FISHING TIP OF THE WEEK: Gear up for Sailfish Season
(Part 3 of 3)
In Part Two of this discussion, we briefly touched on kite fishing as one of many methods for targeting South Florida wintertime sailfish. Here, we’ll go into a little more detail about how kite fishing works and why it’s so effective.
Kites are used to keep your line and leader out of the water, suspended in the air between the tip of your rod and a clip, or “pin” rigged into the line attached to the kite. The line goes from the rod tip to the pin, and then straight down to the bait, suspended below. This enables the angler to keep a live bait right at the surface with little or no leader material in the water, where a wary sailfish might see it. You can thus present a bait that looks extremely natural, enhancing the chances that a passing sail may take the bait.
Kites are easy to rig. Pre-made pin kits are available in lots of tackle stores in Florida, and most captains fish at least two and up to four pins per kite, so you can run a corresponding number of fishing lines from each kite. Note that kite fishing requires substantial coordination among your crew to keep everything from getting tangled, and near constant adjustment of the line from the rod to the baits is mandatory to keep the bait near the surface.
As the wind varies in velocity, the kite inevitable rises and falls behind the boat, and only constant vigilance keeps the baits from either sinking too low, where the leader enters the water and defeats the purpose of the kite, or the kite rises, pulling the bait completely out of the water where it dangles helplessly in the air! Neither scenario will work for you.
When a sailfish (or other species) grabs a bait, the line pulls from the clip, creating a natural drop-back as the line falls toward the water’s surface and comes tight. Opinions differ as to whether you should drop back through the pin to the fish, or whether to pop the fishing line out right away and use the falling of the line as your drop-back. These questions must be answered individually, but no matter how you choose to use them, kites will undoubtedly help you catch more fish.