and down the leader the other I use to crimp my hook on. Once you crimp on the hook (I use 8 to 10/0 jobo, but hooks are a matter of preference)you should leave a two to four inch tag end above the hook. I then cut the tag end at an angle so that it forms apoint (you can even sharpen it with sand paper if you like). Now to rig the squid first I stitch the head to the mantel, this is easy just stuff the head into the mantel and with a rigging needle go through the mantel and head and then back through the side with your standing line. Then cinch down and secure it with a pyramid knot. Next you lay the squid down flat and with the soft side facingup. And place your hook on top of the squid so that you can see were you should enter and exit the body cavity (I like the hook toexit about an inch to a 1/4 above the head. Once you have hooked the squid the onlypart of the hook that you should see is eye and the bend were the hook has exited the bait.Nowpush the sharpened tagend all the way through the squid from front to back just above the eye of the hook and repeat again at the top of the mantle.The squid should now be sitting pretty straight on you leader,you may need to twist your hook and do a little fine toning but the squid should besecured to your hook and leader. Now with the extra sleeve from earlier, slide it over both your standing line and the tag end down to the squid. Ifyou have left enough of a tag end there should be no reason to crimp down on the sleeve it should just hold the bait secure to the two lines.But if you like crimp down and clip the remainder of the tag end.But by leaving the tag in place you can change out old bait for a fresh one quickly and easily which quite often makes all the difference in the world. I am also a big fan of dying the squid red. If you have ever caught one or had one jump in the boat you will notice that they are blood red. On a long soak a rigged squid will turn white and not look very tasty. With that saidchangingout baits often is the way to go. Other great baits large silver eel, rigged Spanish and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Boston</st1lace></st1:City> mackerel, live hard tail small black fin, yellow fin tuna and Speedo tuna. I then deploy thembehind the boat fishing them from floats with chem. sticks attached so thatI can see each bait if the float goes under or lays over on its side you have a bite. Ifish four floats and two baits straight from the tip, six in total and one pitch bait incase one swims up to the boat.I fish from 500 to 50 feet down. If you have any questions send mePM. I do a seminar for west marine once a quarter. I know my spelling sucks, but no need to rub it in. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o><P style="BACKGROUND: white"><st1:PersonName w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Angelo DePaola</st1:PersonName><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><o></o><P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><o></o><P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I sell Boats<o></o>
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