Is it hang gliding for baits, kite-sailing for greenies? Nope, it’s kite fishing, and it’s a great way to deploy live baits for tuna, marlin, sailfish and other predator gamefish. Invented in China, long practiced in New Guinea and other Pacific Islands, modern kite fishing originated in New Zealand, allowing off-the-beach surf anglers to deploy lines and hooks out past the breakers.
Bob Lewis adapted kite fishing in the billfish grounds of Southern Florida, and figured out the advantages of using a kite–keeping the wiggly live bait swimming attractively just below the surface with the heavier leader line hanging vertically above the bait and out of the water, less likely to spook crafty predators. Fishing a kite on the boat’s windward side allows a bigger spread of lines to be presented, covering a wider expanse of ocean. Kite fishing from a boat in steady 10 to 15 knot winds, either drifting or trolling, allows experts to fly two kites with as many as three baits dangling below each kite. Kites can also be used from shore anywhere you have the wind at your back, allowing the boatless angler with a little creativity to present baits at vast distances beyond the realm of normal casting. With the right gear, kite fishing is easier than it looks.
Kite Fishing Equipment
A special square kite, with carbon-graphite spars and ripstop nylon fabric, is attached to a 50, 80 or 100lb. Spectra or Dacron line connected to a stubby rod and powerful reel. One or more release clips, like those used on outriggers, are strung at intervals along the kite line, holding your fishing line and releasing it when the fish strikes. A dual or three-way rodholder on the transom (such as the Tigress dual or our Trident models shown above) holds your kite rod and one or two additional rods. Helium baloons are used in light wind to help support the kite.
A high speed conventional reel like the Penn Senator 113H is great for your kite reel, or a levelwind reel like the Penn 345GT, which keeps the line from bunching up since it comes in fast. Power assist electric reels are recommended for even greater convenience, but at a substantially higher price. We stock a range of Daiwa 12V electric reels that connect to a deep cycle battery with alligator clips, plug into a waterproof receptacle, or use a Lithium battery pack.
Kite rods are short and heavy, with one ring guide at the tip, about 3′ in length, and do just one job: holding the kite line. Your other rods hold your baits.
It is often easiest to kite fish with your beam to the direction of drift, and drifting as slowly as possible. The Paratech line of sea anchors, found in our Safety Section, are top quality devices to help do this, attached to a midships cleat.