Sailfish Kite Fishing Gear

Species:

Sailfish

Technique:

Kite Fishing

Even though you can also troll dead baits like dink ballyhoo for sailfish with dredges and teasers, targeting sailfish on the kite is no doubt the more exciting way to target sailfish with live baits when is comes to seeing the bite. The bite is often visible to the entire crew, as a sail crashes on a live goggle eye, cigar minnow, sardine, or threadfin herring dangling off the end of your leader. While it is also an exciting technique, it also provides a few advantages over trolling ballyhoo or casting live baits to sails cruising on the surface.

When rigging up for sailfish, you will want to find gear that is made specifically for the light line and gradual drag necessary when using circle hooks. When looking for the best sailfish kite fishing reels, you will want prioritize 20lb monofilament line capacity, fast gear ratios, and gradual drag system geared towards targeting billfish with circle hooks. A few ideal options include the Shimano Talica 20BFC, Penn International 16VIS two speed, Avet JX and LX with sailfish cams installed, and the Accurate BVL-600. All provide enough line capacity when using 20lb mono, a smooth enough drag to consistently get a quality hookset in the corner of the mouth, and a fast enough gear ratio to keep slack out of your line after hooking up on a sail going ballistic in your spread. All are best spooled with 20lb hi vis yellow monofilament, so you are your crew can easily see where each of your baits is and how they are swimming at all times.

Rods are usually going to run between 6'6" and 7' with a light tip section geared towards light line circle hook fishing, all open guides, and a slick butt with either an aluminum or graphite reel seat. The TackleDirect Platinum Hook TDPS661630SIN is a fantastic option for targeting sails off of the kite, given its light tip, forgiving action, and all around lightness. Shimano's TLC66MHSBBLA Tallus Ring Guide Standup Rod is also a great option, boasting its 15-30lb mono rating and forgiving tip section in a super light weight package.

Once your reel is spooled with mono, you will want to rig it properly for kite fishing. It is best to tie a short Bimini Twist or Spider Hitch to form a double line at the end of your mainline. Next you will want to thread an Owner solid ring or Ceramic Ring, your kite float, egg sinker ranging from 1/2oz to 3oz depending on wind speed, and then a plastic tri bead in that order. Now you will cut the double line so you have two free strands of mono and tie off the double line to a 75lb Momoi Diamond ball bearing snap swivel. The solid ring will be used to attach to your kite clips on your electric or manual kite rod and reel, thus reducing the angle of your line and helping to prevent chafing to your mainline. There is nothing worse than burning off a sail to a small issue that can be avoidable.

You will also need to set up a kite rod and reel combo, with either an electric reel or manual conventional reel. Electric reels are most popular, with the Daiwa Tanacom 1000 and Shimano Forcemaster 6000 and 9000 taking the lead. They hold more than enough braided line, dependable drag system to keep the kite in place, and the eye on the level wind is wide enough to accept small swivels and knots for separating your kite release clips. If you want to stay with a conventional reel, the Penn Senator 4/0 or 6/0 (113H2 and 1142) are the most capable options and happen to be old standbys. All kite reels should be spooled with braided line between 50 and 100lb.

A kite rod will seem simple in appearance, but its job is to keep your kite flying straight and high out of the water. Great options include the TackleDirect Platinum Hook TDPSKITE Kite Rod, Daiwa Saltiga G Kite Rod, Shimano TLCKITE Tallus Kite Rod, and the Shimano TZCKBLK Terez Kite Rod. Kite rods usually vary greatly in price based on the components based on the material and design of the tip top guide, reel seat, and butt. A kite rod with a Winthrop S/S Kite Tip is usually preferred over a rod with a tip with a guide insert, since if the insert becomes cracked it can chafe your kite line and result in lost kites and hardware.

Kites are available from SFE, Lewis, and Aftco for winds ranging from 5mph up to 30mph and higher. It is best to have kites for every set of conditions that you plan on fishing in, as sailfish tend to bite best after cold fronts during the winter months in Florida. SFE Ultimate 5-25mph Kites are great all around kites that can be used in most conditions besides when it gets extremely windy and most boats will stay at the dock. If there isn't enough wind to keep a kite up in the air, a helium balloon may be necessary.

One significant advantage to flying a kite is that your leader will be out of the water and just about invisible to a pack of passing sailfish, as your bait should be just barely beneath the surface. This isn't a situation where you can simply just set your baits and forget it, you will want to use a Tigress or Wahoo triple rod holder to keep your reels close together allowing you to drop them in free spool and retrieve line when necessary to keep the baits right at or near the surface. If you do not pay attention, your baits may be way up in the air and out of the strike zone. If you keep an eye on your baits and can adjust the amount of line out on the fly, you will keep your baits in the strike zone and increase your chance of taking advantage of double and triple hookups. Stealth and as natural a presentation is key, which makes the way you bridle your live bait extremely important as well.

When bridling your live baits, it is best to use small rigging rubber bands and an open eyed rigging needle. This allows you to quickly bridle your bait to your circle hook in seconds, which will prolong your bait's lifespan and preserve its action. Eagle Claw's L2004ELF, Mustad 39938NP-BN, VMC Tournament Circle, and the Owner 5379 SSW in 5/0 through 7/0 are great options with wide gaps and a light wire gauge that will translate to better swimming dink baits and more hookups in the corner of the mouth. It is most common to bridle the bait right in front of the dorsal fins or through the nostrils, giving your bait the most realistic swimming action. If you happen to not have any rigging rubber bands on the boat, you can use waxed rigging floss as the bridle as a backup.