Kite Fishing

Kite Fishing has been around for years now, yet not all fisherman are taking advantage to this exciting and new to some method of fishing.

The best way to picture how kite fishing works is to visualize how an outrigger works. You have a Separate Line with a Release Clip at the end, which takes you line away from the boat . When you get a bite from a fish the force gets transfered to the clip and your line is released.

The main items you will need to start kite fishing are:

1.) A Fishing Kite

2.) Kite Rod and Reel

3.) Release Clips

4.) Line to fly your kite

 

 

Many different styles of fishing have originated in the hopes of catching sailfish, sharks, and other top water game fish. Perhaps the most effective of these types of fishing is kite fishing. Kite Fishing is a technique of fishing that involves flying kites, and using the kites to suspend live baits on the top of the water. This type of fishing is highly effective for sport fishing off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, where the Gulf Stream current and the natural reef running along the coastline, coincide. Sportfishing charter boats have been using this technique for 20 years to hook into the wide array of big game species that swim through our waters. This article is written in order to teach basic tactics on how to go about kite fishing. ?

For kite fishing, live bait is preferred. Start off by catching or buying live baits. Only certain types of baitfish will work effectively in the kite. These baitfish include Pogies, Mackerels, Bluefish and Herring. There are some other types of baitfish that can be used in the kite, but these types survive the best and produce the best results.

Start out by selecting your spot to fish. When kite fishing, you are mostly immobile. You will drift whichever way the current is moving, but as far as covering ground with your engines, you can only make small corrections. So first thing is to select a good area or depth of water to fish. Off the shore of Fort Lauderdale, one of the best areas is the 90’-120’ natural reef that runs along its coast. Other good areas are where there is a rip current, a temperature gradient, a color change or over the top of an artificial reef, such as a shipwreck. These are all good areas to begin fishing, and bear in mind that winds and currents will push you around a bit, so plan ahead.

Launch your kite from the highest point you can on your boat. If you are going to fly 2 kites simultaneously, you will want to put a small lead on the lower corners of each kite, depending on which direction you want each kite to spread to. The weight for this should be about 1/8 ounce for light kites and about ½ ounce for heavy kites. If weighted properly, the kites should spread apart from each other enough so that when the baits are out, the baits cannot get tangled together.

Your kites are flying now, and are about 50’-75’ off the back of your boat. Along your kite line, you should have a small barrel swivel tied every 40’ or so feet along your kite line. Use a snap swivel and attach your first kite clip to the kite line. You can buy these kite clips all made up for you at a bait and tackle store. Set the pressure of the clip release by tightening or loosening the setscrew on the clip. You want the clip to release with slightly more pressure than the baitfish will likely be able to put on it himself.

While the captain is launching the kites, the mate should be setting up the rods and baiting up. I like to sew my baits on with a wax line bridle. This gives you the most possible hook exposure and increases your hookup chances. Use a needle and sew the bait through the back of its neck, just behind the head of the fish. Don’t go too deep. About 1/4 of the baitfish’s body is as far as you want to stick that needle. Catch the loop of the wax line bridal on both sides with the hook and twist it up. Then stick the hook back underneath the entire bridal, making the hook tight to the body of the baitfish. Basically, the fish will be angled with his head up when he is dangling, forcing the baitfish to struggle to keep his head below water so he can breath. This will cause a lot of vibrations which is the desired effect when kite fishing.

OK, the baitfish is all baited and ready to launch. Hand the leader up to the captain to put through the pressure release clip. The captain snaps the line in, and begins to let the kite out away from the boat. The mate has to coordinate with the captain and let line out from the fishing rod at the same time. Once the bait is the desired distance from the boat, the mate must make constant adjustments to keep the bait right on the top of the water, struggling. The bait should be under the water, but the hook, leader and fishing line should all be out of the water. A lot of captains put a colored ribbon on the snap swivel of the fishing line, which is about 8’ out of the water, just above the bait. This helps visibility if there is a glare and the bait can’t be found at a quick glance.

