The fall migration of the mullet run brings excitement to many of us. All of the predators are in close pursuit for an easy meal; whether it be, dolphin, kingfish, wahoo or sails. Setting up the right way is very important to be successful.

Some days there may be a beautiful color change off the reef, and some days its just dirty green water. Looking for color change from 100 to 300 is a good way to start.Most people fish kites down in south Florida, where live baiting is keen. If you are fishing in a small to mid-sized boat, or new to kite fishing, you can start off with one kite. As you get more experience, you can proceed to two kites if you like. Once your close to your starting point, get a live bait ready, throw it over, and make sure your 50-75 feet away before you start to set up. Sometimes a hit will come very fast, and this is to ensure that something is in the water immediately.

Since you have at least a bait in the water, then you can continue to set up the other lines and the kite. The bottom rod can be set up with a 20 ft, 50-80 lb  leader via 3 way swivel. You need just enough lead so your line is straight up and down. When you feel bottom, wind up 4-5 turns, keep the clicker on, drag tight, and either hold the rod or put the rod in the holder. When a fish strikes, the rod will bend; just crank fast to get him off the bottom. Once off the bottom, fight the fish nice and smooth.

The mid-depth rod is sent out 50-75 feet away from the boat. Then attaching a 2-3 ounce eggsinker to the line with a  rubber band double the main line, and send it through the eggsinker. Put the piece of the rubber band through the loop so the line wont pull through the sinker. When a fish strikes with enough pressure the fish pulls the line through the sinker, and you fight the fish with no lead on the line. Even if the weight doesn’t fall off, when it comes near the boat, grab it and pull it through; It’s no big deal. I use all non-offset circle hooks so it is very easy for the fish to hook himself. Put the rod in the holder for this line, clicker on, and just enough drag so that you don’t get a backlash when the fish takes the bait.

When using circle hooks, when a fish strikes, pick up the rod, keep it pointed at the fish and wind. When the line starts coming off the reel, you can slowly pull your rod up and begin to fight the fish.

There are all different kite sizes for different winds, but I find the SFE is an all around great kite to start with. For a beginner, the hardest part is getting the kites up to fly. Put your bow into the wind, and as long as you have enough wind (a sign is some small white caps on the water) you’ll be in business. Some have electric reels, but if you don’t, don’t worry; but you must use glove when you’re using a manual reel for winding the line back on the reel. Once you have your kite up, when you come to the first clip, stop and get you bait ready. I use a rigging needle, and a loop of about 3-4 inches of waxed thread to slide in through in front of the baits dorsal fin. Put your needle through the other end of the loop and slide it through in front of the fishes dorsal fin, not too deep. Wrap the needle end over the hooks point, and twist it a few times, and slide the hook back through the loop along the back of the fish. There should be about a 1 inch distance to the fish.  Throw the bait over a few feet out, and clip the fishing line through the clip on the kite line. Some people use ceramic rings to snap to the clip to make a smoother drop back, but it is not necessary. Simultaneously, let your kite out slowly and your fishing line also. Careful not to stop the fishing line abruptly, which will cause the line to come out of the clip. When you have your kite out far away enough from the boat, if there is any slack in your fishing line, wind it up so that your bait is struggling right on the surface. Your bobber is used for visual contact with the fishing line. Be alert for any movement for the bobber to go from side to side or to be pulled down. To be very efficient, you must constantly work the line so that the bait stays on the surface, struggling. When the wind picks up, you may have to pull out line from your fishing reel since you kite will be flying higher pulling the bait out of the water, or vice versa; when your bait sinks below the surface or the wind dies down, you may have to crank on the reel to keep the bait in the strike zone right on the surface. You want the bait to make as much commotion on the surface as possible. I have caught fish, even when the baits were totally under the surface, but it is much more fun to work the baits. It is probably easier to start off with one kite bait until you get the hang of it and your confident enough to use the second line. These techniques will have all of the water columns covered with baits. Surface baits, kite baits, mid-depth, and bottom. Add these ideas to your arsenal and hopefully you will be rewarded with some nice fillets.


--Captain Matt Vigliotti

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