Flying Kites

We put the boat in gear a hundred yards off of the Horn Mountain floating oil rig, idling around on a hot, late summer day. There was a faint breeze in the air and a few yellowfin tuna busting out of the water just off the side of the oil rig. We released a fishing kite behind the boat and let it soar as freely above the water as the kites that you used to fly in the park near your house. After about 25 yards of line went out, the first bait clip popped into action and we clipped in our rubber flying-fish then sent the kite and bait in the direction the yellowfin were feeding.

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We let the kite fly close to the oil rig and started making laps up and down the side of the rig, with the soft rubber flying-fish skipping across the water like a rock skipped across a lake. The fish started feeding dangerously close to the rig so we inched the kite closer with each pass and then suddenly the oil rig let out a massive burn-off of natural gas. This is a huge flame that shoots about 20 yards out the side of the rig to release gas that had built up while pumping oil out of the deep blue sea bed.

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“The Kite!!!” I exclaimed and everyone watched as the flame nearly engulfed the kite. We sped away from the burn-out and then got repositioned as best we could to avoid losing a kite.

After a few near-misses of the rubber flying-fish, we had a solid bite. Seeing these yellowfin sky on a flying fish is a sight to see. They come flying out of the water, no holds barred, and engulf the whole thing with one fell swoop. Yellowfin tuna have honed eating flying-fish down to a T. The baits primary escape tactic is to literally “fly” out of the water and I’ve seen them land up to 50-60 yards away from launch point. The yellowfin tuna actually follow their trajectory under water and immediately as the fish hits the water, they attack it with speed and accuracy like a guided underwater missile.

The kite had got pulled in and we had put the harness on a heavy-set kid named Houston on the boat. The fight lasted a few minutes as this was a schoolie-sized tuna and we sunk a gaff into him, bled it out, and threw it into the fish box. After a few more hours without so much as a nibble and the seas steadily building, we packed it up and headed back to the hill.

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