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Swordfish

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round

All Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) not retained must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival, without removing the fish from the water.

Landings updates and seasonal closures are posted under “What's New...” at https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/

*Special permit required - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) for personal use in the Atlantic Ocean must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit. Further limits and restrictions apply.

Consult https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/ or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information and permits.
Size Limit
47 inch minimum (head on) (measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail fork)
Daily Limit / Person
Private vessel – 1 per person, no more than 4 per trip

Charter vessel – 1 per paying person, no more than 6 per trip

Headboat – 1 per paying person, no more than 15 per trip
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences
An oceanic species, the Swordfish is primarily a midwater fish found at depths of 650 to almost 2000 feet.

These fish are most often solitary in nature.

They feed primarily on sardines, squids, flying fish, and other medium-sized fishes.
General Description
The top of the Swordfish can range from dark brown to grayish-blue while their undersides are silvery white.
Did You Know?
The Swordfish has a large bundle of tissue which insulates and warms the brain. This "brain heater" allows the fish to swim in cold water.

The Swordfish sometimes uses it sword by slashing its prey and injuring it making it easier to catch and eat. They do not use their sword as a spear.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Swordfish are often seen basking on the surface during the day but many times won't bite bait trolled past them.

Drift fishing at night using large squid is often employed. Small light sticks are often added just above the hook.
Typical Sizes Caught
Swordfish are commonly caught in the range of 75 to 100 pounds by anglers.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award
Adult: Any
Youth (age 15 and under): Any

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: Any
Youth (age 15 and under): Any
Delaware State Record
358 pounds
Kurt Lorenz
2013