For many, catching a broadbill swordfish is the epitome of big-game angling achievement and from a culinary perspective ‘broadie’ steaks are hard to beat – the pick of the billfish.
Broadbill flesh is finer and lighter and is popular as a restaurant meal the world over, which is perhaps why on some parts of the globe it has almost been fished out of existence.
The size of billfish means anglers need to go to special effort to keep their catch in good condition for the table or the ‘smokie’. This is especially so on smaller trailer boats that successfully mix it up with the bigger craft these days but don’t have the same capacity for caring for large catches. Insulated body bags, at the very least, should be carried, into which either bagged ice or frozen water bottles can be placed until the fish is brought to the weigh station or taken to the smokehouse.
If you are just catching a fish for the table it can be broken down into large chunks on board and put in the trailer boat’s cooler or a
launch’s icebox for dealing with later. Filleting a striped marlin is no different to dealing with a snapper. The process is the same, just the size is different – you will definitely need a few more plastic bags! While smoking is popular and most ports have at least one professional who will do the job, another way is to can the fish, which has often been lightly smoked before the preserving process commences.
All marlin caught commercially within New Zealand’s 200-mile economic zone must be released dead or alive, thus it is not available to the public via fishmongers. Unfortunately broadbill is not afforded the same protection so it can be purchased from the fish mart. Broadbill is a species under threat from over-fishing in New Zealand, so think carefully before purchasing any from a fish mart or restaurant.