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Hawaii - Cliff Top Fishing for Mahi Mahi

Hawaiian kite fisher Albert Nakaji has been using Paul's Fishing Kites flexiwing kites for land based game fishing for around a couple of years now.

He has perfected a very productive style of kite fishing that has made him a local fishing celebrity.

Albert fishes some incredibly difficult terrain, one of his favourite fishing spots is from the top of Ka Lae cliffs.

The sheer cliff drops vertically onto a shallow water coral reef ledge which extends for a considerable distance away from the cliff base.

A couple of hundred meters out the reef stops and an underwater cliff plunges into very deep water, this is where the gamefish like mahi mahi patrol.

The Catch

Three of us fished with Paul's flexiwing kites at our favorite fishing spot in Hawaii last weekend and we all caught fish.

My fishing partner, Debbie Ishado, caught the mahi mahi (some refer to it as a dolphin fish) last weekend on her birthday. Pic right

It was only the second time she had been fishing. Her rig was a 9/0 Penn Senator fishing reel fitted to a stand up boat rod.

It took Debbie about 20 minutes to land the fish as this was the first time she ever used a rod and reel.

Normally we land mahi mahi in about half this time. Debbie also pulled up a large barracuda and a blue bone stickfish, both of which were tossed back.

mahi mahi
fishing mahi mahi

Later on something large broke the mainline on this 24kg rig and we lost everything, hence the recent order for a replacement flexiwing kite.

The wind varied from about 10 to 15 mph, gusting to 20 on the day.

Marcus, my other fishing buddy on the trip, was using exactly the same fishing rig set up as Debbie and he caught the fish in the photo on the left. It was his first ever mahi mahi as well.

I caught one too so we got three in total during that trip.

I think Debbie's fish looked about the biggest.

The image of the sea below is looking down from the cliff top. Although hard to see, it shows one of the hooked mahi mahi and the float bottle under the kite.

The fish is greenish in this pic and somewhat blends in with the water. The float is the orange thing in the upper right hand section (it's actually a soft drink bottle with the orange label still attached).

If you look at the float, you will notice that it is in the air and hanging down, and not floating on the water surface.

This is because the kite was assisting in lifting the fish up and clear of the reef.

Prior to using the fishing kites I, and all the other land based fishers I knew, used inflated plastic rubbish bags to deploy their gear offshore, but these had several problems.

mahi mahi on line

While people use the plastic trash bags because they are cheap and easy to get, they have some serious drawbacks. The main disadvantage of the trash bags is that since they are in the water, the fishing line they are attached to and the inflated bag are both very affected by the currents. This causes a lot of uncontrollable drift.

The kite on the other hand eliminates both these sources of drift and helps to keep the bait better positioned.

The kite also gives a lot more control over the direction and positioning of the fish bait when the wind is not quite right.

Another huge bonus is that the weight of the float can be adjusted so that the bait rises and falls in wind gusts and this movement seems to attract more fish.

Finally, on days when the wind is light, the flexiwing kite can get the bait out much faster than the trash bags. This keeps the bait away from the smaller reef fish which are too small to be caught but will eat all of the bait before it gets out beyond the shallow reef. The bait must get beyond the drop off to be out where the big game fish are patrolling.

Of course, anyone using Paul's Flexiwing Kites already knows all of these advantages.

cliff top fishing

The photo above shows the area that we fish regularly and the rig that I used before using the kite. Except for the useless bell and two trash bags, the rig is the same as that I use now. The useless bell has been replaced with a more effective electronic alarm to signal when a fish is on, and most importantly, the trash bags are now replaced with a flexiwing kite flying above the float. Note the concrete block and rod holder

cliff top fishing rig

The Rig

The fishing rig we use is a single dropper connected under a kite. The kite is flown from a large capacity reel, our smallest rig is a 9/0 Penn Senator fishing reel fitted to a stand up boat rod and our biggest is a 14/0 Penn Senator on a heavy duty stand up rod. The dropper line carries a single baited circle hook on the end and a one litre float is attached anywhere up to 10 meters above the hook. Other popular styles for fishing over a variety of bottom types see kite fishing rig designs .

Land Based Game Fishing With Kites in New Zealand

Obviously, not everyone would want to fish from a ledge a hundred feet or more above sea level, the good news is that in New Zealand you shouldn't have to!

To date we have received three New Zealand fishing reports of marlin being hooked from the shore on kite rigs set for snapper. It comes as no surprise that none of the marlin were landed as a snapper hook and trace is simply not up to the job.

Some years ago a yellow fin tuna of around 20kg was reported landed at Doubtless Bay from a kite longline baited with pilchards and set mid-water.

All of these gamefish were hooked from the beach and this makes them very easy to target with kites.

Just imagine, Alberts rig above, baited with a live kahawai. Simply run the bait out under a flexiwing kite to 1500 to 2000 meters offshore from a Penn 12/0 or 14/0 reel spooled with 130 lb B/S spectra.

Then stick the heavy duty rod in a rod holder on the front of the 4WD and drive slowly up and down the beach. The burley or fish oil you put in, or on, the float bottle would seep out and leave a scent trail a mile or more offshore, and it would be as long as the distance you drive up the beach.

No self respecting gamefish could resist it. After you have caught a few with this simple rig, then would be the time to see if it could be done while complying with IGFA rules.

Remember, Edmund Hillary climbed Everest with the help of oxygen and Sherpas. Many have done it since with only one or none of these aids, but it is Hillarys' name we all remember because he done it first!

Who will catch the first land-based marlin in New Zealand?

 

 

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