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Kite Fishing

kite_fishingKite fishing is the technique of flying a set of kites behind a boat with the bait and hook hanging downwards into the water. It takes a group of people working together to handle the boat and the kites, and kite fishing is in many ways a team sport. This fishing method is particularly suitable for catching game fish, such as tuna, sharks, giant bluefin, kingfish and sailfish. Sailfish are probably the species most associated with kite fishing as they hunt near the surface, where the bait from the kites is suspended.

Kite fishing is similar to outrigging in many ways, the principle difference being that instead of suspending your line from a long pole you are instead suspending it from a kite. Each kite is fastened to the boat by its own line, and your fishing line is then attached to the kite with a release clip. In many cases multiple fishing lines will be attached at intervals along the kite line. Once a fish is hooked, the fishing line is immediately released from the kite and you can begin to reel your catch in.

When kite fishing, you will need a selection of kites to choose from. Depending on wind strength you will need to use kites of different weights. Each kite will be attached to your boat with a kite rod, which is equipped with a kite reel. The reel is there so that you can adjust the tension on the kite line and thereby raise or lower the bait so that it sits on the surface of the water. In general electric reels are recommended, as these can automatically reel in your kite, leaving you free to take care of an active bait line. Although your boat will be at anchor while you are kite fishing, it can be very difficult to reel a kite in by hand if there is a strong wind. Therefore an electric reel is also useful for this reason.

The kite rods themselves are relatively short, no more than four feet long, but must be very strong to absorb all the tension from the various lines. When choosing a line, you should aim for materials that are strong but light. The lighter the line is, the easier it will be to get the kite to fly in light winds. Some kite fishermen prefer braided line, as it is both lightweight and strong, but others maintain that braided line is prone to tangle on the reel. The typical alternative option is monofilament line. Regardless of what type of line you use, you should always choose your line strength based on the wind and kite weight at any given time. If you choose to fly multiple kites, always make sure to adjust your rig so that they kite lines cannot tangle with each other. An added bonus to separating your kites is that you can deploy your hooks over a wider range.

When you fly your kite release the line until you reach the first clip and then attach your bait line. Then release it further and attach the second. You will usually have no more than 3 lines attached to each kite line. In order to kite fish successfully, you will need to have your bait close to the surface of the water, but submerged just enough that it can breathe. Therefore you will have to adjust your bait lines and occasionally your kite lines so as to keep the bait in the water. As the wind strength will vary over a given period of time you will need to monitor your bait lines closely to prevent them from being pulled from the water if the kite lifts, or submerged too deeply if the wind drops and the kite’s altitude decreases.

Live bait is used almost exclusively in kite fishing. Bait fish are hooked through the back, and then set just below the surface of the water to attract prey fish. Some kite fishermen purposefully angle the baitfish so that they are in a position where they have to struggle to keep their heads in the water enough to breathe. This struggling helps to attract game fish.

Kite fishing is a successful fishing method that requires some practice and experience before it can be used effectively. It is also requires the teamwork of a boat captain and other crew members, especially if they are kite fishing with more than one kite, with each kite supporting a number of hooks.