Fishing in the Florida Keys is unlike anywhere else in the world. The sheer variety of game fish in and around Duck Key, Islamorada and Marathon is what makes the area so special.
To make the most of your offshore fishing adventure, it pays to hire an expert fishing guide that intimately understands the target species, rather than someone who just takes people fishing. Brandon specializes in Billfish, Pelagics and Tarpon.
Swordfish can be caught in the Florida Keys year-round. Any day can be the best fishing adventure of your life! Brandon Mullar guides private daytime Swordfishing charter trips out of Duck Key daily aboard his boat the Broadbill, a 26 foot custom catamaran.
|Bring From Home||Provided|
|Sunglasses & Hat||Fishing Licenses|
|Sunscreen||Boat & Fuel|
|Lunch & Drinks||Tackle, Bait & Ice|
Catching a Broadbill Swordfish with a rod and reel is the ultimate big game fishing accomplishment. And the Florida Keys are considered the best place in the world to catch a Swordfish during the day.
Daytime Swordfishing is very different from any type of other deep sea or offshore fishing you may have experienced in the past. In the Florida Straits, Broadbill Swordfish spend much of their time at depths between 1,700 to 2,000 feet. Getting a bait that far down, and presenting it properly takes specialized tactics.
Brandon uses 80lb and 50lb tackle with light braid to cut through the deep water with less resistance. His daytime Swordfish terminal tackle varies greatly dependent on the conditions. The main goal is to present a bait perfectly at 1700-2000 feet.
The team on the Broadbill uses a unique detachable electric reel setup that Captain Brandon helped develop with Hooker Electric Reels. This system allows the angler the option of using an electric motor or hand cranking with a traditional Shimano Tiagra reel. This system gives us the best of both worlds allowing us to use the electric motor to wind up and check a bait. This allows the angler to conserve energy for when we’re hooked up!
Broadbill Swordfish are considered the Gladiators of the deep. A combination of a tuna and billfish for the ultimate battle on rod and reel. A big Broadbill Swordfish can test even the most experienced angler, Captain and crew.
That being said, there are a lot of subtleties that come into play for daytime swordfishing. For one, the bite can be extremely subtle. Often times it is a tiny little tap tap on the rod tip. Identifying this tiny bite takes experience and is often the difference between hooking a fish and winding up a hook with no bait.
Once you have identified a swordfish bite the next challenge is hooking the fish. It may seem simple but a Broadbill isn’t your ordinary billfish. In fact, he is the only one to kill his prey before eating it. It is a common misconception that marlin or a sailfish use their bills to whack their prey. While it may be used as a tool to knock the bail “off balance” it is certainly not used as a weapon like the swordfish uses his “sword”… hence the name.
This is the reason you will see a swordfish whack a bait over and over before he either eats it or loses interest and swims away. The Swordfish expects the bait to die after he uses his tremendous power and leverage to swing his sharp sword into his prey. If the bait keeps moving away then he whacks it again. This continues until he is sure his prey is dead and safe to consume.
We know the swordfish has eaten the bait when the rod slowly bends over and he starts taking drag. At this point the swordfish normally makes a short run along the bottom and then they do what all billfish do when they realize that they have been hooked…Swim to the surface to jump.
This is now the most sensitive time in the fight and a time that many inexperienced crews make critical mistakes. Keeping the perfect amount of pressure while not pulling a hook on the mighty broadbill’s relatively soft mouth requires 100% focus for everyone involved. The angler must constantly be minding the drag while watching the bend of the rod to keep consistent pressure on the fish. If the angler is too tight on the fish while he shakes his head or makes a run, the hook will pull. While the angler concentrates, so must the Captain. When fishing in a strong current, even a slight hesitation on moving the throttles can drastically change the pressure on the fish. This can cause a tight line to go slack or a slack line to pull too tight.
Provided everything goes according to plan the fish will soon be at the surface. This is when the fun begins! Soon you will see where the Broadbill Swordfish gets it’s reputation for being unpredictable.
Sometimes they run on the surface, jump and tear up the water, other times they dive back down to the bottom. It is not uncommon for the fish to race to the boat to check out their opponent. Every swordfish has a unique personality and that is part of what makes them so much fun to target. 500 pounders can be caught in a matter of minutes while much smaller fish can take hours.
Once the fish is close enough to the boat for a good visual, the crew decides whether we will harvest the fish or make a release. Swordfish are excellent eating, grow quickly, and the fishery is well-regulated ensuring a healthy population. If the decision is make to take the fish, the captain will normally use a combination of harpoons, gaffs, and a sharp knife to get the job done quickly and humanely. If we release the fish we will try to leave them with a little parting gift… a Billfish Foundation tag. This tag allows the next person lucky enough to catch the Broadbill to reference the tag number. Scientists can then study the growth, location and health of the fish. Some very interesting findings have been made using this tagging system.
Whatever is decided once we have captured a broadbill swordfish, be it release or for the dinner table, the sight of one of these magnificent creatures is one you won’t soon forget. They truly are one of natures most amazing animals.