Super Spread

Expert Light Wind Kite Tips

Capt. Steve Dougherty May 20, 2015

For novice anglers, kite fishing has become an attainable presentation that adds an enticing element to the spread. If your goal is simply to set one or two baits on the surface, the task is fundamental. However, if you plan on setting multiple kites with multiple baits beneath each kite, there are a few insider secrets that will greatly expand the coverage of your spread.


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Crews in South Florida kite fish for everything from tuna to sailfish, and in wind conditions from 0 to 40 knots. Maintaining a presentable spread of multiple kites in such varying wind speeds requires anglers to make subtle changes on the fly as they encounter varying conditions. While the winter season often provides plenty of breeze to keep kites aloft, there are periods between cold fronts when the ocean goes flat and there’s hardly a puff of wind.

You’ll also need to have multiple kite rods rigged with various weights to balance the line in conjunction with the amount of wind present.

During days with light wind anglers rely on oversized balloons inflated with helium to keep costly fishing kites from dive bombing into the sea. Rigging a single kite with a balloon isn’t challenging, but if you desire to fish two kites simultaneously you’ll need to alter your rigging so the kites fly in opposing directions. With the correct bridle adjustment and balloon placement you can get your kite to veer left or right without the need of any split shots. Conversely, if you desire to fly two kites and attach the balloons in the center of the kites they will fly in the same direction, and your kite spread will be greatly limited.

There are a variety of kites on the market and when conditions call for helium, I prefer a light wind SFE kite. Inflate a 36-inch balloon to the width of the kite and attach the knot to the center of the kite where the four spars meet. Instead of tightening the balloon to the centerpiece, leave a little wiggle room so you can lean the kite to the left or right.

With the balloon attached to the centerpiece you’ll have to decide which direction you want the kite to veer. It may seem backwards, but if you want your kite to fly to the left, you’ll want to position the balloon at the top right of the kite. Take a four foot length of wax rigging floss and attach it to the bottom right spar by creating three half hitches. Stretch the floss over the balloon while leaning it in the desired direction and tighten to the top corner of the upper right kite spar. Attach another length of rigging floss to the bottom left spar and stretch the floss across the balloon to again attach at the top right spar. From here tighten accordingly and lock in place with electrical tape.

Anytime you are fishing a balloon with helium it’s critical you pin the bridle all the way to the kite so it can grab any wind that is available. If you fail to push the bridle all the way up you will dump much needed wind, making your kite go straight up to the sky instead of at an angle lower to the surface.

While a perfectly rigged kite is important, it’s only half the battle. You’ll also need to have multiple kite rods rigged with various weights to balance the line in conjunction with the amount of wind present. Too much lead on your lines and the kite won’t be able to support the additional weight, while not enough weight will make it a challenge to keep baits in the water. During extreme light wind conditions, you might be forced to remove the kite float and weight altogether.

Another aspect you can’t ignore is the tension of your kite clip. Too tight and a hooked fish will pull the kite down, while not enough tension and a frisky bait will pop out of the clip prematurely, forcing you to pull in the entire spread and restart the painful process of slowing launching and getting the kite a distance from the boat. It’s frustrating flying a kite when conditions aren’t ideal, but if you make very subtle adjustments you’ll find kite fishing to be extremely rewarding even when there’s no wind.

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