Game fishing rig 4 – Broadbill swordfish

Northern target species

Broadbill swordfish.

Southern target species

Broadbill swordfish.

Popular baits

Large, fresh locally caught squid or fresh and live tuna and mackerel. Bait needles and waxed thread are needed to stitch baits securely to hooks.

Fishing method

The broadbill swordfish rig is designed to target the elusive and majestic broadbill swordfish. Sending this baited rig plummeting to the dark, gloomy depths with the use of a down rigger is also a popular swordfish technique and avoids the risk of sinker leader tangles and also allows the swordfish to take a bait without feeling too much resistance from the heavy weight it is connected to. Broadbill swordfish do have relatively soft mouths and pulling hooks is a common occurrence for heavy handed anglers! Setting a variety of baits at various depths from surface to sea floor will increase strike rates considerably. Allowing fish to get baits down properly before setting hooks is always important when game fishing.

Terminal tackle used

Main lines – Nylon 24 – 60kg breaking strain.

Leader – Nylon or fluoro carbon  400 – 600lb breaking strain joined to main line with cats paw, loop to loop connection. IGFA rules and regulations state that in all line classes up to and including 10kg the leader shall be limited to 4.57m – (15ft ). The combined length of double line and leader shall not exceed 6.1m – ( 20ft ). The leader on all line classes over 10kg shall be limited to 9.14m – ( 30ft ). The combined length of double line and leader is limited to 12.19m – (40ft ).

Hook – 12/0 – 14/0 circle or J pattern.

Sinker – Sinkers need to be heavy enough to sink baits down to extreme depths and keep them there.

Sinker leader – Sinker leaders should be both strong enough to hold the weight of the large sinker yet light enough to break free once a swordfish is hooked.

Crimps – Small, strong, aluminium crimps should be used to connect the hook and to form a loop or Flemish eye for main line or leader connections.

Swivels – Most hook leaders or traces should be attached to wind on leaders or main lines with the use of a high quality, ball bearing, snap swivel.

Light stick – A large light stick should be connected to the top of the leader and is used to attract the swordfish to the rig in the deep, dark waters in which they roam.

Depth range

Deep – ultra deep.


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