Sword Rigging
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Thread: Sword Rigging

  1. #1

    Smile Sword Rigging

    So it's been blowing all weekend so decided to make a bunch of new sword rigs for when (and if) a weather break matches up with a day off.

    For the last several years I've been experiementing with various J hook setups. I've had some success with J hooks but sometimes the hook pulls. I'm now going to switch to big circle hooks. I've got 2 different ones for this experiment, a 16.0 VMC offset and an 18.0 Eagle Claw non-offset snelled to 300 lb mono.

    Then you need something to keep the mantle from sliding down the hook. I've sewn it to the line using rigging floss as well as used a funnel shaped spring for ballyhoo rigs. I guess anything would work. This is just a piece of pool noodle with a couple of beads to hold it in place.

    Next buy a 33 lb box of squid from Amory's in Hampton for $25. I was using the jumbo squid found in asian markets but with the size that comes from Amory's it's more common to the size squid found in our waters (match the hatch). Using food coloring, I soak it for a few hours in green, red, and purple. Keep some natural and this gives your 4 colors to try.

    I made 16 rigs today.

    With 300 lb mono if you cut the line at an angle, you can push it all the way through the squid straight out the mantle.

    Vacuum sealed them individually and drop them in the freezer...I'm ready for when the wind stops blowing.

    If anyone is overnighting anytime soon, I'd be glad to share these rigs. All I would ask is a report back on how they worked. Shortens my experimentation time.

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  3. #2
    TFer who Posts Some - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Hey Mike,
    I am real intrested in learning how/where/when to deep drop off of VA beach. I have done some sword fishing off the keys but never here but want to learn all I can. Thats a good idea pre rigging your baits the way you did, looks great. I would appreciate any advice you can share.

  4. #3
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    very wise and well done. i always use a 3 inch "cigar " surf float and peg the bottom. works well for us. instead of beads and pool noodle.
    how did you do this year on circles vs. j's? we converted as well and are fishing with the drag at about 8 lb. just like makos.
    looks like you had a hell of a year on swords. great job.....

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  6. #4

    Default spelling

    Since doing this post and losing many a sword to the big circle hook, my experiement continues. Seems the circle hook at times has a hard time finding the corner of the mouth to set. Many short runs only to pull the hook. But when it does set, she is set good and normally does not pull. So I went back to experiementing with J hooks. With J hooks you get more hook ups and more solid runs. But you risk pulling the hook more since sometimes the J hook sets in the wrong place and pulls free. So I found myself left with 2 choices. Less hook ups with circles but good hookups when you do or more hookup with J hooks but more pulled hooks. For my 2011 season I used mostly a J hook Mustad 7732 11.0 which has a nice wide gap to it. I've also started running the hook point out the body of the squid and sewing the head to the body (rather than running the point down to the head). Sometimes the sword wants to pick at the head or slash the squid until the head falls off. Once the head is gone, the sword probably won't come back to the bait. But with the head sewn on, it's tough to get it off and the sword will eventually eat the bait. Also had good success with strip baits, especially mahi strips. Also use alot of whole small fish (dead) like croaker and spot (butterflied). Even bunker at times. I think swords are just big catfish and will eat anything pretty much. Next time I rig, I'll do some more pictures. I do enjoy experiementing to see what works and what doesn't work.
    Last edited by Mike Avery; 02-08-2012 at 06:19 PM.

  7. #5


    Here is an update to how I'm rigging my squid now.

  8. #6

  9. #7
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Mike thanks for sharing this information. Only been saltwater fishing for a little over a year, there is so much out there, lol, I'm retiring from work, today is my last day and next year will purchase a twin engine boat, but for now do all my fishing from my 21 ft sea hunt, being retired I'm hoping to hook up with people to learn and talk fishing.

  10. #8


    Quick update on lessons learned. Had several pulled hooks last year fishing the J hooks sewn inside the eel body. My guess is not enough of the hook got buried in the sword as the eel body got jammed up in there somehow. I switched back to circle hooks. There is no perfect hook I am finding. They all have pros and cons. Going to lose some fish to both circles and Js. Still using eels with a skirt over the top but now keeping things more simple just hook the ell thru the head or tail just like striper or cobia fishing. I still fish the eel dead as I don't want the eel to ball up. Beside the current down there make the eel appear alive with the moving current. I still use squid on occasion but not as often as it is so fragile and the sword can slice it up with their bill then not even eat the rest. Too many times I check the bait to crank up a mangled half gone squid. Cut bait works good especially mahi fillets, croakers stripes, speckled trout, etc. I've had good luck with the Eagle Claw 18/0 Circle Sea shown the first post of this thread but using 300 lb mono with crimps (not snelling 300 lb mono). Keep the drag set just below strike, enough to set the hook itself. Then just crank and make sure there is never any slack in the line early in the fight and all the way through no matter how long the battle lasts. I'll try to post some pics later when I get some time. Summer sword fishing should be getting good now. Good luck.

  11. #9
    New TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2011


    Mike, thanks again for the info. I will let you know how we do

  12. #10


    I took some time Sunday to sit down to write an article on my experiences with sword fishing. Sword fishing should be getting good from now through December or January. You can find it here. Hope it helps someone catch a sword this year.

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