When the big game fish comes up to feed, he will have to stick part of his body out of the water to get the bait. Indicators that you are about to get a bite are:
• The bait fish is going nuts and splashing more vigorously than normal
• You see splashes and “boils” on the top of the water around the bait
• You see a sailfish or shark fin out of the water next to the bait
• An unidentified dark spot under the water in the vicinity of the bait
• The pressure release clip just snapped and you don’t see anything

You will be alerted some way or another that you are about to, or just got a bite. The best thing to do when you get a bite is to free spool the fishing pole and let the big fish eat the bait and swallow it down. Wait till the big fish is taking line off quickly before you lock up and begin to wind to set the hook. This means that either the game fish is trying to swallow and wash the bait down his throat, or he has felt you and knows that something is wrong. In either case, lock up the rod into strike, tell the captain to “go ahead” with the boat, and start winding as fast as you can to get the slack out of the line. When you come tight, the line will pop out of the pressure release clip and there will be even more slack to take up. Keep winding until you come tight on the fish. When you come tight, set the hook with a couple gentle but firm tugs with the rod. This will hopefully set the hook into the fishes jaw.

Kite fishing is a very exciting way to hook into big game fish. You get to see the whole bite sequence and the hook up ratio is usually very high. It takes quite a bit of practice to become proficient with kite fishing technique. Keep trying though, it will pay off!

Canyon Fishing

The fishing in the northeast canyons is exceptional. Every highy migratory big game fish that swims in the Atlantic is there. Marlin , both blues and whites, are abundant with some of the Blues approaching grander proportions. Swordfish prowl the depths and arise at night to feed. Yellowfin, BigEye, Bluefin, and Albacore tunas abound with multiple hookups common. Mahis and Wahoos complete the mix. Mako and Tiger Sharks feed on everything and anything that is too week to survive in the dog eat dog world of the deep.

The canyons are noted on any published chart. They apear as cracks along the wall of the continental shelf, and are charaterized by drastic changes in depth over a short distance. Add the Gulfstream, which creates warm water eddies that flow over the canyons and trap fish, and you have the right mix for phenominal fishing.

Typical canyon fishing is done using using 50, 80 and 130lb tackle. Like other kinds of fishing, plenty of fish are caught on 50 lb tackle standing up. However, you may loose the fish of lifetime, say a 700lb + Blue Marlin, or a 500lb swordfish whe fish on light gear. Rods are typically bent butt trolling rods. Always keep around some large spinning rod in case mahi-mahi crash the party.

Most of a typical day on the canyons is spent trolling. Trolling a spread of daisy chains, high speed spreader bars, lures, and natural baits is effective. A typical spread consists of 5 to 8 lines. Outriggers must be used to spread the baits out. Your outriggers should be rigged with roller troller clips so that you can drop the line back to the fish or crank it up to create additional commotion when a fish strikes and misses the lure. Lures, high speed spreader bars, and daisy chains are trolled between 6 and 10 knots. Always try to troll the trough, instead of directly upsea and downsea, which makes the baits appear more natural.

In the morning and at dusk is when you will get bites from big eye tuna and it is often good to switch to more spreader bars and daisy chains as opposed to single lures when targeting these fish. During the day, Yellowfins love a nice daisy chain with a bird teaser and a green machine at the end struggling behind. If you want to increase your chances with a Blue Marlin, put out a couple of large teasers. Also use some single lures such as a nice Black Bart.

At night , it turns into a chunking game on the canyons, with top captains usually tighing up to a lobster pot instead of drifting aimlessly in the current. Once tied up, start chunking using squid , mackerel, and butterfish. You can fish the same way we describe in our swordfish articles. You have to fish hard because many times you will catch sharks and you have to go thru them sometimes before other fish show up.

Filling Your Fishing Reel with Spectra

Selecting the Correct Fishing Line

To maximize the Strength and Line Capacity your Reel can hold you should fill it with a Braided Spectra Line, although a Monofilament or Fluorocarbon leader is still needed at the terminal end for stretch and abrasion resistance. The length of leader is all personal preference, just make sure it is going to be longer than any fish you are planning to catch. Some people make their topshots as long as 300yds.

