The other half

I took a break from prefishing last week to do a little saltwater fishing. We went kite fishing for sailfish. It was absolutely fantastic. First we had to catch our bait. The boat captain gave us small, light spinning outfits and we went after blue runners and google-eyes. They only weighed about a pound, but they fight like the devil on that light tackle. I had a ball just doing that.

After we caught our bait, we headed out toward somewhere — I haven't a clue where we were — where the sailfish are supposed to live and eat. On the way I got to climb the tower in the boat and watch a great big sea turtle swimming around. That was neat. I've never seen a turtle even close to that big.

Anyway, here's how kite fishing works: You launch a kite and let it get up into the air. Then you attach your fishing line to the line holding the kite. As the kite flies around you adjust your fishing line so that your baitfish stays just on the surface of the water. It takes a while to learn to manipulate the kite and your bait at the same time. The altitude and direction of the kite changes constantly. That means you have to constantly adjust your fishing line to keep your baitfish where the sailfish can get to it. That'll wear you out in no time flat. When a sailfish sees it, he comes up, grabs the bait and dives back under the surface. This puts tension on your fishing line which causes it to release from the kite string by means of a clip. The whole thing looks like a giant Zara Spook bite underneath a kite. In our case, that only happened once.

For whatever reason the sailfish wasn't hooked. I guess he missed the bait or something. All I saw was the explosion. Still, it was one heck of an experience. It certainly got my attention. I heartily recommend it to anyone. I'll tell you something else that got my attention. We launched out of Fort Lauderdale. The homes — mansions — along the waterfront, and the boats — yachts — moored in front, are something to behold. It'll give you a quick lesson in how the other half lives. I mean if you think a camper and a bass boat are expensive. ...

Let's get back to reality: This water down here on Okeechobee is cold. I'm seeing several species of tropical-type fish swimming around in circles on top. I don't think they're going to make it. This will be an interesting tournament. Some of the guys are saying it'll warm up as the week goes along, and all the fish will head for the beds at once. Maybe. Then again, this could turn into a really difficult three days. We'll know by the end of the week, won't we?