At first glance, it’s easy to see how a kite may seem ridiculous to fishing, especially if you are new to the sport. However, there is a great deal of history in the use of a kite in targeting hard-fighting fish out in the ocean. Even more, it can be quite helpful in the waters that can be both deep and billowing with the wind and tend to wear you out easily. So, the use of kite fishing for days out at the sea or even from the shore can help you target some of the largest catches. These include some of the biggest species in saltwater sports fishing like; swordfish, sailfish, and tuna.

First things first; with a kite, it may seem like a childhood game rather than your typical fishing day. However, there is a great deal of planning that goes into kite fishing. More so with the purchase of the proper equipment and the setup of every item in the proper order. Without further ado, here is our handy guide on how to kite fishing.

What is Kite Fishing?

Basically, kite fishing provides an easy day of fishing within feisty waters. This in turn will help you target forceful, fighting species. After you select your equipment, your kite will carry the baited fishing line away from you at a varied distance. Then, a hooked fish will cause your kite to dip drastically while separating from the release clips with nothing but you and the pole. And, at that point, you can use all your strength to reel in your trophy catch.

Terminology for the Kite Fishing Novice

fishing from a boat

Image credits: Gene Gallin via Unsplash

So, let’s start with a list of the specific items required for kite fishing that wouldn’t be in other forms of fishing. Here is a breakdown of the kite fishing terminology, and its general uses that some anglers may not be familiar with:

Kite – A square kite that is often made from high durability and tear-resistant fabric that is supported by carbon-graphite spars. This fishing instrument helps to withstand the wear and tear from the action below and from hectic weather.

Balloon – Used as a tool to prevent the kite from getting away if snagged, the balloon is attached to the kite to keep it afloat. Furthermore, this will prevent it is pulled down by a fish bite or a drop in the wind speed. In addition to keeping your kite from going underwater because this can be hard to pull up.

Release clips – Also known as kite clips, these clips attach your bait line to your kite. You can find kite release clip kits that include pre-drilled clips, swivels, and snap swivels to attach your bait lines to the kite and help you easily set it up.

Terminal tackle – Markers help keep your lines visible with metal rings, weights, corks, and styrofoam markers. These attach your bait line to the kite line and monitor your bait to easily see a catch when it bites.

Materials Needed

Free photos of Charter fishing

Image credits: paulbr75 via Pixabay

So, let’s start with a list of the equipment needed to complete your kite fishing setup on a boat or shore. This will help you prepare for the fish you target and reel them in quickly and easily as soon as they bite. Kite fishing equipment includes the following:

  • Kite
  • Balloon
  • Rod and reel (rod about 3 feet long with a high-speed or electric reel capable of 50-80 lbs)
  • Rod holders
  • Release clips
  • Terminal tackle
  • Live bait (cigar minnows, sardines, blue runners, shad, and sunfish)
  • Fishing leader (15-foot leader or similar length)
  • Snap or barrel swivel
  • Stainless-steel or ceramic rings
  • Egg sinkers
  • Fishing cork
  • Circle hooks
  • Small rubber bands
  • Open eye needle
  • Back up kite

Whether you will kite fish from your boat or the shore, setting up the line can be an extensive setup. During kite fishing, it is important to properly set up your kite and lines to quickly reel in a catch when it bites. The steps here are summarized, and there are many guides online that cover this topic in more detail.

Step One: Rig Your Kite

Start by blowing up your balloon and securing it onto the kite with some fishing line or wire. This will keep your kite from sinking in the water if the line breaks at any point. Then, connect your kite to the kite line that comes off the kite rod. Thus, the kite and kite lines can be attached to the kite rod via a snap or barrel swivel. At the edge of the boat, slowly launch the kite so that it is about 75-90 feet from your boat or the shore where you sit. Next, you will attach a clip to the base of the kite line where the bait line will be held. 

Step Two: Prepare Your Bait Line

blurred bobber

Image credits: StudioGM via Shutterstock

Attach a stainless-steel ring to the end of your bait line that will hook onto the kite clips at the base of the kite line. Next, run the end of the bait line through a fishing cork that will help you keep track of your bait line. Pass the end of the bait line through an egg sinker weight to keep your live bait down in the water. The end of the bait line also needs to be attached to a ring on a swivel, where 15 feet of fishing leader will be connected. This will connect your bait line to the fishing hook and bait. After all, the connections are complete, attach the metal ring on the bait line to the clip on the kite line.

Step Three: Put Bait on Your Line

Attach a rubber band and circle hook to the end of an open-eye needle for the placement of bait on your line. The needle needs to be inserted through the back of your live bait. Then pull the line through the bait’s back along with the rubber band. Then, loop the rubber band around the hook and remove the needle from the bait. Hence, the rubber band should sit below the barb of the circle hook. Then twist the elastic band around the hook a few times and have the bait secured on it.

Step Four: Launch Your Lines

Image Credits: Simon Hurry via Unsplash

Start by tossing your bait in the water while you also release your bait lines and kite lines. Try to keep your lines no more than 100-175 feet away from you. Nevertheless, this is to keep the lines visible while they unspool before being locked into place on the reel. With the cork on your bait line, you will be able to keep an eye out for a bite. This will be indicated when the bait line pulls under the surface of the water or the kite line detaches from the bait line after a dip. However, with slack on your line, you will have to reel in the catch quickly to avoid a snapped line or a fish that got away. This is also why an electric reel would be recommended for kite fishing.

Step Five: Fish on, Reset, and Repeat

As any catch pulls, the cork on your bait line down, and you can release the bait line and pull up the rod to reel in the catch. Then, you will be able to reset and re-hook your bait line to the kite line as you complete that catch. This will save you energy and provide only an occasional need for strength for catching when a large fish lands. It’s important to note that bait lines should be checked every so often, to see if the bait is in a weed patch, or if it got away.

Pulling in the Kite Line

Kite fishing offers a different and exciting way to nab some of the most sought-after saltwater sports fish. When it comes to fishing, it is unconventional but produces monster sailfish, wahoo, marlin, swordfish, and dolphinfish to name a few. This further adds to the allure of this almost childlike way to angle, given that the conditions are perfect for kite fishing. If you’re a novice to this discipline, don’t get discouraged if the first time didn’t go as planned, there is a considerable amount of technique to be learned. However, the next time you head out kite fishing, review this how-to guide to ensure you land a fish on.