(photo credit, Mike Frasco)
I was out on a 2 day offshore adventure yesterday with Capt. Keith Maurer on his Anticipation along with Mike Frasco, Captains Scottie Murdoch & Max Forlenza (from Andreas's Toy) and Wayne Mauer (aka Chubby). After being out Monday with Gene Quigley, I was real excited to get back out, and this time brought an AFTCO fishing kite. The idea was to get a live bait or sardine out while we were on the drift jigging for bluefin. Once we set up at the Chicken Canyon on Saturday afternoon we deployed the kite. You don't see any kites flying from boats in New Jersey so this was a first for the entire crew. The AFTCO kite got right out in the 10-15 knot wind and in short order we had a sardine dangling just under the surface some 400 feet upwind of the boat. The cool part of the kite, as Keith mentioned is that you can get baits upwind of your boat. So you have the downwind water covered by drifting your baits back, and the upwind water covered with the kite bait. While we were all jigging at the downwind rail, I was watching the kite bait over my shoulder and then it happened. A huge eruption under the kite, then the kite started flying sideways. The rubber band popped (because BassPro did not send the kite clips - more on this below), and straight out of the water comes this huge mahi. I grabbed the rod and it was on. A very powerful mahi as he took me around the boat twice, jumped a few times then came along boatside. We all love to eat mahi, so this fish we tagged with the gaff. When Keith sunk the gaff, the mahi took off and jerked Keith off his feet on the upswing. This picture shows the force this fish put on. Impressive.
(photo credit Mike Frasco)
We caught a couple of small mahis on the jigs as did other boats but none as large as the one that took out kite bait. Our crew hadn't seen a mahi that big coming from this area so all great testament to the power a fishing kite can have. Having a big, fresh bait out in the water with no line or drift impeding the presentation can be deadly on larger, more wary fish. Since kites are not used in New Jersey I am excited to see what else we can do with it. Here are some detailed tips for anyone who is interested in kite fishing;Hey there - thanks for the email. yeah the kite worked great yesterday. all the other mahis out there were small - so I think because the kite suspends the bait, it fooled the larger mahi. Tips we learned were;
The bluefin fishing was tough for us. No bites despite our trying. I jigged my face off as Keith said, so did Capt. Max. Thanks to Scottie for bringing his Avets as they were a pleasure to work with. As always Mike Frasco took some amazing pictures. All of these shots are his. Thanks Mike! We also had two sharks at night. One was a small hammerhead that had a tag it his shoulder. Once we saw the tag, we got excited but the shark took the tuna line and broke off when we tried to get closer. Such a bummer, I would have loved that tag back. Tagging sharks is also free and a great thing to do, so all overnight canyon guys should have shark tags ready. Check NOAA's Cooperative Shark Tagging site to get your free tags. We also got a brown shark which was really great to release.
Here's the full photo album for more shots of the trip.
AFTCO Kite Buying Advice:
AFTCO is a sponsor of mine, but I bought this kite from Bass Pro as I wanted it for this weekend's trip. When I was ordering the kite I asked the representative if the AFTCO Kite Kit came with the kite clips. She of course said yes. I called back and re-confirmed and they said yes again. On Friday afternoon, my kite came, and you guessed it, no clips. Ugh. Anyway we improvised with a glass ring and rubber bands but if you order a kite, no matter if its AFTCO or not, make sure you also get the clips. I am confirming with AFTCO if they intend the clips to be sold with the Kite Kit or not - I have a feeling not. update to come....