While swordfish are typically caught above the thermocline during the late summer nights in the northeast and year-round down south in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, deep dropping for them during the day is becoming ever more popular. Down south, daytiming has been popular for years but recently it has really been catching on in the northeast when the tuna bite has been slow during the hottest summer months. Structure is key, so if you just go out to the deep in 1200-1800ft of water and make a drop on a spot without any structure you are unlikely to get a bite and at that point simply wasting time and money.
While you can use both manual and electric gear, electrics are going to be better suited to handle the deepest drops in just about every situation unless there is barely any current. The most popular option is the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 and their new 24v option, the S-2400. This reel is about as bullet proof as you can get, and has the drag and line capacity to take down the monsters from the deep. The Hooker reels are also a great option, which combines Shimano Tiagra and Penn International Reels with their drives, which still gives you the option to hand crank a fish after it is hooked if you would like. Detachable options are available to make that even easier as well. The Shimano Beastmaster BM9000 is also a lighter duty option that is extremely easy to move around the boat after hookup and can get the job done on most swords, but unfortunately you do not get to pick which one you will hook.
If you are in the Gulf of Mexico or another area that does not have a ton of current produced by the Gulf Stream, hand crank standup swordfishing is doable with a 50W class reel. The best options include the Shimano Talica TAC50II and Shimano Tiagra 50WLRSA, Penn International 50VISW, and Avet TR-X 50W. If going this route, the rest of the rigging will be just about the same as going electric.
The tip of the a daytime swordfishing rod is going to be critical for detecting a subtle swat or bite from a hungry sword, where a soft tip with enough flex will be crucial. Even though the tip of the rod will be soft enough to see the slightest bite, the rod will still need to have a ton of backbone and power to lift monster swords from the deep. You will also want to make sure Silicon Carbide (SIC) guides are present, which will prevent your line from being chafed by a compromised guide insert on the way down and back up under a load. If you plan on using the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 or S-2400, you will also want to make sure the rod comes with an 80lb (#4) bent butt as a 50lb (#2) butt will not fit the clamp on the reel.
When spooling up your daytime swordfishing reel, braid is the only way to go with its thinner diameter when compared to monofilament line of the same breaking strength. Keeping the scope out of the line and staying as vertical as possible will make detecting a bite much easier. Generally 65lb, 80lb, and 100lb braid are used when daytiming, with 65lb and 80lb being by far the most popular. When the current is really ripping and above 3 knots, the 65lb will be better suited to cut through the water and will help keep you in the strike zone for a longer period of time. Power Pros Maxcuatro braid, which is 25 times thinner than traditional Spectra braids of the same breaking strength allows you to fish 65lb braid at the same diameter as 50lb, which not only decreases the resistance on your drops but also increases your line capacity. Sufix 832 and Performance Braid, Momoi Diamond, and Daiwa J Braid all offer high end braids in bulk spools that will provide you with at least 2500 yards on your reel. It is a wise choice to use Western Filament Dacron backing, especially when the bulk spool of braid is not going to be enough to fill the reel entirely.
Since conditions can be dynamic and change totally within the same day, it is worthwhile to have a few extra spare spools loaded up with braid to ensure you are maximizing on your chances to hook a sword on one of your drops. This is extremely easy to accomplish with the quick hub assembly on the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 and S-2400.
Now that your daytime setup is spooled up, you will want to form a double line via a Bimini Twist so that you can attach your wind on leader loop to loop. Your wind on leader should have a waxed loop so you can attach your lead, and range between 100 and 150ft with longer being preferred for heavier current. Premade options are available from Momoi and R&R Tackle, however making them yourself can be worthwhile. Best to crimp either a ball bearing barrel swivel to the end of your wind on, allowing you to swap out leaders with fresh baits after a few drops or a fish. Even though a snap swivel will work, they can open up if the swordfish gets wrapped up and crimping to a barrel swivel on both ends will help eliminate any false openings and lost fish. About 20-30 ft from your swivel is where you will want to attach your light, with the LP Duralites and Electrolumes being the most popular in all of the colors.
The best hook on the business end is up for debate, but solid options from Mustad, Quick Rig, Gamakatsu, and Owner exist. The Owner Jobu and Mustad 7691SS in 9/0, 10/0, and 11/0 are all go tos, with hook size depending on the size of the bait. The best swordfish baits include squid, bonita belly (Panama Bait), dolphin belly, with the strip baits best being covered by a squid skirt in order to keep the bait intact after multiple bites and swats from a hungry broadbill. Best to have waxed rigging floss handy to ensure that all of your baits will be able to take the abuse from getting billed and remain intact as long as possible before coming tight.