Samuel Urbain is no ordinary fisherman. His passion : Swordfish ! And trust us, he knows a lot about it. When asked to share his experience with FishFriender community, he accepted without any hesitation ! Destination, techniques, fishing gear… He provides valuable tips and guidance for catching this mythical fish.
Hello Samuel, can you share with us where’re your coming from and how you discovered fishing?
Hello everyone! I live in Sainte-Maxime, in Var. I started fishing in Belgium, where I’m from, and more precisely along the Meuse. We went searching for freshwater fishes with my dad and my great grand-father.
Before we get back to swordfish fishing, which you mastered, do you practice different techniques depending on fish type ?
Yes! Less than twenty years ago I started fishing in the Mediterranean Sea. I began searching skipjacks, bonitos, wolf fishes, barracudas… Using the trolling fishing technique. A few years later, I learned tuna fishing near Hyères Islands in high-speed trolling. I also learned yellowtail and dentis fishing techniques in slow trolling, and live bait, jigging and soft lure.
Let’s get back to our swordfishes. For a lot of fishermen, this fish is a myth. Are you lucky enough to catch some often?
Swordfish is ‘THE’ mythical fish that every fisherman is dreaming to catch. Honestly, that’s why I’m so interested in it. And, over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to catch some pretty often. Sometimes, even several specimens on the same day!
How does this type of fishing trip works?
We leave early in the morning, excited and eager to spend a pleasant fishing day and deal with these gladiators! After cruising for a while to reach our different fishing areas, we prepare fishing gear and baits. Then, we put our one and only line in the water. Somedays, we quickly have activity, others, we have to wait for hours. And, in some rare cases unfortunately it never comes. Later, we usually go back before nightfall. These are long days!
Does it require a great deal of rigor and substantial gear to fight this fish (boat, instrumentation…)?
Yes, these fishes are pretty hard to target. When fishing those specimens, rigor and perseverance are always mandatory!
Regarding fishing gear, this a complex technique to achieve: you need a specific equipment for swordfish. Unfortunately, demand is not consequent enough, therefore, we don’t find the appropriate fishing gear here. In Europe, even well-known brands don’t commercialize these kinds of equipment.
Regarding the boat, this fishing technique do not need big units because we do not deploy numerous fishing rods (unlike tuna fishing for example).
However, I advise a consequent enough motorization to reach and come back quickly from fishing areas. Indeed, in case of an unexpected storm or strong winds, the most important is to be safe at any time in every kind of weather.
At last, if a good GPS and a good sounder proves themselves useful, it is also necessary to have good knowledge of targeted fishes in order to increase chances to catch them.
According to you, what are the best destinations for swordfish fishing?In terms of quantity and size?
Best destinations are numerous. Here in Mediterranean, in terms of “number of fishes” I get one of the biggest quantities in the world. But unfortunately, their size is smaller than elsewhere. The most well-known destination is Florida in the US. But there are also other interesting countries such as: Australia, New-Zealand, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Kenya…
Until now, I only used one fishing rod. But I will shortly experiment the deployment of a second line. The size of fished fishes varies from a dozen of kilograms to more or less 140 kilograms. However, most frequently encountered weights are around 25 and 60 kilograms. Some of my friends, across the globe, are lucky enough to catch fishes of more than 300 kilograms. Which is quite rare.
You have to keep in mind that, because this is where difficulty lies, the objective won’t be to fish the biggest fishes but to have the larger quantity and frequency of catches.
Here in Mediterranean, unfortunately this fish size has become extremely rare due to overfishing. And, because some countries do not respect their fishing quotas, driftnets (prohibited for a few years…) and longliners are causing damages!
Across the Atlantic, some fishermen developed new ways to apprehend fishes during the day, can you tell us more about it?
Regarding sport fishing techniques, search at night is the most popular. But for the past ten years, day fishing has also brought its fruits. Because it is more comfortable, it has become more popular. But it still stays more difficult to achieve.
Daily techniques are the same but can strongly varies according to areas, currants and fish’s behavior. So, each one adapts his montage to overcome these disparities. Hence, the complexity of the search and success of this kind of fishing is what gives all the charm!
We are only a handful of fishermen to be renowned in this domain. A true friendship is born across the world thanks to this common passion for swords! And I think it is beautiful that we exchange our experiences and our knowledge.
Speaking of Florida, you’ve been there recently? What was the occasion?
Last February, I’ve been to Florida, for the “Tag and Release” International tournament award ceremony. This competition is organized by “The Billfish Foundation”, the biggest worldwide foundation of protection, preservation and search of fishes with rostrum.
During this annual contest, I got the first place of the “Top Tagging Angler Atlantic Swordfish” 2017 edition. And the same year, my father got the distinction of “Top Tagging Captain Atlantic Swordfish”!
Can you explain what this foundation is doing? How did you hear about this foundation and how do you collaborate with them on a daily basis?
The goal of this foundation, as stated above, is to fight against protection, preservation, and searches of fishes with rostrum (xiphias swordfish, sailfish, blue marlin, black marlin…). I got to know this organization through international fishing magazines but also thanks to various fishing trips and big game fishing.
I practice “tagging” for this foundation, which consists in marking and identifying caught fishes with a tag applicator. They are quickly anchored under the fish skin, then we estimate its weight and measure him using a rule specifically designed for it. We release the fish afterward. With this gathered data, we create its personalized identity card in order to know its evolution and trips.
A word on fishing in France? And the image fishermen can produce regarding of other countries? An idea to boost it?
Fishing in France is not strongly renowned abroad. Indeed, we are not a well-known fishing destination… Yet, we have really beautiful fishes and fishermen here! We also have numerous professional guides, who can help you discover marvelous fishes and top regions!
To address it, we should be a bit more represented and supported by our federations on a European level. And thus, raise French recreative and sport fishing credibility, because we must comply with numerous interdictions and we depend on a minimal quota which gradually destroys the French Halieutic economic sector.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects? Where can we follow you?
My goals? Follow my passion as long as I can! I would like to become fishing guide with the aim of sharing my passion for Xiphias (latin for swordfish). Then I will be able to welcome fishermen from all around the world in order to be faced with these Mediterranean giants. But unfortunately, I cruelly lack time to obtain the required licenses.
Meanwhile, I invite you to discover my numerous fishing pictures on my Instagram @urbainsamuel and to follow my Facebook page!
🐟 You have an idea or just want to contribute to our Blog FishFriender ? Do not hesitate to contact us ! And if you go fishing this weekend, do not forget to take beautiful pictures & record your catches on the FishFriender app!