Mr. Kingfish

Salty dogs boys have been hard at it over the past few weeks with new additions to their fleet. A fortnight ago we were able to go out in search of Kingfish in and around Long Reef off Sydney. Here is the results of our days work and the reason for our success.

Kingfish are an aggressive predator who stalk their victim (quite often in packs) before demolishing them, head first. If you can use your sounder effectively to drop live baits on to a feeding school of Kingfish, then they are more likely than not going to give into temptation. There are a few key points that you need to understand in order to achieve this.

1. How to distinguish feeding Kingfish on the sounder.

More often than not a Kingfish will appear as an arch on the sounder. However, often packs of Kingfish towards the bottom will appear as solid blobs. This generally indicates that the Kingfish are inactive. In this situation it is less likely that they will take a plastic or jig, however, if a well presented live bait is dangled in front of their noses they will tend to have a feed. For this reason it is essential to try to stay in touch with the angle of your line and use adequate led, allowing you to know exactly where your bait is, preferably directly beneath.

Kingfish will live up to their aggressive nature when appearing on your sounder around a bait ball, or they’re indicated as arches stacked upon each other higher up the water column, than if they were simply lurking around the bottom. On this day we were even able to get some on surface lures because they were boiling right to the top of the water column.

2. Well presented live baits

Anyone who has watched a fishing video would know that the consensus is that fresh is best. If it means waking up that little bit earlier to try to catch Squid or jig up some Slimey’s, then you will improve your chances of catching dramatically. Around the southern NSW areas the main sources of live baits for Kingfish are generally Slimey Mackerel or Yellowtail (Yakkas). If possible try to fish a mix between the two, because for the most part it is difficult to know what they are feeding on. However, we find that Slimeys produce better fish because they do not have the hard and spiky tail that the Yakka do.

When presenting your baits, we have found that a twin hook rig will give you the best chance to get a solid hook-up on the fish. We use Gamakatsu’s live bait hooks in the size 5/0 because they are some of the strongest and sharpest hooks on the market. The 5/0 size is ideal because it still allows the live bait to freely swim without losing any strength from the hook.

Kingfish generally eat their live bait head first, so it is essential to pin the first hook either through the nose or on a 30 degree angle behind its head, pointing forward. The second hook should be snelled onto your leader. Either have this hook freely trailing behind the live bait or lightly pinned towards the back, for the circumstance when the fish are tentative in their bites.

We hope these few tips help you improve your chances of nailing that big Kingfish. Remember that Gamakatsu produces the strongest hooks so that you can really give those Kingies some stick, because they will definitely be giving it back to you! As you can seen from the photos we got paid a visit from the tax man (a small Mako shark) on more than one occasion.