Capt. Art's Blog

Keeping up with Searcher

Ask A Captain! week 4 answers


Let’s Go Fly A Kite??!!

As a new fish, I never guessed I would hear the words “kite” and “fishing” together. Not only did I overhear Capt. Aaron and Rock Cod Rick (of Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop) discussing the advantages of a new kite before a recent trip, but I also had some kite questions sent in for “Ask A Captain!”   So it was clear that I needed to talk with Capt. Art and add these words (together!) to my new ever-growing, sportfishing vocabulary.

Hi, Searcher Captains – my question is: How did “kite fishing” start? Did someone say one day: “Hey, why don’t we fly a kite off this boat?” – H.S.

Kite fishing came to the San Diego long-range sportfishing fleet 30 years or more ago from other fishing areas in the world where it was used successfully. A kite allowed anglers to use heavy line (necessary for hooking those bigger models) by attaching the line to a kite and keeping a lively bait at the surface. That is still an advantage for our fleet when fishing on large tuna, but we use the kite when fishing on smaller ones too.

Maybe we need to describe how a kite bait works. (“Yes, please!” – said Jen.) If you are attached to the kite, line comes from your reel, through the rod, up to the flying kite (attached by an outrigger clip), and then down to the water surface with your bait and hook. The bait is really active at the surface and can attract the fish’s attention by splashing. When a fish takes your bait and hook, the line pops out of the outrigger clip, and you continue to fight the fish on your reel. You are now unattached from the kite.

The crew will wind the kite into the clip, attach another bait, and the next angler in rotation gets to send out a kite bait. In fact, multiple kite baits in succession are possible by using a single kite, and so several anglers can be fishing the kite at a time.

– Captain Art

Can I bring a kite on my upcoming trip so I can try out kite fishing?  Do you have any feedback on how well it works? – R.R.

Hi R.R, and thank you for your question.  As you can see, kite fishing is not as simple as kite flying.  That is why we request that you leave your kite at home and try a turn on our Searcher kite fishing gear.  On our trips, we have had the most success using kite bait with the customized configuration which our crew is experienced with.  As I mentioned before, each angler on Searcher will have the opportunity to fish the kite if conditions are appropriate.

For the best results, follow these tips:

As always, you need to listen to the crew. They watch the kite line for a bite, and so should you. Non-kite lines, when in use in addition to the kite, can get tangled with the kite line. Again, the crew can help you prevent that. Staying alert with your trolling gear or your kite bait is key. And always choose a lively bait! The use of the kite will always be at the captain’s discretion, keeping safety and your best chance for fishing success in mind.  

-Captain Art

I wrapped up our interview with my own kite fishing question:

What’s the story with the new kite I saw Capt. Aaron buying at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop? Is one kite the same as another?

The new designs allow us to fly a kite even in light winds, without the use of a helium balloon. With older designs, balloons were needed to keep the kite flying in low or no winds. We have more flexibility with the conditions for using a kite now.  

– Captain Art

Capt. Aaron actually called in during our interview and reported he was flying the kite with a school of 18-30# yellowfin tuna. He said that if a tuna school is staying with the boat, the kite baits are enticing to some fish that aren’t going for the fly-lined live-bait method. Capt. Art agreed, if there are bigger fish around that require heavier line OR if fish aren’t biting on the fly-lined bait or light tackle, the kite can be very effective. Obviously you need a bit of wind to successfully fly the kite too!  Sounds like our captains have kite fishing dialed in, so book a trip on Searcher and give kite fishing a try!

Hey anglers! Keep your “Ask A Captain!” questions coming!

Remember, each individual who submits a question will be entered into a monthly drawing for a FREE tackle swag bag, courtesy of our generous sponsors. The next drawing is coming up soon – Aug. 31!


Got a question about tackle or gear, Searcher history, long-range sportfishing, or maybe Baja fishing spots?

Submit your question via email to with “Ask A Captain!” in the subject line. I’ll hunt down answers from our captains and post for all to see. Selected questions and answers will be posted every week on, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else anglers gather.

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