How Can Florida Fishing Kite

Earl Hamilton
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 17 min read

Kite fishing is quickly gaining steam in Florida waters as a popular way to reel in such species as tuna, marlin and sailfish. Ultimately, kite fishing is an effective method of delivering bait to predatory fish like tuna, marlin and sailfish, though it can be used inshore as well.

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(Source: portsanibelmarina.com)


The kite keeps the bait carefully suspended just below the surface without extra line hanging in the water to spook skittish fish. Originally invented in China and practiced worldwide, kite fishing has become increasingly popular off the Florida coast.

Experienced kite fishermen may want to customize their rigging depending on the effect they’re going for, but a standard kit should be enough to get a novice going on this exciting sport. Several cold fronts have pushed through in the last few weeks and the temperature has taken a dip a few times in a row.

Jumbo thread fin herring are piling up at the bait grounds and the sailfish bite is just starting to pick up. While maintenance kept us onshore for a few days, I took the time to inventory our kite fishing equipment and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to provide some direction on kite fishing tips, rigging techniques, and our most essential gear for the impending sailfish season.

Essentially, it requires minimal rigging in a world where technical know-how can mean the difference between hooking fish in tough sea conditions or going home empty-handed. It can be fished from a spool or a Penn senator and doesn’t require much effort to use it effectively.

It takes some doing to build a set up like this for yourself, not to mention a full inventory of kite fishing equipment and expensive electric reels (most popularly the Died Cancom Bull or Krystal XL 601). Still, there are many lessons to be learned from this orientation and if you’re up for the challenge, you can build a tournament winning spread for just under $3000.00.

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(Source: www.fishmiamicharters.com)

Aside from an assortment of kites for different wind conditions, you will need to mount two electric reels near your riggers. Once the boat is positioned into the wind, you can stand at the stern of the vessel and extend your arm with the kite, holding it by the cross bracket at the back.

If you weighted the kite properly so it will fly out away from the boat in the direction of the rigger, you’ll be in good shape. From the knots they use, to the swivels, to the size of the weights (even the corks) each little detail plays an important role in how a bait will present when deployed.

Remember, the overall goal here is to present a very frisky bait at the surface without the fish really being able to see the leader while keeping the hook exposed in a way that is most likely to set when a fish grabs hold and makes a dash for the horizon. Use Fluorocarbon Now this may seem like a no-brainer in a tournament environment, but you’d be shocked at how many Captains are so cheap they won’t invest in this stuff.

This gives you the upper hand in eliminating the leader material from the list of variables that might spook a shy sailfish. Take the time to learn how to bridle a bait effectively and you’ll be glad you did when your hookup ratio begins increasing.

While it might be an arbitrary debate in some instances, using the right amount of weight to “balance” the line with the wind has everything to do with how effectively you present your baits at the surface. Use high quality barrel weights that are not jagged on the edges (that way you won’t chafe the line, weakening it) and place a TRI bead between the bottom of the weight and the knot to the swivel.

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I prefer to use minimal weights for my kite lines unless the wind is really blowing hard…but it's a balancing game. It can be a pain re-rigging different weights in varying sea conditions, but eventually you will find a balance that works right for you.

Tournament teams swap out weights on the kite lines depending on the wind of the day…so don’t be afraid to rejig each time you head out. Most pro teams use the smaller egg shaped corks because they don’t put up much resistance in the wind or water during the retrieve.

When a ceramic ring breaks, you have to rejig the kite line before you can use it again…which can cost you time when the bite is on. Salt water + constant pressure will eventually wear away on the strength of the spacer swivels to the point where they will break.

In order to prevent this from happening, most tournament crews remove the swivels from the occasion and use wax thread wound over the line to pass through the release clips. Essentially, you’re wrapping wax thread to different thicknesses around the line where you would normally place your spacer swivels.

Plan for the worst and make sure that you have enough spare parts to finagle a rig together if something goes wrong. In a pinch, a trade and true Penn senator rigged with two release clips can salvage an entire day of kite fishing when things go wrong.

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Put an additional coating of superglue over the tape to make sure it holds tight. The other option here is to use a very thin strip of tape to join the two pieces back together temporarily.

These strips have to be very thin (think sandwich) otherwise they will flap in the wind and will throw off the kite ’s ability to fly straight. This worked for the interim but made the bridle flap and buzz a bit.

Try to keep the patch as small and evenly placed as possible to reduce the amount of surface area it covers. When you do dunk a kite, its imperative that you wash it off thoroughly with freshwater and allow it to dry completely before putting it back in the air.

The salt immersion is usually what leads to the deterioration of the fabric, ruining the aerodynamics of the kite in the first place. The first thing to do if your kite is spiraling out of control is attempt to counterbalance it with split shot.

In most instances, the kite is spiraling because it is stretched or the wind does not flow evenly over the fabric for one reason or another. Try affixing small split shot as close to the corner as possible on either side of the spar, and then add additional split shot as needed on the side of the kite (at the corner) where you want it to pull.

