Yellowtail Kingfish is a highly mobile pelagic species and are found along much of Australia’s western, southern and eastern coastlines. They prefer water temperatures between 17 and 24 degrees and generally spawn between August and November depending on water temps.
This iconic recreational species can be found in deep water over the Continental Shelf right through to inshore reefs, islands, bays, headlands and even estuary systems on the odd occasion. They can live for 20+ years and are known to grow over 1.5m long and weighing over 40kg!
Kingfish are an excellent eating fish especially out of cooler waters and can be prepared in many different ways. They also release well in deep and shallow water alike so they are a great for catch & release species.
Kingfish can be targeted using many different methods from live baiting, dead and cut baits, jigging and top water applications. Tackle and terminal needs to be up to the task when targeting King’s. High quality rods, reels, leader and hooks are a must for one of Australia’s most dirtiest and hardest fighting fish.
Speed jigging in deep water is one of the most exciting ways to catch Kingfish.
Live Baiting - When it comes to live baiting, Kingfish love to eat Slimey Mackerel, Yellowtail, Squid, Bonito, Mac Tuna and even Tailor can be used. Live baits can be dropped on heavy lead’s in deep water, or they can be slow trolled with the aid of a downrigger when fishing in shallower water. This is one of the most productive methods and allows the angler to manoeuvre the fish away from structure with the boat. Use 50-80lb braid with 60-150lb leader.
Ash with a landbased (off the rocks) king on a stickbait.
Jigging - Jigging is another excellent way to target Kingfish. This demanding and physical style of fishing can excite shut down schools and entice the bite when they’re finicky. Jigs in the 50-300g range are used depending on the water depth and current. Both knife jigs and slow jigs work great depending on the Kingfish’s mood. Use your electronics to locate fish before dropping your jigs to save your arms and back. Use 50-80lb braid with 60-150lb leader.
A small 'rat' Kingfish being released to grow!
Topwater - Topwater is another technique that is very demanding when targeting Kingfish, but one of the most rewarding with the sight of a big Kingfish or group of Kingfish breaking the surface will never be forgotten. Medium to large size stickbaits and poppers work great. Mix up your retrieves to find out what the Kingfish want on the day which also includes lure size and action. Try and target pressure points where current meets structure and keep in mind that Kingfish seem to be more active when the current is running harder.
Kingfish are know to release well even from deeper water.
Landbased - Kingfish are also a viable target landbased. Headlands, jettys and breakwalls are all prime Kingfish habitats. Live baits floated out under balloons and corks are a common technique, but topwater can also be productive. Land based tackle should comprise of longer rods between 7-10ft. A good quality lever drag overhead reel filled with 15-24kg monofilament for abrasion resistance is highly recommended. Hang on, because a large landbased kingfish is one the hardest species to land in the ocean.
Always remember when chasing Kingfish that you might be catching 60cm rats but that can quickly change into a 130cm 20kg+ beast at any time, stay focussed and when it happens hang on!
- Craig Hanlon - eCommerce Administrator at Motackle & Outdoors