Botany kingfish dreaming
  |  First Published: December 2003

SUMMERTIME on Botany Bay and the local fishos dream of the mighty yellowtail kingfish that return each Spring and stay with us until mid-June.

Kingfish provide plenty of fast action and dirty play and I just love to watch my clients running from one side of the boat to the other as a solid king uses all the tricks in the book to get away.

Last month I explained where to look for your kingie bait and this is the key in catching your share of kings. Whether you fish the Harbour, Botany Bay or the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, fresh squid and live yellowtail are must.

To find kings you must think structure, which can be in the form of a reef, a deep, sandy drop-off or one of the many artificial structures that are everywhere in our waterways. These are the hunting grounds for the kings because smaller prey like squid and yellowtail inhabit these spots.

The combo that works well for me is a Shimano Charter Special reel spooled with 15kg Schneider and a Taipan 60 boat rod, but as the size of the fish is increasing each year and we lost a few rippers last year, I might fish a little heaver this season. Heavier tackle prevents losing a fish and having it swimming around with line tailing behind. The heaver line will also help you land your fish, remove the hooks and release them after a few photos. If you want to keep one for the table, make sure you bleed the fish and put it on ice immediately.

The rig is simple: Trace of about one metre, a 6/0 live-bait style hook and a quality swivel to prevent line twist, plus a barrel sinker to fish straight under the boat. I find squid great if the kings are on their game and yellowtail if you have to wait a while for a strike.

This is why I like to fish with two outfits with different baits. Stand the rods in the rod holder and allow the kings to hook themselves while you target trevally or bream. This method provides me with plenty of action throughout the season.

Remember to keep only what you need. Don’t over-fish the stocks and we will have plenty of great angling in years to come. The minimum legal size for kings is 60cm and there’s a bag limit of five per person.

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