Kings in the game plan
  |  First Published: December 2005

This is prime time. The mornings are bliss as you head for a day’s fishing on the Bay and as with most anglers at this time of year, I’m usually thinking of kingfish.

So are the clients who join me each week and the many people who call me. The first question is normally, “Are the kingies on?”

Good numbers of kings move into the Bay to feed on the massive schools of bait this month and are rather easy to catch at times, but some days you will work hard to find them.

It’s important, though, not to put all your efforts into one fish. Have a game plan and pick two or three species to target. So here are three species, the rigs for each and the areas that produce for me each week in Botany Bay.


To hook and land a kingie, and the first thing you need is quality bait – live yellowtail, small slimy mackerel or live or fresh squid,

Second is the right tackle for the job. It’s no good targeting powerful fish on light tackle. Sure, you will land a few but you may lose that fish of a lifetime if you aren’t geared up to handle strong, dirty fighters like kings.

I use outfits from 15kg to 20kg and I know 20kg sounds a little heavy but last year we landed quite a few fish up around 10kg and you are normally fishing close to structure. And remember that you are fishing for a species that grows to 30kg.

I use tackle that handles most of the fish that I hook in a season fishing around Botany Bay. It’s not top-shelf but it’s quality – a Shimano Tekota 500 or 600 spooled with 16kg Schneider line on rods like the Taipan 66 Jig Spin.

This also doubles as a nice deep-water outfit if you decide to drift for snapper or sand flathead in 45 to 50 metres just out of the Bay.

To find kingies in Botany Bay, fish any deep water around structure and you are in with a chance. Kingfish have a legal length of 60cm and a bag limit of five per person.


Early morning as I head towards the bait ground I never stop looking for schools of tailor, which will be working somewhere in the Bay. Finding feeding birds is the best way to find them.

I lay out a spread of lures and troll the area. If that is unsuccessful I work the area with small metal slices, spending up to an hour before moving off.

Tailor need to be bled and put on ice. They’re great on the barbie in foil and best eaten fresh. Legal length is a rather small 30cm and there’s a bag limit of 20 per person but take only what you need.


So after, say, one hour spinning, another hour chasing kingfish bait and then trying two or three kingie spots, it will be around 10.30am – time for bream.

Bream start their breeding season in December and I find that as long as the water is moving, you are in with a great chance of finding a few.

Bream feed across the vast shallows of Botany Bay and it’s just a matter of dropping the anchor and casting out four outfits. The rig is rather simple: A No 5 ball sinker, a long trace, No 1 one hook and bloodworms or nippers as bait.

Tackle that suits bream and spinning for tailor includes something like a Shimano 3500 BaitRunner spooled with 6kg line and a Taipan 6’6” light spin rod. Having one rod that suited to spinning and bait fishing keeps it simple.

Learn your species know when they spawn and when they move about. Find the best baits or lures that work on them, what time of day they bite best, what time of year is best and so on. If you’re a keen fisho there’s nothing better than working out just what a species likes and then they become easier to target.

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