How-To: Deep Drop Fishing for Swordfish in the Canyons with the Hogy Deep Drop Sword Eel
Posted by Jamie Costa on
Angler: Alex Hoxsie
Target Species: Swordfish
Location: As a recreational fisherman, Alex Hoxsie keeps his boat in the Point Judith Marina in Rhode Island. From there, him and his crew head out to the canyons (roughly 96 nautical miles offshore) to target swordfish which can range from depths of 1200-feet at its shallowest to 2100-feet at its deepest. Most of the time, the fish Alex has caught have been between 1400 and 1600-feet.
“We start out by trolling out there to see if we mark any bait,” Alex said. “We’re looking for any bait on the bottom.”
Tides: It is not tide dependent out at the canyons. More or less, they end up drifting with the wind rather than the current. Because of this, Alex can get away with attaching a 4 to 6lb weight to his lure to help keep it on the bottom without much interference from the current.
When searching for the perfect place to set up a drift, Alex will sometimes see different types of dolphins or big manta rays which often indicate active bottom life.
“As long as you’re in the warm blue water in the 70-degree range, you should have some luck finding these fish,” Alex advised.
They tend to go out between the end of July to the beginning of August when it’s still pretty warm. Sometimes, they’ll fish into the end of October which is based on the weather and never report focused.
Alex is a firm believer in heading offshore whenever the weather allows for it.
Rigging/Lure Selection: Deep Drop Sword Eel with a 4 to 6lb weight to hold bottom and two dine in lights attached to the leader as an attractant.
Why This Bait?: Alex will fish using two rods; a buoy rod and a tip rod. If there is a lot of squid around, the artificial baits will keep the squid away. If they are using natural baits, the squid will attack them and eat them before they get to the bottom. They have had no problems will the Deep Drop Eel and the pink coloration matches the coloration of the squid feeding on the bottom.
Retrieve: Alex primarily dead drifts when they are targeting swordfish. When the weight hits the bottom, he’ll reel up about 100-feet, let it sit and continue to reel it up another 100-feet. This technique is repeated multiple times before the lure is dropped back down to the bottom.
Alex has found that the swordfish hit randomly and sporadically. Sometimes it’s on the first drop, sometimes it’s while drifting and sometimes the lure is just sitting there and it’s totally by chance.
It can be very hard to tell when a Swordfish is on since the bait is so far below the surface. It can range from a subtle tap you can barely see or feel to one that is unmistakable. Sometimes, the rod will just look a little heavier than usual or, all of a sudden, the line will go slack. When this happens, they will often swim the bait right to the surface. In this scenario, it’s best to reel the line is a quickly as possible using a drill. That way, you don’t have to continuously reel in our bait and burn your energy up if you don’t have a bite. The drill also helps to pick up the slack quicker with the fish on.
Without the drill, it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to get the bait to the surface.
Another technique Alex sometimes uses is stemming the tide by putting the motor in reverse.
Rod: 6’ Crafty One Customs medium/medium heavy rod. This shop is a custom rod shop located out of Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Reel: Shimano Tiagra 81
Line: 80lb Diamond Momoi
Leader: 200lb, 100-foot Jinkai Mono crimped onto a diamond momoi snap swivel. Hogy products come with the loop knot pretied so you can easily clip the leader onto the lure.