Swordfish 101

Discussion in 'Billfish' started by Chasin' Tales, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Chasin' Tales

    Chasin' Tales Junior member

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    I've learned a TON this summer from some fellas who have been targeting swords in the gulf for years. I'm far from an expert, but I will share what I've picked up on rigging...

    Tackle:
    We've used 50's & 80's this summer, mostly 80's. To me, 80's are overkill. 50's are plenty and I'm sure you could get away with a 30 wide as most of the fish are still running on the small side. As far as a rod goes...for the tip rods, go with a bent butt(short for stand-up, long for a chair). For the rods handling the balloon baits, it doesn't matter as much. You want the tip of the rod to have some flex. Often, swords will swim up with the bait and you want to be able to tell when the weight has been taken off the tip.

    The rig:
    The rods we used were all set up with a double line with a ball bearing swivel attached via an offshore knot. We use the rods for trolling during the day and swording at night. The sword rig consists of the following: bb swivel is attached to a caribbean 3 way swivel. The electralume is attached to the caribbean swivel opposite the bb swivel via a split ring. Attach a split ring to the bottom of the electralume. Use #64 rubber bands to attach the weights to this split ring on the bottom of the electralume. You can run the rubber bands thru the small ring directly on the bottom of the electralume, but it is so much easier if you use a split ring. We typically use two or three 16-30 oz bank sinkers depending on the wind and the current. The leader is attached to the other leg of the caribbean 3 way.

    Leader:
    With the setup we use, it's convienent to have each leader set up with a snap swivel. That way you can have several leaders set up and simply snap the leader on to the three way whenever you need a fresh bait. Since your light and weights are already attached to the 3 way, it makes it a lot easier. I use a 12-15', 300# leader with a 9/0-10/0 j-hook. Bigger/smaller baits might require a larger/smaller hook.

    Bait:
    There are as many ways to rig a squid as there are ways to skin a cat. The swordfishcentral.com forum has a rigging section that shows several great ways to rig a squid. My preference is as follows: Start by using a hook point to make a small hole about ½” down from the very tip of the mantle(opposite end from the tentacles). Thread one end of a 12’-15’ section of 300# leader material down thru the mantle. When you get to the head of the squid, keep threading right on thru the center of the head. At this point, crimp the hook onto the tag end that got pulled thru the head. Gently pull the crimp into the head of the squid. The crimp should end up in the head of the squid and the hook should then basically be free to dangle in the tentacles. Lay the squid flat. Take a 2’ long piece of waxed rigging thread and use it to make a loop on the line about 1” above the tip of the squid and trim the tag ends. I will hit the waxed line with some zap a gap to keep it from sliding on the line. You will the take another 2’ or so section of waxed line and use it to bridle the squid and tie to the loop made on the line above the squid. I will usually stitch thru the squid three times making sure to attach the little “fins” at the top of the mantle. The first time I used this method, I only stitched thru the round part of the mantle. When the squid got hit, the little “fins” on the tip of the mantle would get maimed rendering the squid useless. Once the waxed line is threaded thru the squid, it is then tied to the waxed line loop to ensure that the squid will not ball up on the line. I will also take some waxed line and stitch the head of the squid to the mantle. I do this in the darker area of the mantle where the flesh tends to be a bit thicker. At this point, you should be able to hold the squid straight up and down on the line and it not ball up a single bit. Crimp a snap swivel on the other end of the leader and you are ready to go!

    When it comes time to re-rig a leader that already has a hook on it, start by threading the hook point into the mantle of the squid about a half inch from the tip. Thread the whole hook down into the mantle and carefully pull the crimp into the mantle and thread the hook through the mantle and out the head. Then run the hook through the center head and pull it as far through the head as a gentle tug will allow. Now continue as described above using waxed thread to bridle the squid.

    Instead of using the waxed thread to bridle the squid, you can also use copper rigging wire to secure the squid to the line. It can be as simple as wrapping the wire tightly around the line just above the tip of the squid and simply continue to wrap tightly around the tip of the mantle for about a ½” or so and then back up the line. This is the method I used on my first sword attempts. It is quick way of rigging a squid, but the squid has a tendency to ball up when a sword hits. I now only used the waxed line bridle method.

    Mullet make a good sword bait as well. I will get my mullet from the local seafood market. They are a much cheaper alternative to the two-packs of sword squid. I rig the mullet much like a ballyhoo is rigged. To secure the hook in the mullet, I use wax thread. Use a needle to stick the thread thru the gill plates, also going through the loop in the line between the crimp and the hook. Once all the way through the head, simply tie the two ends together.

    That’s all I’ve got for now…
     
  2. Minnow

    Minnow Administrator

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    Welcome and thank you for your great post.
    Please keep it coming, I never know mullet is a good bait LOL now i know .
     

  3. Gunsmoke

    Gunsmoke Senior Member

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    Chasin Tales,
    First off, very informative post. What port do you do most of your fishing? Do you know of a good reliable source for fresh squid? Last case I bought was a ripoff. I think I paid about 350 bucks for two dozen prerigged squids that I wouldn't even feed to a cat.
     
  4. Minnow

    Minnow Administrator

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    Gunsmoke,
    go to any oriantal market they have fresh squid for $1.99/pound
     
  5. Pope

    Pope Senior Member

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    Amen...Honk Kong Food Market in Arlington!
     
  6. seaveyor

    seaveyor Junior member

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    Good post, i do almost the same things. Good Luck
     
  7. wacker

    wacker Senior Member

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    Thanks fo the info and can't wait to try that squid riging, ours has had a low landing ratio but it's geting better.
     
  8. Deep_Sea_Gull

    Deep_Sea_Gull Lifetime Supporting Members

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    Welcome aboard Wacker.
    I hope that you enjoy 360tuna.
     
  9. peterk814

    peterk814 Senior Member

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    hey can post pictures by any chance. I am losing you after the part about attaching the weights to the electralume via rubberband
     
  10. Chasin' Tales

    Chasin' Tales Junior member

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    I will try to post some pics. I think I've got an old squid or two still in the freezer...