After 20 plus years of taking clients marlin fishing every day off the Kona coast of Hawaii It's exciting for me to dig into the intricacies of some other types of fishing. Over the years I've had the opportunity to catch a fair number of sailfish in places like Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Florida, Texas, Venezuela, British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic. I know there are more but the point is I've caught a few in a few different places. In Guatemala we were catching more than a dozen a day using dead rigged Ballyhoo. In Panama we had good luck using what's called a Panama rig which is the belly strip out a Bonito sewed onto a hook. Trolling live bait here in Florida has worked well. Different areas have different favored techniques to learn.
This brings us to kite fishing. Very effective but very labor intensive. I've had a number of exposures to it since I've moved to Florida but I, by no means, have it completely dialed in.
My good friend Chris King invited me to come to his first big money sailfish tournament out of Miami called the Sailfish Cup. Chris is also the founder of the World Sailfish Championship that is fished out of Key West in April. This guy knows how to throw a tournament. His events aren't just about the fishing although that's the main attraction. He always brings in great entertainment and has other activities and parties that make his events some of the best in the business. I took Chris up on his invitation and during the tournament Chris and I got out for a day of sail fishing using kites.
Chris had hired Capt. Brett Wilson and his mate Mark to crew his 52' Viking for the Day. These guys kite fish every day and know all the ins and outs of it. The whole enchilada is about the presentation of the bait. The kite is up there being a kite. The fishing lines (2 or 3) on each kite are run up through clips that are on the kite line. This allows the bait to be held right at the surface by the line hanging straight down from the clip on the kite line. To keep the bait in the proper position on the surface someone has to continually wind in or let out the line as the kite fluctuates up and down. It will keep you busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest but the effectiveness make it all worth while. We were using goggle eyes for the longest baits and thread-fins for the closer baits.
This is very much a team effort as most big game fishing is. In addition to finding the fish the captain has to keep the boat positioned properly in the wind to keep the kites working. The mate has his hands full getting the kites deployed and keeping fresh baits out there. The anglers do the cranking when the time comes but in the interim continually work the lines to keep the bait properly positioned vertically. If you're kite fishing forget about your nap. Time for lunch is questionable but if get around some sail fish you will probably get your shot and the hook-up to strike ratio is exceptional.
Hope you enjoy the show.
Tight lines, Capt Norm Isaacs