by on April 1, 2017
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Sailfish kite fishing in the waters around Ft Lauderdale can be a very rewarding experience. Kite fishing is a very effective and exciting way to present a live bait, myself and fellow fisherman that use this method have reported catching about 90% of their sailfish this way. Other species will be caught in the process as well. Tuna, kingfish, wahoo and mahi-mahi as well as other local species.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with the local knowledge that you need to experience the very best kite fishing results in south Florida. We will discuss the equipment that you need, the best baits to use as well as a few kite fishing tips learned from years of experience.
Why kites work...
The live bait is kept just under the surface, thrashing around creating vibrations that travel through the water alerting gamefish. With the baits dangling from the kite, the leaders and terminal tackle are above the surface keeping everything out of sight. You should use two kites for the best results, keep it simple and keep one port side and one to starboard. Set up your drift first to allow for the initial boat swings ect. Be sure to continuously monitor the kites the first few minutes while they find there direction and settle in.
Three rods attached to a single kite is my personal max, the lines can be thread through one clip. You will need to adjust the lines so that the bait is just on the surface. Once you have a strike the line will be pulled through the release clip. The kite will remain in the air with the other baits still being presented to other fish.
As we said with each kite that you use it is recommended to fish with two or three live baits on each one. Having two kites with 2-3 baits is just going to increase your chances of success. It is recommended that you set the live baits at intervals of 75 feet, while keeping the baits dangled just under the water surface by means of a small sliding release clip.
You will find a variety of different fishing kites available online as well as in the local area tackle shops which will start with the ultra light kites which are best used when the wind speed is lowest and at the other end of the scale is the “Force Five” which can be deployed when the wind speed is high.
A kite kit will cost around $100 to $200 to buy depending upon the brand. Washing your new kite with freshwater before you use it will make it fly better. To protect your kites a good tip is to fix an inflated balloon to the back of each one. If your line breaks and drifts into the ocean the kites will sink to the bottom and you will never find them. Fix the balloons with wire, this will make the kites float so that you can easily retrieve them.
Sailfish Kite Fishing Tips:
It is essential that you have good knots, terminal tackle and fishing kites for maximum success. This will enable you to catch more sailfish & fish in general. Before you even step onto your boat it is best to rig all of your hooks and leaders. This will ensure that each time your line goes in the water everything will be perfect. You don't have to be so concerned about the fish getting away if your hooks and leaders are properly tied. Many times I have seen people look worried when a fish pulls out a few hundred yards and then panic. No need to panic when you know your gear is right. If you don't take the time out on your hooks and knots, then you have a right to worry. That sailfish will grab your bait, jump and break off. This could be because the leader being chafed and not changed or some of your knots not being “snugged up” in the right way. Wet those knots before you pull it tight. Do it right the first time, retying a hook and leader is all the time the fish needs to have disappeared.
When a sailfish rises on the kite bait you should reel the bait to the surface and make sure that the leader is out of the water. This way you reduce the risk of the fish wrapping its bill when it is eating. The line needs to be snapped from the release clip and the rod aimed toward the sailfish as the slack is taken up. Point the rod directly at the fish so when you come tight the drag pressure kicks in turning the circle hook into the corner of the jaw.
Recommended Tackle:
To start you should go for small conventional reels, my personal recommendations are the shimano, penn and avet. These reels have smooth lever drag systems, high line capacities and good rates of retrieve. The reels will be suitable for rods in the 15 to 25 pound category. Go for high visibility line in 20 pound test. With the high visibility line it will be easier to keep track when the kites are up.
For the rigging you will need a short Bimini twist knot so that a double line can be formed. Use a metal ring made of stainless steel to follow. Ceramic rings are available but these have been known to break so I stay away from them. The ring will be used for the release clip so that the line doesn’t scrape on the clip.
Next you should use a brightly colored float for tracking the position of the bait. If it is a windy day then use an egg weight to keep the bait in the water. Use a small bead to prevent the sinker jamming with the swivel knot, a high quality ball bearing swivel is recommended.
For the leader go for around 15 feet of 30 to 50 pound test fluorocarbon which you will then knot or crimp to the right sized circle hook. Others will disagree but I knot my connection in the belief that they see the crimp.
The Best Bait To Use:
Good sailfish bait can be ballyhoo, threadfin herring, goggle eyes, blue runners, mullet and Spanish sardines amongst others. Bridle the live bait with a rubber band to a quality circle hook, I use gamakatsu X strong. 30 pound seaguar fluorocarbon leaders are recommended with 16 or 20 pound hi vis main lines, I use Sufix superior.
You can catch your bait fish from various locations in Fort Lauderdale or you can purchase them from professional bait boats and bait & tackle shops.
The Best Times Of The Year To Catch Sailfish in south Florida:
There are opportunities to catch sailfish every day of the year in Fort Lauderdale. November through to February are the best months, as the fish will be in their most concentrated numbers when the weather is cooler. Some sailfish opportunities will exist from March to May. In the Fall you are likely to catch smaller Atlantic Sailfish from three feet to five feet long.
Where Is It Best To Find Sailfish?
You will encounter the vast majority of sailfish within two miles of shore. Sailfish often travel in groups and there is always plenty of opportunities. 90 to 200 feet of water should yield good results and is a good starting point. The best time of day to start fishing is around 3 - 4pm and you will probably experience the best action between 6 – 8 pm in the evening.
Bait And Tackle Shops In Ft Lauderdale:
There are numerous bait and tackle stores in Fort Lauderdale and some of the best are as follows:
Carl’s Bait And Tackle
T and R Tackle Shop
Bigg Mouth Bait And Tackle
Live Bait And Tackle
Anglers Bait And Tackle
Atlantic Bait And Tackle
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