At Fisherman’s Outfitter we carry three brands of Braided Spectra Fishing Line; Diamond Products Spectra, Jerry-Brown Line One Spectra and Power-Pro Spectra. You may or may not be familiar with Spectra Fishing but it has been around for about 15 years now and has gone through some major transformations. There are two major categories for todays Superbraids; Hollow-Core and Solid-Core Spectra. The first decision you need to make is Pound Test you are going to use. The second the whether or not you want a Hollow-Core Spectra or Regular Solid-Core. The final decision is brand (this is the least important).

The is the reason for purhcasing a High-Capacity Reel with a Smooth Drag System is to let the Rod and Reel do their job. The more line the fish takes the more the drag increases because of angle it comes off the spool and the amount of line it is towing through the water. It is not a good idea to try and stop a fish during a run, if you put too much pressure the fish you will either pull a hook or break your line.

The Pound Test is determined by a few factors. Most important is the rating on the Fishing Rod and Reel and what type of lures you will be using. If using lighter lures you should stick with 65lb Test or Smaller, while heavier lures can easily be casted long distances with the heavier 80lb line (which only has the diameter of 20lb mono).

Solid-Core Spectra is less expensive and is the most commonly used line for targeting Bluefin with Spinning Tackle. With practice it is fairly easy to tie knots and will take years of constant abuse with little upkeep, just make sure to make necessary cut-backs if your line is starting to show frays. The drawbacks to Solid-Core Spectra is that a knot is needed to connect a leader. There is no knot that has a 100% connection, but some like the Albright is the easiest most secure (around 90% if tied correct).

Hollow-Core Spectra is fairly new to the market and is the ideal choice to fill your Spinning Reel. Although initally more expensive than Solid-Core, Hollow-Core will save you money in the long run. As the name implies the Spectra has a hollow center, which has the gripping properties of to “splice.” You can either splice loop ends to utlize Wind-On Leaders or a Chinese-Finger style splice for Top-shots. Both connections will pass through guides with minimal resistance. Top-shots give the angler a 100% strength knotless connection. Hollow-Core also allows for the virtually invisible and 100% connection of a Spectra to Spectra Splice of additional lengths of hollow Spectra, providing the ability to replace a damaged sections of line.

Choosing the Correct Spinning Rod and Reel Combo For Bluefin Tuna

Targeting small to medium Bluefin Tuna with Spinning Tackle requires some serious gear. You will want to choose a large capacity Spinning Reel with with a sturdy aluminum frame and beefy drag system. The Rod should have a stiff butt-section and fairly light tip. The softer tip will allow anglers to cast the smaller jigs and lures to feeding fish and the stiff butt-section will help lift stubborn fish from the depths. Most anglers opt to spool their Reels with a type of Spectra Fishing Line in the 50-80lb range because of the low diameter to strength ratio as well as it’s low memory features. MAKE SURE YOU USE A TYPE OF BACKING OR TAPE ON THE SPOOL BEFORE FILLING WITH SPECTRA!

Recommended Spinning Reels

Here at Fisherman’s Outfitter we proudly carry three Manufacturers’ Spinning Reels; Penn, Shimano and Accurate. There are other Reels on the market that can handle the Tunas but they are generally harder to service and nearly impossible to get parts for. At Fisherman’s Outfitter we service and stand by all the Reels we sell. Bluefin Tuna make extremely hard and fast runs which in time will wear the drag system down, this is why it is very important to choose a Reel that has good parts availability.

Like everything else in the world you get what you pay for. One should expect to pay at the very least $160.00 on a decent Spinning Reel.

The new revamped Penn 950SSm is the least expensive model, which features a machined aluminum spool with a powerful drag system and large line capacity. It recieved a few upgrades from it’s predecessor, an infinite anti-reverse system and an improved handle with large diameter knob for comfort and increased torque. The Gear Ratio is a medium speed which is great for using large poppers and casting jigs. This Reel should be spooled with Spectra in the 50lb to 80lb range.

