Daytime Swordfishing Florida Keys

Florida Swordfish

After years of perfecting the process of catching swordfish during the day, the crew at Bud N Mary’s marina has this fishery completely dialed in.

Jumping Daytime Swordfish

Not many anglers can say they’ve caught a swordfish during the day. If you want to add this experience to your bucket list, head to the Keys and book a swordfish trip. To book a trip with BD Pro Staffer Nick Stanczyk, visit or call 305-664-2461.

Swordfish IGFA

IGFA President Rob Kramer (second from left) and IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser (fourth from left), along with Australian outdoor writer Tim Simpson, fished aboard Catch 22 in Islamorada, Florida, with captains Richard (wearing his signature zinc-oxide sunblock) and Scott Stanczyk and mates Hunter Barron and John Johansen.

Swordfish Bait

This strip bait, or Panama strip, was made from the belly of a fresh-caught barracuda. The crew slices the tail portion of the bait so it will flutter in the water.

Kramer Swordfish

Kramer, Stancyk and Simpson (left to right) with a Florida sword caught in 1,200 feet of water in the middle of the day.

swordfish jump

The best part about catching a swordfish during the day is that you get the chance to see them jump. Notice how thick the fish’s body is at the base of the tail… pure muscle!

Catch 22

The Catch 22, out of Bud N Mary’s marina provides the perfect platform for daytime swordfishing.

LP light

After much trial and error, Stancyk and Gaspeny vary the placement and colors of the two Lindgren-Pitman Electralume lights they use. They attach them anywhere from 10 to 100 feet above the bait. Their favorite color is violet but other colors have also produced.


Here’s another way to prepare a tuna bait. Remove the tail and butterfly the bait in half up to the head. Insert the hook so it runs in between the gills and stitch it into place with rigging floss.

Swordfish Stomach contents

Inspecting the stomach contents of a swordfish helps the crew figure out what the predators are keying in on. Swords will snack on anything, including menhaden, herring, butterfish and mackerel, but their main diet consists of squid.

Sword 1

Used as a stand-by bait, fresh squid will get the attention of a swordfish, but the crew always tries to catch a few small tunas, barracuda or other fish to use for bait on their way to the grounds.

Red Squid

The crew will often dye the squid baits bright red or green, but red seems to work best.

nice sword

The Stancyzk crew helps international angler Neil Patrick, owner of the Australian lure company Halco, land a daytime swordfish.

Baits for Swordfish

Split-tail mullet and rigged belly strips all make quality swordfish baits.

Nick Stancyk

BD Pro Staffer Nick Stancyk (far left) often runs the cockpit on the offshore swordfish trips and has taken to wearing a helmet cam. He has recorded hundreds of hours of video footage documenting the action and some incredible swordey jumps.


Braided line is best for long drops. It cuts through the water better than mono and has zero stretch. For this fishery, you don’t want to skimp on strength. Spool up with 130-pound braided Spectra for your main line.


Another weight is attached with several feet above the leader. The crew calls this the stabilizing weight. If the big concrete weight breaks off, this smaller, 2- to 3-pound weight will keep the bait close to the bottom and out of the current.

bonito bait

Little tunny, skipjack or any small tuna are perfect choices for making strip baits. Use the top portion of the fillet to construct the strip bait. The strip baits are more durable than squid and stand up to numerous drops and swordfish swipes.


Lindgren-Pittman lights are the industry standard for swordfishing. If you want to fish for IGFA records, place the light on the allowed length of leader, which is 30 feet. Or, tie the light on the top shot so the mate can cut the light away without touching the running line.


With their large eyes and broad, wide bill, swordfish have perfectly adapted to their environment and can hunt throughout the entire water column from top to bottom.


This deployed rig is ready for action. You really can’t use anything much smaller than an 80-wide because you need maximum line capacity.

swordfish eye

Their large eye helps swordfish track prey in the deep. Some studies claim swords actually heat up their eye to see even better when hunting.

lp ad

Lindgren-Pitman Online Tackle Store has hooks, lights, leaders and much more. Check Them Out!


Daytime Swordfishing Florida Keys

Adrian E. Gray is a self-taught photographer and artist specializing in fishing, under-water and marine-related content. Born in East London, South Africa, Adrian's passion for fishing led him to south Florida where he lives and works as a full-time creative coordinator for the International Game F...