Kites are renowned, even by those who know little about them, as a means of presenting baits at the surface where their distress is more readily discerned by predators. However, that’s not the number one draw. The real value is that they allow you to efficiently cover a far greater area around your boat than you ever could otherwise.
For many years, one kite at a time was considered sufficient. But in a world where top tournament competitors and guides are graded on how well they produce day after day, it was no surprise that sooner or later someone would come up with the bright idea that if one was good, wouldn’t two be even better?
The only problem is that since kites are subject to the wind direction, one will pretty much go the same way as the other. That’s fine if you’re fishing from the Queen Mary, but more traditional vessels like your standard center console don’t offer that much space, even if you fish one from the bow and the other from the stern.
Fortunately, in just a few seconds, you can modify kites to alter their flight path. There are many ways to do this, but the simplest is to add a couple of 1/8-ounce reusable splitshot sinkers to one of the two strings that lead from the kite’s center bridle to the top corners. Weighted at the top left corner, the kite will tend to head off in that direction. Send up your second kite with weights on the top right, and there will be plenty of space between them to fish flat and deep lines at the same time.
How many splitshots work best for you may require some trial and error but I would start with two and experiment from there. If you’re out of splitshots or don’t have any handy, you can also run a piece of copper rigging wire through a tiny egg sinker and twist both ends to the string. Some skippers prefer to affix the sinker to the lower corner of the kite, which will also cause it to veer off. Either way, the trick is to use just enough weight to cause the kite to veer off without having it plummet into the water. Keep in mind that the heavier the kite, the more weight that may be needed.
Before making any changes, make sure your kite flies fine as is. These alterations certainly don’t improve matters any and if you start with a dud to begin with it will only do even worse. Sometimes the problem will derive from a defective kite, but more often it relates to selecting the wrong one for the conditions.
Fishing kites come in five different sizes ranging from extra light to extra heavy breeze models. If anything, err on the side of caution and use the lightest version you can get away with that day, since you will be adding weight to it anyway.
Believe it or not, that’s only half the battle, as there are still other logistics to consider. Much of this concerns the question, how many baits can you actually fish this way? This depends on the boat itself and how it is laid out. For example, on open center consoles like the one I use, one kite is fished from the bow and another from the stern. That of course means that enough rod holders must be installed there to accommodate both the kite rod and the fishing rods used with it.
If you do fish this way, bring along a sea anchor. Not only does this assist in positioning the boat, it helps slow the drift. As you might guess, two kites can pull a small boat along at a pretty good clip. Even a 5-gallon bucket will suffice in a pinch.
To avoid all this, many skippers (especially those with larger boats) prefer to fish both
kites from the stern. This also allows significantly more water to be covered since it now becomes possible to slow-troll. It is immensely useful here to have a rocket launcher in the cockpit, as that will allow for the additional rods. In this manner it is easily possible to fish two or three baits per kite.
One thing I would consider trying is what I call the “Doll loop” method rather than having the release clips slide down the line to rest against different-size swivels, which is the traditional way. I call it that because it was popularized by Capt. David Doll, a well-known guide out of South Florida. The advantage here is that it permits additional baits to be deployed without retrieving ones out already.
How this is accomplished is simple. First, tie a Black’s kite clip to the ring end of a snap swivel with a short trace of monofilament. Next, tie a dropper loop in the kite line with a double surgeon’s knot. Lastly, snap the clip to the loop, attach your fishing line as usual and deploy your bait. In this way, the number of baits to be fished is limited only by having a place to store the rod.
The final factor to consider when fishing this many baits is visibility. As you might guess, presenting this number of lines at one time can make it difficult to keep track of which rod goes to which bait. For that reason, I suggest you pick up a couple rolls of surveyor’s streamer in different colors. Tie or tape a small piece to the rod, and tie the same color to the double line, where you’ll be able to see it beneath the kite. Confusion will be minimized greatly.
Finally, keep in mind that at 60 bucks a pop fishing kites aren’t exactly cheap. Fishing two always presents twice the possibility that one will break off or lose its wind and crash. They must be closely monitored, since going to get one after it dumps requires instant action as it will quickly either drift from view or sink down just deep enough where it cannot be retrieved.
As you might guess, fishing with two kites is not for everyone. But if you want to have that competitive edge in the next big tournament, or if you simply just would like to catch more sailfish and big pelagics, mastering this tricky practice is one way to go about it.