Shimano also has a few models with a short price tag, the larger Spheros 14000FB and 18000FB. The Spheros FBs have also recieved some upgrades in recent years. Some of the great new features include Paladin Gear-Enhancement, Cold-Forged Spools with improved drag-sytems and higher line capacity. The most impressive feature is the way they shaped the spool lip. Compared to other similar models these new Reels cast further with much less effort. These Reels have slightly faster Gear Ratios which is great for using large poppers and casting jigs as well as Hi-Speed Jigging. These Reels should be spooled with Spectra in the 50lb to 80lb range.

If your want a Reel with some extra features Shimano also makes Reels in the medium price range, the Thunnus and the Saragosa. The Saragosa is a Higher-End version of the Spheros with more Ball-Bearings and large diameter Power-Knob Handle for comfort and increased torque. The Thunnus is also a great choice with some added features. Some that you will gain with this Reel is the added Ball-Bearings and and Shimano’s famed “Baitrunner” feature. The Baitrunner is a secondary drag-system that pays out line to wary, light-biting fish with the bail closed preventing it from coiling off the spool and keeps the angler in close contact for positive hooksetting. Turn the handle, and the primary drag you have preset automatically engages. These Reels will hold plenty of 50lb-80lb Spectra.

If you are the most demanding fisherman who wants to have the absolute best chance for catching Bluefins on Spinning Tackle you have two choices, the Shimano Stella and the Accurate TwinSpin. If you had to compare these two Reels to cars the Shimano Stella would be a Lamborghini and the Accurate TwinSpin would be a Mack Truck. If you are looking for the Smoothest Retrieve with an insane Braking Power (up to 55lbs!) we recommend the Shimano Stella in either the 18000SW or 20000SW model. They hold about the same amount of line the main difference between the two is the Gear Ratio. The Stella 18000SW has a fast 5.7:1 Gear Ratio for High-Speed Butterfly Style Jigging and casting large lures. The Stella 20000SW has slower 4.4:1 for increased torque which is great for larger lures or casting baits. If your looking to tackle the meanest medium sized Bluefins the Accurate TwinSpin is the Reel for you. Machined from a Solid Block of T6-6061 Aluminum featuring Accurate’s Signature Twin-Disk Carbon Fiber and Titanium Drag-System. It comes in a few different sizes, we recommend the 30 or 30L. Like the Stellas the TwinSpin 30 is a 6.0:l High Speed Reel and the TwinSpin 30L is a Low Speed brute buster.

Recommended Spinning Rods

At Fisherman’s Outfitter we also carry a select Spinning Rods to pair up with your Reel to target the elusive Bluefin Tuna. We have rods available from Shimano, Tsunami and our famed line of Custom Rods. The main features you want to look for in a Fishing Rod are the Blank, Guides, Wraps and Reels Seat.

The Tsunami Fishing Rods are the best bang for your buck. They feature high modulus graphite mesh and composite construction Blanks that gives the Rod extreme sensitivity, resiliance and power. The guides frames are Stainless-Steel with Titanium Carbide inserts for durability and line protection. The Tsunami Spinning Rods also feature Fuji Stainless-Steel reinforced graphite Reel Seats. The downside to these production Rods are the attention to detail spent on the guide wraps, they are more likely to deteriorate over time than a Custom Rod.

Other middle of the road Spinning Rods are the Shimano Trevala Butterfly Jigging Rods. Shimano Trevala Jigging Rods feature Shimano’s TC4 Blank Construction, which is a double wrapped inner horizontal layer of advanced, dynamic fibers with an inner and outer spiral of high modulus graphite. This breakthrough in design construction results in an extremely strong, yet lightweight Fishing Rod. Other key features of Shimano Trevala rods include Fuji Stainless-Steel reinforced graphite Reel Seats and Fuji  Alconite or Silicon Carbide guides (depending on Model). We suggest only using the XXH models for targeting Tuna.

