I stopped taking billfish (such as marlin or sailfish) several years ago. It’s not that I’m some sort of ultra-conservationist, I just believe that apex predators like billfish don’t reproduce as quickly as other species of fish. I think the reason is that they don’t have many natural predators. Slower reproduction is nature’s way of preserving that balance.
On the East Coast, commercial fishing pushed swordfish to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, they have staged an amazing comeback due to successful fishery management. Today, there’s a thriving recreational fishery for them and they’re one billfish I might take (and enjoy eating).
Florida is a hotspot for targeting swords. This article from The Outdoors Guy details how to catch Florida swordfish.
Visualize this, we leave the dock about 2 hours before dark and run due south from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. We then head out with the aid of satellite navigation and radar into the Gulf Stream and to depths over 1000 feet of water. We then set lines and drift our way back home. We fish live bait, squid with light sticks (as seen in the perfect storm), really whatever it takes to get them going. When the reel goes off, there is nothing more exciting than being out on the ocean at night battling it out with such a powerful yet delicious fish.
There has been quite a bit written about sword fishing lately and for good reason, North Atlantic swordfish populations, which had been severely depleted by the 1990s as a result of over fishing, have staged a stunning recovery, as reported by the international regulatory group (ICCAT) charged with overseeing their protection. Sport fishermen from South Florida are now able to catch this mighty adversary, if properly prepared.
Photos: Nature’s Wallpaper (top); Outdoors Guy (above)