Return of the King
  |  First Published: November 2010

The time has come for all keen fishos to get back on the water to catch some of the big kingfish that are on offer.

These fish amaze me every year and so far this year has been no different. We have already caught numerous kingfish between 85cm through to 96cm this season, as well as some bigger fish that have absolutely blown us away.

If you are after one of these bigger fish they often roam Pittwater, so they can be encountered at different spots each day.

Over the years I have found the lack of current causes the baitfish to move when they are harassed and of course the kingfish follow.

This gives everyone a chance at catching a kingfish especially if you are downrigging or covering a lot of ground by trolling.

When we target kingfish along Pittwater I have found the best bait by far is live squid. We catch big numbers of kingfish using live squid when fished next to live yellowtail. But if you can only manage some slimy mackerel for live baits the odds of kingfish are more 50/50.

Recently we had Dave Hadju and his mate, Shaun, aboard for a Pittwater charter targeting kingfish.

The day started pretty slow with squid being a bit of a task to catch. Finally after two and a half hours we ran into a patch of arrow squid that were willing to feast on our squid jigs.

With five squid in the live well we hit our first area for the day.

I set out the first bait on the downrigger and before I could deploy our second bait the first was devoured. After a spirited fight a 72cm kingfish was bought aboard.

The next pass saw another hit but before the rod could be removed from the rod holder, the kingfish had found some familiar territory and smashed us into the reef.

After a frantic re-rig, another bait was dropped to the depths and another pass was made.

This time Shaun hooked up to a smaller kingfish of 67cm and when he bought it to the surface a pair of larger kingfish shadowed him.

With a quick flick of a 9” white Sluggo, Dave was onto a bigger model.

Dave fought the fish extremely well and after about 10 minutes a very decent 91cm kingie was flapping on the floor. It was a great fight, especially on the lighter outfit.

With smiles everywhere and the last two baits down, the next pass saw another fish lost, but Shaun later nabbed another keeper.

We had taken a total of three hours to secure our live squid and after just an hour and a half we has used all our bait.

We did catch another squid and were lucky enough to convert the livie into yet another kingfish.

The final score for the day was Anglers 5 vs Kingfish 3, with 8 chances at decent fish, and lots of smiles.

Thanks for joining us Dave and Shaun and I hope that we will see you again soon.

On charter I am often asked if we have to catch live squid why do I also carry frozen squid?

If we can get a double hook up on kingfish we can often feed some of the other fish in the school with a dead squid. I believe the other following kingfish will eat the frozen variety because they think their mate has just expelled it and it is therefore safe to eat.

This only seems to work when there are followers about while the hooked fish are being brought to the boat. Once the hooked fish have been caught it’s back to the live ones.

The area to hit the kingfish varies from day to day but Towlers Bay or Longnose Point are good places to start. If the kings are going to pop up for some surface activity this western side of the river is the best bet.

The squid are still very tricky to catch at the moment, but in the next month the small finger sized squid that are around will grow and become easier targets.

The only area that I have regularly found any squid has been at West Head and on the ocean side of Barrenjoey.

The bright lure colours are working well. Orange has been the standout colour when the squid can be found.

Scotland Island on the northern side is producing some decent captures of trevally and the odd flathead.

Flathead are being caught once again at The Hill and also along the drop-off at Soldiers Point and Palm Beach drop-off.

All of these areas are suitable for soft plastics and by using some larger soft plastics you may also encounter a jewfish.

The fishing at Barrenjoey Headland is also firing with salmon, tailor, kingfish and the odd bonito being caught.

The salmon have been caught using small minnows and soft plastics while the tailor have been pulled from the washy areas with 25g metals.

Kingfish have been caught on live yellowtail or squid but they seem to be feeding deep on most days.

The fishing along our coast should see schools of kingfish once again and areas such as Long Reef will see both kingfish as well as snapper being caught.

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