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(Source: www.fishipedia.com)

Using the right amount of split shot can correct an uncontrolled spin…too much will cause the problem to switch sides. The leader you use is actually the most critical ingredient in the entire process of kite fishing for sailfish off Miami.

It gives you the ability to present a frisky bait in a natural state without any reflection from the leader. Sailfish and Tuna have big eyes, which means they can see just about anything in the water within range of their mouth.

Sailfish and Tuna fishing experts all agree that fluorocarbon, as light as possible, will increase your catch ratio. Once you step into the toothy category (Yahoo or king fish for example) fishing monofilament on your kite leaders is risky business.

Using a small circle hook on a medium or large sized goggle eye provides a lot of opportunity for the bait to get stolen or cut off. Bridling Live Baits This is a technique which takes some practice but makes for an improved presentation in the water.

Get the bait back into the water swiftly in order to maximize its chance of remaining frisky on the leader. Pro kite fishermen can bridle a bait in under five seconds and have it deployed in the water.

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(Source: floridabirdingtrail.com)

You can adjust the bridle to make the kite fly higher and handle the wind more effectively, but we’ve seen them buckle in 20knots…and that’s not a good time. It’s a fine line once you hit the 20knot wind speed…as it’s hardly enough to keep the hurricane force kite ’s in the air, but a little too much for the SFE Green or Red.

Reports of quad sailfish bites in rough seas are consistent in the wintertime and if you fish professionally you have to go when the customer wants to go. The SFE Extra Heavy 52 hole kite is difficult to get in the air when the winds are less than a steady 20knots, but will fly in literally any condition beyond 20 knots.

This kite is designed to withstand wind gusts of 40mph, which is basically fishing in a tropical storm. There are dozens of manufacturers delivering quality products on the market today, but if you go the cheap route you will pay the price in performance.

The Aft co material is basically plastic, stiff, and cheaply made (which is why it's the least expensive fishing kite you can buy). The Tigress kite, while made out of fabric, wanders back and forth no matter how you counterbalance it with split shot.

Again, if you’re planning on kite fishing on a regular basis, it’s important to invest in quality fishing kites that can stand up to harsh conditions and the inevitable user error. It all really boils down to investing in Bob Lewis kites for light wind applications and Sees for general use in 15knots for more.

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Bob Lewis Kites are available just about everywhere fishing kite ’s are sold (they basically perfected the technique in the first place). Buying online is a great option, but bear in mind these kites are fragile and shipping is something to consider.

Occasionally you can find used fishing kites for sale on Craigslist or the Florida Sportsman Forums, but make sure you know what you’re buying. Some kites are doomed to never fly again once saltwater corrodes the fabric, which is why they must be rinsed thoroughly if they take a swim.

The bottom line is, invest in quality fishing kites and you will reap the rewards! The Died Cancom Bull is the most commonly utilized electric reel for kite fishing by the Miami charter fishing fleet.

Even when you don’t have power, you can still manually retrieve the kite line and that can save a day of fishing. Krystal Electric Reels where the mainstay in the kite fishing industry before the Died’s hit the market.

The drags are not built to take inordinate pressure over time and the motors burn out easily if you put stress on them. Aside from electric reels, it's always a good idea to keep a tried and true Penn senator on board rigged with two release clips.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

In my opinion, these rods provide enough rigidity to put leverage on sailfish without feeling like you’re dragging the fish to the boat. They are responsive high quality blanks fitted with Aft co and Fuji guides that handle just about anything we can throw at them.

It makes a tremendous difference and will not snag a swivel or space in the kite line. We’ve fished a variety of reels over time and don’t limit yourself to these choices when you head out shopping.

Bear in mind you will need to purchase at least four of these reels to have a complete kite fishing spread (most charter boats fish 6 if you’re north of the Keys) so package deals and combos are a great way to go. They are smooth enough to balance the lines and have a drag that will put the breaks on any runaway sailfish.

The adjustable clicker knob is an amazing feature that enables the angler to control the resistance on the spool when maintaining the kite baits. This is a slick feature as some baits are so frisky that they’ll pull line constantly if left in free spool.

To top it off, they are compact, lightweight, and come stock with a giant handle which is very comfortable in the hand. If you’re ready to go luxury, or professional, investing in a set of tiara 16’s for your kite fishing setup will ensure years of reliable sailfish whooping.

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(Source: hubpages.com)

I learned to kite fish on these reels and have used them for everything from Sailfish to Blue fin tuna. These reels are usually sold in combination with a rod, which makes outfitting a boat easy.

Parts are readily available and the lever drag is sturdy enough that you’ll rarely encounter trouble. The retrieve ratio on the Saliva’s makes them a potent kite fishing reel for sailfish and other pelagic predators.

These reels are built with legendary durability and a tough as it gets drag system to boot. Their retro look makes them appealing to anglers who crave a composite of style and functionality.

With a slightly smaller line capacity than the Saliva or Avert, the Fin Nor can land you in some trouble if you’re chasing tunas or pacific sailfish, but for general use in Miami waters these are some of the finest kite reels you can buy. While it’s a bit tough to find them in tackle shops, they are readily available from online retailers and often matched with custom rods.

