And away we go…

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Our destination was roughly 120 miles away in the area close to the islands called Islas Marias, and offshore from the coastal Mexican state of Nayarit.  The islands are actually home to a high security prison, so there is a closely guarded perimeter 12 miles around the islands.  Remember this factoid…it’ll come into play later.

The Gameplan

On the way out, Capt. Keith Denette gave us the trip briefing.  Nothing was drastically different from tuna trips I’d been on before.  It’s just that everything was BIGGER.  Since I was happily rent rodding this trip, there were just 2 setups to consider: a 30 size reel setup (either Accurate or Makaira Special Edition, on Super Seekers) fishing 100 lb. test, OR a 50 size setup fishing 130 lb.  Use the 30 setup to flyline a caballito, or the 50 setup to fish a jig (boat recommendation is a glow Salas PL68) or a “plunker” rig (rubber band rig) with either a caballito or one of the 16-18″ humboldt squids that Dr. Cliff Hallum brought down with him.  Keith said the boat had about 900 pieces of caballitos, which looked like a fatter version of a spanish mackerel.

We would arrive in the dark and Keith said that would be the time to fish the jig.  Once the sun came up, we’d look for primarily bird school activity to guide us to the fish.

I rigged up one of the 300g Rudo JimyJigs in the Bleeding Superglow pattern and hit my bunk.

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Introduction To “Kite” Fishing

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The next morning, we started fishing in the dark.  I jigged.  Man, jigging the way Scott Critch, the JimyJigs rep taught me on the Eclipse Colonet trip was exhausting with this heavy gear.  I gave it a good go, but no bites.  None for the boat either.

Once the sun came up, we got underway.  I was happy to put the jig setup away and have some breakfast.  Not wanting to miss anything, I quickly put it down and went back out on deck.  Our deckhands, Alvino and Mario were busy setting up the “kite” rigs.  I’d read about the kite, so I was familiar with the concept.  It’s more of a long range technique.  The idea is you are able to use heavier gear because none of the line is in the water.  The kite flies the line out and then it dangles from the kite, down toward the water.  At the end of the line, a bait flops around on the surface with a hook on its back.  The line isn’t visible to the fish below.  The “kite” drifts out, getting the bait out and away from the boat…and then it gets smashed.

Some boats actually use a kite to practice this technique.  The Maximus uses heavy duty helium balloons.  Capt. Keith said it’s more predictable in terms of getting the distance of the leader the right length to keep the bait right on the surface.  It’s also not reliant on there actually being wind.  The boat sets up 2 kite rigs on the downwind side, with the rest of the anglers working the drift on the opposite side.  It made for very comfortable spacing with only 10 anglers onboard.

We got underway and one of the first things I noticed was that we weren’t trolling any lures.  I’d have to ask Keith about that later.

It wasn’t long before came to a stop and started a drift.  We were maybe 50 yards away from a bird school working the surface.  The kites took were let go on the port side.  One angler in the bow, the other in the stern.  The rest of us were on the starboard side flylining a bait.  I found a spot close to the bait tank so I could observe what was happening with the stern kite.

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It wasn’t long before we saw the day’s first action…and it came on the kite.  It was maybe an 80 lb. fish.  Not what we were looking for, but a big fish based on the tuna I’ve seen up to that point.  I was excited.  I signed in at #5, so it wouldn’t be long before I took my turn.  I found out later that your time on the kite is sometimes known as “kite jail”.  You only rotate out when a fish gets caught on the kite and sometimes that can last days.  Based on this immediate payoff and not knowing yet about kite jail, I was eager to take my turn on the kite.

To be continued…

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