Big kings create havoc
  |  First Published: December 2012

There have been some very solid kingfish encounters along the coast, especially off the headlands from Newport to Dee Why and there have been some monsters among them.

Fish over a metre have been encountered on many outings.

The best way to find kingfish along the coast is the same strategy I use in Pittwater, downrigging live bait.

While trolling at slow speed we also cast lures and retrieve them at breakneck speed. The combination of working the surface and the depths is very productive and if the fish refuse to eat, we simply move to the next area.

On a recent charter one of our clients, Mohammad, said it was his first time trying for kingfish. The first few areas were very bare but about 9am the downrigged live yellowtail got smashed.

That Saragosa 8000 reel is loaded with 60lb braid and I set 12kg of drag on the reel but this fish had the spool turning as if it was in free spool! Mohammad finally managed to stop the fish but seconds later it was in the reef.

I powered up to the fish and we were lucky that it then darted back off the reef. A further five minutes passed with Mohammad taking everything in his stride and finally we were able to bring aboard a kingfish that measured just under 120cm.

After a few photos this majestic fish was returned to the water to fight another day. Mohammad, you are a legend in my eyes because not many bream fishermen would release their first ever kingfish, especially one of that size.

The bigger kingfish along some parts of our coast have suffered from milky, mushy flesh so releasing the fish after a few photos is a sound option. I’ve asked around the traps about the milky flesh and was informed that there had been kings captured recently off Sydney that had been tagged off the Gold Coast. (The culprit is a microscopic protozoan called Kudoa that when heated releases an enzyme that breaks down the flesh. It’s prevalent from about Coffs Harbour northwards. – Ed)


The fishing along Broken Bay and Pittwater is starting to fire up a little. The run-in tide is still the best time to try for a kingfish because the warmer ocean water tends to liven up the fishing.

There aren’t masses of kingfish along Pittwater but areas such as The Supermarket, Bothams Reef, Longnose Point and Towlers Bay all have kings – but getting the squid to feed them is tricky to say the least.

Areas towards the mouth of the river such as Barrenjoey Headland, West Head, Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach weed beds are all places where we have recently caught squid.

The colour of the jigs doesn’t seem to matter too much at the moment but a jig with a flash of orange or pink should be a good starting point. With the squid being small, size 2.5 jigs are about the biggest you need unless you are going on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head.

Flathead are also starting to show up at most drop-offs along Pittwater. These wonderful fish are great for families to drift and drag bait along the bottom to take home a fresh feed.

For the more serious flathead fisher, the drop-off between Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach is working well with soft plastics. The bigger the plastic, the bigger the flathead; it really is amazing at what these fish will attack.

After a recent flathead run in 50m of water we were amazed at the numbers of fish that had smaller flathead in their stomachs.

The fish that had all of the usual prey in their stomachs, such as sand eels and smaller fish, but the majority had eaten smaller flathead. It just goes to show that if you are a small fish, you have many predators.

Broken Bay is really starting to fire with jewfish showing up around Juno Point, Flint and Steel, Gunya Point and Elanoras Bluff, to name just a few. The fish aren’t massive but there are some to 8kg if luck is on your side.

Use fresh, or better still live, squid, yellowtail or mullet. The change of the tide is best but if you are lucky they can appear at any time.

Flathead are also being encountered along the front of Umina Beach as well as in front of Pearl Beach. Again drifting along dragging pilchards on the bottom will produce some nice flathead.

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