Broadbill are known as the gladiator of the sea, the ultimate in game fishing. I have the utmost respect for these fish… nothing compares to the power and fight you get out of a broadbill.
Luke Davey of SwordPro spends a lot of time trialing different setups to find the best broadbill rigs – and he’s had an extremely successful season using circle hooks and our own broadbill swordfish rigs developed by Luke.
We’ve either landed or released 10 swords in 11 trips this season, and there’s still plenty of time to get out there and have a crack! A lot of reports are coming in of broadbill being caught in both NZ and Australia, so the end of the season is not here yet. Luke mainly fishes out of Whangaroa, Northland.
He puts his success down to the experience he has gained over the years perfecting his rigs and deep dropping techniques. We have had a lot of guys contacting us sending in pics of their first sword caught using our rigs, using the techniques we have shared on the website, some after many years of trying.
What makes a successful swordfish rig?
Our rigs are successful due to the combinations we put together. We use skirts as an added attractant but also for protection of the bait, when the fish whacks at the bait to ‘kill’ it there is still the visual attractant of the skirt, while the piece of bait protected up inside the skirt still gives off the smell of a true fish.
We find that broadbill are not messy eaters and usually if they do whack at it the bait is still whole if we pull it up. Luke usually has two baited rigs ready to go when fishing, so if the bite is hot he doesn’t have to mess around for 10 mins rigging up another bait – he drops the one he has already prepared and is ready to go. When the bite is hot you need to get another bait down without delay before the fish leaves the area.
With SwordPro broadbill rigs you’ll always be ready for the perfect weather window – No need to spend time searching for the gear to make rigs and rigging up the night before a trip! SwordPro broadbill swordfish rigs are ready to go – just slide a strip bait, small frost fish or whole skippy up inside the skirt for the perfect sword bait. Luke also does custom orders for those wanting a different mono, skirt or light combination.
Using circle hooks for a stronger hook up & more successful release
SwordPro recommends the use of circle hook rigs as there is less chance of pulling the hook due to foul hook ups. Once the circle hook rolls into the perfect position in the corner of the fish’s mouth, you’ll be in one of the strongest hook up points. You also have a far greater chance of being able to release the fish at the boat when using circle hooks.
There’s an increasing number of small boats out on the water game fishing now that it has become a daytime sport, allowing many more of us to enjoy the thrill of the hunt – however we do need to keep the preservation of the species into our thoughts. This is where SwordPro circle hook rigs come into play. With circle hooks, there is a far greater chance of being able to release the fish at the boat.
Personally, I have had a far greater hook up rate with circle hooks, when compared with J-hooks. Thinking back to when J-hooks were what we used as a standard, there was a far greater percentage of dropped fish due to foul hook ups, with a lot of those fish dropped injured; and I reckon a high percentage of them end up dying on the way back down due to their injuries. I have seen them surface, regurgitate their guts to get rid of the hook then go back down only to die and end up as shark food – such a waste of an amazing fish.
When fishing for broadbill we need to keep in mind they need to be either be on the table feeding a lot of people at the end of the day or released back as breeding stock, therefore we need give them the respect they deserve by making sure they can be released at the boat in the best condition possible if we aren’t taking them home to the table. There are times when release just isn’t possible but we are giving them a far better chance by using circle hooks.
Luke’s hook up rate is sitting at about 90% success once he feels the bite using circle hooks.
With circle hooks you also get the true fight out of the fish instead of dragging them up from the depths wounded. Once a circle hook is set in the corner of the fish’s mouth it’s not going anywhere, so you can take your time and work on bringing them in. If you need to have a break, release the drag and you can have a quick rest before getting them to the boat.
When using circle hooks, when you feel the bite you need to play the fish and work at setting that hook, once set it’s not going anywhere!
Once at the boat Luke uses the SwordPro Extreme Kit to land or tag and release. The benefit of the Extreme Kits are the fact that the one pole is interchangeable with a harpoon, flying gaff, large gaff or tag and release dart eliminating the need for having a heap of poles spilling out of the gunnels of your boat.
Swordpro Extreme Kits
SwordPro Extreme kits are designed with interchangeable components, meaning you have only one pole designed to be used with multiple attachments or separate components. This one pole now becomes your Flying Gaff, Harpoon, Gaff, Landing Net and Tag and Release simply by screwing the component you need into the end of the pole.
The Extreme Kits easily fit into the gunnels of the boat without being a tangle of multiple poles for different uses. As soon as Luke knows which tool he wants to use, he screws in the separate components needed and he’s ready to go -without having to fight off multiple poles spilling all over the deck!