Swordfish Recaptured after 238 Days!!

On December 16, 2017 Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) was tagged with a Gray FishTag conventional tag (GFR6486) It was caught, tagged and released by angler Anthony DiMare while fishing with Captain Nick Stanczyk aboard the Broad Minded charter boat out of Bud’N Mary’s Marina, Islamorada, Florida USA. The group was fishing the waters about 25 miles east of Islamorada.  The Swordfish was estimated to be 47 in. (119 cm) Lower Jaw Fork Length (LJFL) and had an approximate weight of 50 lbs.  After tagging the fish Mr. DiMare registered the Swordfish using the Gray FishTag Research website (GrayFishTag.org) and decided to name it “Little A”.

238 later, on August 11, 2018 the Swordfish was recaptured by NOAA observer McKenzie O’Connor while aboard PLL Vessel Ellen Jean.

The tag recapture location was approximately 475 miles (764 km) straight line distance north from where the Swordfish was originally tagged, in the waters 90 miles ESE of Savannah, Georgia.  The measured length of the fish was 55 in. (139 cm) and a of 96 lbs. (43.5 kg).

The Gray FishTag Research program has been able to exceed the expectations for fish recapture rates thanks to the hard-working professional fishermen on the water day in and day out.  Recaptures are very important to us, and events such as this one is truly amazing and entice us to continue our quest of tagging fish and learning more about each species. Our program is constantly growing with new species being tagged in new regions every day.  Tags are provided free-of-charge to the collaborating professional fishermen, and the tag data is available to the public at www.GrayFishTagResearch.org

The tag recovery angler, McKenzie O’Connor, will receive a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, a Tag & Recovery Certificate, and Gray FishTag gear for reporting the tag recovery.

The Gray FishTag Research program and efforts are made possible by our research centers The Fisherman Magazine, AquaWorld, Crocodile Bay Resort, Grande Alaska Lodge, Los Sueños Resort & Marina, Marina Pez Vela, The Pisces Group, The Zancudo Lodge and Casa Vieja Lodge. Sponsors: AFTCO, AA Video, American Fishing Wire, FECOP, Costa Del Mar, CR Primo Fishing Tackle, Seaguar, SouthernMost Apparel, SquidNation.

For more information, please contact us direct at info@GrayFishTag.orgor by calling 844.824.8353

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+Species Information

Species Information

This migratory billfish can grow to 177 in. long, from the tip of its slender bill to the end of its crescent caudal (tail) fin. It is a dark brown black above, fading to a lighter shade underneath, and its first dorsal and anal fins are significantly more pronounced and curved than the secondary ones. Adults have no scales anymore, or teeth in their jaws, probably eating their prey whole after striking it with the strong bill. Swordfish have a high tolerance for varying water temperature, partially because of a special bundle of tissue that helps to insulate their brains.

Geographical Distribution and Habitat

The swordfish is found in oceanic regions worldwide, including the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. It is found in tropical, temperate, and sometimes cold waters, with a latitudinal range of approximately 60°N to 45°S. The swordfish is a highly migratory species, generally moving to warmer waters in the winter and cooler waters in the summer Generally, an oceanic species, the swordfish is primarily a midwater fish at depths of 650-1970 feet (200-600 m) and water temperatures of 64 to 71°F (18-22°C). Although mainly a warm-water species, the swordfish has the widest temperature tolerance of any billfish and can be found in waters from 41-80°F (5-27°C). The swordfish is commonly observed in surface waters, although it is believed to swim to depths of 2,100 feet (650 m) or greater, where the water temperature may be just above freezing. Blood is supplied to the tissue through a specialized vascular heat exchanger, similar to the counter current exchange found in some tunas. This helps prevent rapid cooling and damage to the brain as a result of extreme vertical movements.


The swordfish, as the only member of the family Xiphiidae, can be distinguished from other billfishes (Family Istiophoridae) by the shape of its prolonged “bill”, which appears as a flattened oval in cross section. The bill is long relative to other billfishes and adults lack teeth in the jaws. While the young have scales, these are lost by the time the fish attain a body length of about 3 feet (1 m). Adults lack scales and teeth. The body is generally cylindrical. Two dorsal fins are present, although the second is quite small, separated from the first, and set far back on the body. The first dorsal fin is high and rigid. Likewise, there are two anal fins, although again the second is considerably smaller than the first. Pelvic fins are absent.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Swordfish prefer to swim alone, rather than moving in groups.
  • They are one of the fastest fish species found in the oceans.
  • They are near the top of the food chain with only a few predators including humans, sharks, and whales.
  • They lose their teeth, as they reach their adulthood.