Xiphias Gladius



Offshore, Deepwater

50 - 1182 pounds

48" - 179"

Swordfish Game Fish Quality Excellent
Swordfish Meal Quality Very Good
Swordfish Fly Fishing Quality Poor


Also Known As: Broadbill, Broadbill Swordfish, Swords

Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) Fish Description

The Swordfish is a famous saltwater fish found all over the world. It’s a large scaleless fish with an elongated body and a sword-like snout which is called a bill. It’s grey-blue at the top, a yellow horizontal line in the middle, and has a silver belly. Unlike other billed-fish in which the shape is round, the swordfish’s snout is flat.

The swordfish is a carnivorous opportunistic hunter that eats a variety of meals. They prey on bony fish that are smaller than them and invertebrates such as squids. 


Interesting Facts About Swordfish:

  • Swordfish are the sole member of their familyXiphiidae. They may look like marlins but they’re different.
  • Swordfish, like sharks, are ectothermic, meaning they use special organs to heat up their body. The swordfish use it on their eyes and brain. This helps them see more in the dark depths of the ocean.
  • Swordfish and other billed-fish like, Marlin, do not spear their prey. They slash their prey back and forth with their bills, stunning them, and then eat the unmoving prey.


Swordfish Size and Speed

Swordfishes are large, their average length is 9-feet long but they can grow as big as 15 feet. They’re also a pretty heavy fish with weights of 400 lb on average but goes up to  1,182 lb in maximum.  

They can produce an astounding a million to 29 million eggs.  When these eggs hatch they’re only 1.6 mm big (or 0.063 inches) and they only eat planktons. When they get older and about 1 cm in size, their bill becomes apparent.

Many believe that these fish can reach an incredible 110 kph, but some scientists claim that their speed is only around 40 kph. Regardless, their size and speed are a must for serious anglers.


Habitat and Distribution of the Swordfish

The swordfish is a hardy fish that can be found in all oceans, whether it’s warm or cold you will find them (they can even tolerate temperatures of 41-50°F). Though they mostly prefer warm waters (64 to 72°F), they migrate to cold waters during the summer to eat and spawn. Their peak spawning is from April to September where they spawn their eggs in 246 feet with temperatures of 73° F.

They live in the deep waters with depths of 1500 feet but some have been recorded swimming in 9442 feet. They swim throughout the year in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida.  Great spots for fishing swords in the U.S. are in Florida Keys, Islamadora Florida, Southern California, and Virginia Beach.


Swordfish Gear and Fishing 

You can either fish swords in the daytime or at nighttime. Swordfish are primarily nocturnal feeders so you will find more success at these hours, they feed at depths of 300 feet during night and they go deeper during the day.

Since swords are deep-dwelling fish, the usual method is deep-trolling. Run your boat against the current to make your lure have a swim and wait for a bite. Always check the current, your gear will also depend on how the strong current is. Remember to drop a 15 lb lead to help the bait stay at the bottom. Use the number of lights up to your preference, usually 2-3 are enough (both for daytime and nighttime).

Here are some recommended gear by successful anglers: 6-foot fast action rod with a 5-7 feet leader with 300-600 lb swivel, around the 45-50 feet of the line attach your lights. Also, use 9/0 to 11/0 hooks, they have pretty big mouths. Use some lights to capture the attention of the swordfish. Use a 32-ounce sinker if the current is pretty strong, but if not use a 24 one. The sweet spot for swordfishing is 80-120 lb line weight (You’ll never know if you might hit an 800 lb fish). 

Though rare, some fly fishing anglers successfully caught a swordfish with a fly rod (though what they caught were smaller ones) One angler used a 20-lb snippet with a 14-weight rod a large 9/10 reel with 10/0-11/0 hooks. If you’re one of those extreme fly fishermen, this gear setup might work for you.

For lures, Use lures that are brightly colored and with a skirt to help the bait glide gracefully in the deep waters. Swordfish have big eyes that they use to catch their prey in the deep, a slight glistening of the lure will attract them and take your bait. Swordfish’s favorite bait is the squid, but you can also use chunks of barracudas and other fish.