Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. Although these fish are extremely highly-migratory, they can also live close to shore. The swordfish is named after its sharp beak, which resembles a sword. This, together with its streamlined physique, allows it to cut through the water with great ease and agility. Contrary to popular belief, the “sword” is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its prey. Swordfish rely on their great speed, reaching up to 50 mph., and their agility in the water to catch their prey.
Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. When hooked or harpooned, they have been known to dive so quickly that they have impaled their “swords” into the ocean bottom up to their eyes. Although there are no reports of unprovoked attacks on humans, swordfish can be very dangerous when harpooned and have been known to pierce the planking of small boats with their bills.