Swordfish, Broadbill

(Xiphias gladius)

Commonly referred to as Broadies!

The mighty Broad bill sword fish has been referred to as the penultimate gladiator of the sea! There powerful bodies and ultra long, sword like bills make the broad bill sword fish not only an amazing creature to look at but also one of the most highly prized game fish in the ocean. They roam deep canyons and drop offs in search of their favourite diet squid  and are rarely encountered by most anglers  making the broad bill sword fish an elusive species that deserves the respect of all anglers.


Broad bill sword fish can be located from as far south as the deep waters out from Albany right up to the Rowley Shoals region throughout Western Australia. They may also be encountered along the same latitudes on the east coast especially from Merimbula to Port Stephens in N.S.W. and prefer water depths of 200 – 1000 meters.


Broad bill sword fish can grow to around 1200 lbs in weight and reach a maximum length of around 4.5 meters although a typical size broadie is around 50kg in most Australian locations with larger fish averaging between 100 – 200kg proving to be extremely elusive. The current all tackle world record stands at a staggering 536.5kg!


Broad bill sword fish prefer deep, offshore continental waters with depths of over 200 – 1000 meters with large numbers of prey such as squid, tuna, and flying fish present. Water temperatures of 19 – 24 degrees are also preferred.


Broad bill sword fish can be easily identified by their short, thick, muscular body shape and long, flat, sword like bills which are around 1/3 the length of the body. They have an unusually high dorsal fin and a large, powerful tail capable of propelling the entire fish completely out of the water. Broadies are brown to grey in colouration leading down to a silverfish belly and posses an unusually large eye which is used for finding prey in deep, dark conditions.

Taste rating

  • Seventy Taste Rating

Broad bill sword fish are considered to be an excellent table fish after gaining high recognition thanks to commercial fishing. In my opinion they deserve the respect of all who target them and should always be released immediately upon capture unless the fish has died throughout the struggle or it is the anglers first.

Sport rating

  • One Hundred Sport Rating

Due to their impressive looks and outstanding fighting qualities the mighty broad bill sword fish is one of the most impressive game fish our oceans have to offer!

Tackle requirements

Medium to heavy lever drag trolling outfits are required for this substantial style of game fishing. They must have large line capacity and high quality drag systems capable of battling large fish in uncomfortable to rough sea conditions. Stand up outfits rated from 24 – 37kg are ideally suited for targeting small broadies to 150kg where as 60kg stand up or game chair outfits are needed to subdue larger specimens to over 800 lbs. Wind on leaders of between 200 – 600lb need to be connected to plaited doubles via a cats paw knot and then attached to the lure or bait trace with a quality stainless steel snap swivel or cork screw style snap for heavier 60kg line classes.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Broadies will eat a variety of prey items such as blue mackerel, tuna, flying fish and squid. Baits in this size range and should be rigged with 10/0 – 12/0 sized hooks when using  24 – 37kg line classes. Trolling hooks are generally made from high quality stainless steel and have a straight rather than off set gauge and are generally rigged in tandem when targeting broad bill. Large to extra large squid are preferred for larger broadies and are generally rigged on heavy 400 – 600lb nylon leaders with 12/0 – 14/0 sized stainless steel hooks. Down riggers and heavy lead weights are also used to sink baits down through the water column whilst broadie fishing.

Handy hints and tips

Placing light sticks around 1 – 2 meters from the bait will increase strike rates considerably!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Broad bill sword fish prefer low or high tide changes during bright nights around 1 – 2 weeks either side of a full moon.


[What The Fish]