Fisherman’s Outfitter offers a complete line of Custom Fishing Rods. All of our Custom Rods are Hand-Built with extreme care. We use the Finest quality Blanks, Epoxies, Threads and Components and all Feature a Limited Lifetime Warranty on the Blank. We offer middle of the road Rods like our LBC70H 7′ 20-50lb Spinning Rods. These feature high quality E-Glass Blanks, Stainless-Steel reinforced graphite Reel Seats, EVA Foam Grips and large diameter Fuji Hardloy Guides for improved casting performance.

 For the Ultimate in Performance  and Durability is the Fisherman’s Outfitter Custom Elite Spinning rod. It is built with Calstar’s 7′ Graphiter Blank which is originally designed as a Long-Range Stand-up Tuna Blank. We have converted this beast to accomodate the most powerful Spinning Reels on the market which until now couldn’t be fully utilized. The Blank is the Strongest on the market and lightest in weight. The Butt is constructed of High-Modulus stiff Graphite which is blended to an E-Glass Tip for sensitivity and softness. It features double underwrapped, double overwrapped Fuji Silicon Carbide guides (the strongest on the market!) with the finest epoxies and threads. The Fisherman’s Outfitter Custom Elite Spinning Rod also features a machined aluminum reel seat with a Custom 14″ “Shark-Tooth Fore-Grip. The hard plastic slick-butt reduces weight and allows the Rod to be lifted out of a rod holder with minumal effort as well as an aluminum gimbal for a fighting belt.

Selecting the Correct Fishing Line

To maximize the Strength and Line Capacity your Reel can hold you should fill it with a Braided Spectra Line. Although a Monofilament or Fluorocarbon leader is still needed at the terminal end for stretch and abrasion resistance. The length of leader is all personal preferance, just make sure it is going to be longer than any fish you are planning to catch. 

At Fisherman’s Outfitter we carry three brands of Braided Spectra Fishing Line; Diamond Products Spectra, Jerry-Brown Line One Spectra and Power-Pro Spectra. You may or may not be familiar with Spectra Fishing but it has been around for about 15 years now and has gone through some major transformations. There are two major categories for todays Superbraids; Hollow-Core and Solid-Core Spectra. The first decision you need to make is Pound Test you are going to use. The second the whether or not you want a Hollow-Core Spectra or Regular Solid-Core. The final decision is brand (this is the least important).

Like mentioned before Spectra in the 50lb-80lb class is all you need, although you may be catching fish much larger. This is the reason for purhcasing a High-Capacity Reel with a Smooth Drag System. Let the Rod and Reel do their job. The more line the fish takes the more the drag increases because of angle it comes off the spool and the amount of line it is towing through the water. You will not stop a Bluefin Tuna during a run, if you put too much pressure the fish you will either pull a hook or break your line.

The Pound Test is determined by a few factors. Most important is the rating on the Fishing Rod and Reel and what type of lures you will be using. If using lighter lures you should stick with 65lb Test or Smaller, while heavier lures can easily be casted long distances with the heavier 80lb line (which only has the diameter of 20lb mono).

Solid-Core Spectra is less expensive and is the most commonly used line for targeting Bluefin with Spinning Tackle. With practice it is fairly easy to tie knots and will take years of constant abuse with little upkeep, just make sure to make necessary cut-backs if your line is starting to show frays. The drawbacks to Solid-Core Spectra is that a knot is needed to connect a leader. There is no knot that has a 100% connection, but some like the Albright is the easiest most secure (around 90% if tied correct).

Hollow-Core Spectra is fairly new to the market and is the ideal choice to fill your Spinning Reel. Although initally more expensive than Solid-Core, Hollow-Core will save you money in the long run. As the name implies the Spectra has a hollow center, which has the gripping properties of to “splice.” You can either splice loop ends to utlize Wind-On Leaders or a Chinese-Finger style splice for Top-shots. Both connections will pass through guides with minimal resistance. Top-shots give the angler a 100% strength knotless connection. Hollow-Core also allows for the virtually invisible and 100% connection of a Spectra to Spectra Splice of additional lengths of hollow Spectra, providing the ability to replace a damaged sections of line.

By: Joe Curcuru, Fisherman’s Outfitter