The drag mechanism is strong but the retrieve ratio is considerably less than reels like the Saliva or Marques. This is an excellent entry level reel that provides you with an anodized frame, but the drags just aren’t very sensitive from what I’m told.

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(Source: www.10best.com)

As you’ve undoubtedly gathered from reading this article, kite fishing is an equipment intensive sport requiring significant technical skill and tremendous attention to detail. The nuances of kitefishingcan only be learned with experience, but the gear you purchase and the rigs you employ have everything to do with your success at sea.

In case you didn’t get your fix from this article, here’s a list of the kite fishing resources I’ve found online that truly stand above the rest. Never be afraid to test new ideas or customize your rigs to specs you feel are necessary to get a bite.

Charlie Ellis of Miami, FL has 25 years experience fishing for big game species like Blue fin Tuna, Sailfish, Swordfish, and Sharks. Charlie is also an avid scuba diver, world traveler, writer, and entrepreneur.

I also remember my dad saying, “Watch that power lines' son,” as I scampered out the door. There were the store bought brands you put together or grandpa would talk of how there was a day when you had to make one to go fly a kite.

I still enjoy kite flying; only today, it is from a beach, pier or stern of a boat! The kites I use today are of a high tech variety and I use them but for one purpose, to catch fish.

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(Source: www.kiwicollection.com)

Some of these kites are used from the shorelines to overcome obstacles like rocks or sandbars in a delusively method to bait presentation and others are for inshore/offshore use on fishing vessels. If you are kiting from a fishing vessel, it just takes a little practice to keep the boat motion either with the engine at an idle speed or with a drift so that the kite remains in the same relative vertical space over your honey hole consistently.

A short stubby stoker attached to an EverolUSA 6/12 WP with PowerPC 16/65, and fishing line attached at the kite similar to an outrigger, only instead of keeping the line out, it keeps it up, is used in presenting your baits to the waiting trophies below. If propelling at a slow troll or idle drift your bait will be suspended just below the surface.

The same is true when presenting live baits from your anchored boat over a reef, when kite fishing. As your kite gains lift or height it draws out your baits in a vertical motion, skipping your bait fish across the waters surface until it reaches its destination, where it too hangs just below the surface in an attempt to dive out of sight of predators.

Usually, in the case of kite fishing from a vessel on anchorage, the bait fish will come under attack as it “skips” across the waters surface. The Bottom Longline is the perfect choice for any of the clear sandy east coast beach.

Due to phenomenal catches, the chances of losing your kite to a shark are increased but it can be worth the risk if you are targeting smaller fish. When I lived in Texas, I used to use this type of fishing when targeting freshwater catfish on our local lakes and rivers.

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Traditional trot lines were forbidden in some areas due to possible obstructions to boaters and swimmers but as a kite fishing method, it was legal and safe for all. For more information on Catfishing or to purchase a Kahlua Kite, please contact us at Inshore Florida, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If it does not fly to your liking just send it back within 30 days with your proof of purchase and it will be replaced. The Bottom Longline is the perfect choice for any of the clear sandy east coast beach.

Due to phenomenal catches, the chances of losing your kite to a shark are increased but it can be worth the risk if you are targeting smaller fish. When I lived in Texas, I used to use this type of fishing when targeting freshwater catfish on our local lakes and rivers.

Traditional trot lines were forbidden in some areas due to possible obstructions to boaters and swimmers but as a kite fishing method, it was legal and safe for all. Now I don’t know about you, but kite fishing isn’t something that you just go out and try to learn on the fly (pun intended) without any help or directions.

There are quite a few variables and special gear to kite fishing, so I always recommend watching videos like the ones below before you try to figure it out via trial & error… That’s why we scoured the web to find these top kite fishing tutorials from saltwater fishing experts.

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts! Jeff Maggie’s most recent kite fishing rig for South Florida offshore fishing including what hooks to use, swivels, and all the fishing knots that Jeff uses.

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts! Jeff Maggie (aka Underdog) goes over the basic kite fishing rigs and tackle for running that dog in South Florida right before a big trip out for sailfish.

Related Peter Miller Video: “3 Simple Ways To Bridle Rig Your Live Bait To Catch More Fish” (watch it here) This is a great kite fishing video showing how The Jupiter Sailfish (aka Loop) sets up and catches fish with the help of kites.

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1 www.ign.com - https://www.ign.com/wikis/red-dead-redemption-2/How_to_Fish_and_How_to_Unlock_Fishing
2 www.gamespot.com - https://www.gamespot.com/articles/red-dead-redemption-2-fishing-guide-how-to-fish-ti/1100-6462779/
3 www.ign.com - https://www.ign.com/wikis/red-dead-redemption-2/How_to_Catch_Legendary_Fish_and_Legendary_Fish_Locations
4 gamewith.net - https://gamewith.net/red-dead-redemption2/article/show/1164