Fishing Kites

Hanging Lures A Loooong Way Off

A bit of history to begin with. The technique of using fishing kites to drop a baited line into the water originated with the ancient Chinese. Later, Pacific islanders came up with similar ideas, for example the Solomon Islanders.

An example of modern fishing kites, made strong and waterproof.

Traditional kites for this purpose also appear throughout the Malay Peninsula. Early forms of these kites were as simple as a large leaf threaded with strips of fine bamboo, with a hook hung from a long length of line.

This form of fishing is still used in some parts of Asia today.

In more modern times, it seems that a certain Captain Bob Lewis was responsible for making this form of fishing more popular in the West. Bob Lewis was active in the sailfish-rich waters off southern Florida, in the U.S.A.

This AFTCO Kite Kit on Amazon is an example of modern gear - with some accessories bundled with it.




Modern Fishing Kites

Today, the kites used are mainly simple sleds, diamonds and deltas that are adjusted to fly low. That makes sense since the idea is to take the fishing line out far away from the angler. For example, to get across surf and into deeper water where bigger fish can be caught. Kite fishing is also done out of boats, where the odds of catching a fish are increased by flying more than one kite at once. Commercial kite-based systems have been around since the late 80s.

In really light conditions, keen anglers just attach a helium-filled balloon to their kites to keep them in the air!

The price range seems to be around US$20 to US$150. At the bottom end are small sleds such as the Pocket Sled Kite from Paul's Fishing Kites. The same company sells the Casting Kite in the middle of the price range and their Mega Kite for around US$150.

That's a lot more than for comparable simple recreational kites. But I suppose they have to be very waterproof, and also quite strong in case they get dragged through the water. Or perhaps anglers spend so much on other gear that the retailers hope they can get away with offering pricey kites!

Here's a run down on how kites are used for fishing these days:

  • different sized kites can be used to drop anywhere from 2 to 25+ hooks into the water, from a single line
  • some fishermen use kites to drop their hooks up to 2 kilometers (1 mile+) out to sea!
  • the kites are sometimes used to lay bait on the surface of the water
  • most commonly used to fish live baits for sailfish, dolphin fish and tuna
  • also effective for baiting marlin, king mackerel, tarpon, sharks and freshwater bass

The advantages of using kites, particularly when using live baits include:

  • both the windward and leeward sides of a boat can be fished
  • baits fluttering near the surface send out vibrations that attract predators
  • the vertical pull holds leaders out of the water where fish are less likely to see them and shy away

Some well-known kites used by anglers include:

  • Paul's Fishing Kites
  • AFTCO kites
  • Bob Lewis kites
  • SFE fishing kites

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Dowel Barn Door Rides Inland Gusts

    Sep 17, 14 06:33 AM

    Well, it was the same reserve and a similar time of day. A bit closer to sun-down perhaps. Only the kite was different - the Dowel Barn Door kite this time, chosen to suit the 'gentle' strength wind gusts of between 15 and 20 kph.

    The first flight went well, with the kite soaring straight up on around 45 meters (150 feet) of line. The late afternoon sun glinting off the panels as the kite moved about at steep line angles. In the gusts and lulls, the kite had a tendency to pull to the right at times.

    As I was taking the kite down to do a bridle adjustment, the main problem became apparent. The horizontal spar had pushed through the tip-tape on the right corner of the sail, drastically reducing the sail area to the right of center. It was actually surprising how well the kite was still flying, given the gross problem with the sail!

    On a second flight, with the tip repaired, there still appeared to be a slight pull to the right. So, after taking some video footage of the Barn Door's antics, it was brought down once again. This time the bridle knot was taken across by about a centimeter (1/2"). That was better! The 1.2 meter (4 feet) span pale orange kite shot right back up, showing much less tendency to pull across when under pressure.

    After some more video was taken, with the kite soaring around almost directly overhead at times, it seemed safe enough to let out more line. It was surprising to feel the flying line touching my jeans while it was anchored under-foot! How much rising air can there be at this time of day? At the time I was concentrating on keeping the wandering kite in-frame as I took video.

    Finally, after enjoying the kite doing its thing on over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, it came time to pull the Dowel Barn Door down. When within 30 feet or so of the ground it started to float and sink face-down. Then it was an easy matter to pull in the remaining few meters of line, keeping the kite flying until the bridle lines were in hand.

    Weather stations were reporting around 10kph average wind speeds with gusts almost to 20kph.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!

    Read More





New! Comments

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