Satellite tagging results and fishermen agree: Swordfish go deep during the day (like the 1,800 feet deep kind of deep) and come up much closer to the surface at night – usually just 100 to 300 feet below the surface. So, swordfish are often fished for by the light of the moon.
While it may not be the cure for a great night's sleep, the fish are easier to find, and ultimately, easier to catch in the wee small hours of the morning. But the advent of electric reels has changed the game a little bit for both angler and fish. For those anglers who need their beauty rest, daytime swordfishing can be challenging and rewarding on many levels.
Though an electric reel makes life a little easier for the fishermen by dropping bait nice and deep and helping get the line and fish back up when a bite happens, it also requires a skilled, intuitive captain to maneuver the boat carefully. The heavy bait (big swordfish like healthy portions of bait like bonito or squid) and great depths can even make it difficult to tell if there's a fish on the line at all. Stories abound about daytime swordfishers who pull up their lines "to check" and find 350 pound swordfish on the other end. As daytime swordfishing grows in popularity, the technique also develops.
A swordfish on the line almost certainly means an intense battle. It's not uncommon for large swordfish to command a three- or four-hour fight just to get the fish boat side. For adrenaline-addicted anglers, this kind of fishing is what they dream of – day and night.