Kings relish Summer heat
  |  First Published: February 2008

Hot and sticky, isn’t it? It’s uncomfortable weather for us humans but a bit of a turn-on for local fish.

Another fish that relishes Summer heat and seems to have an inexhaustible supply of energy is that delinquent with a criminal record as long as your arm, the yellowtail kingfish. This street thug carries no fear and pokes its nose into every corner of our rivers and estuaries, spoiling for a fight.

I have seen kings attack a school of bait right up the end of Pittwater in McCarrs Creek, where water is only around 50cm deep. Kings are experts at herding small schools of mullet and whiting into a beach before launching a full-scale blitzkrieg.

So how do we go about getting into this action? Firstly, you have to own an alarm clock. Kingfish start well before daylight and if you want to see these beasts breaking the surface attracting every living seagull within 5km to the carnage, you have to wake well before sunup.

I love using artificials. Soft stickbaits and floating surface poppers are two of my favourites. With their buzzing propellers, fizzers are also great fun to use. Seeing a king totally demolish a topwater lure is some of the best fun you can have with your trousers on.

You’ll find kings around moorings, jetties, wharves, old moored boats, buoys and channel markers. What they’re looking for is bait and you have to remember bait always hangs around structure.

When you do spot the rampaging gang, do a guesstimate where they’re heading and cast ahead. Exercise courtesy to those in other boats who might also be working the school.

Use the rod tip to impart a jerky action to the lure and resist the urge to wind. Turn the reel handle only to take back slack line.

When you do get a hook-up, all the instruction in the world won’t help in the fight. These never-say-die thugs will lead you a merry dance around mooring ropes, pylons, poles, in fact any structure within coo-ee. They fight long, hard and dirty.

Keep pressure on the line and try to impart some authority because if the king thinks for one minute it’s the boss, it’s goodbye fish.

A couple of decent size kings in a session is the same as a good workout at the gym. Arms ache, the back feels like you’ve mixed concrete all day and hands are left with no feeling. But it’s fantastic fun and I can’t help but keep coming back for more.

Let’s have a gander at what has been happening on the pleasant pastures on Sydney’s north side.


It seems every rocky headland has been teeming with kingfish. Michael Beck found fish from 70cm to 80cm plus a few monsters he couldn’t stop. Water temperature was 22° and full of small slimy mackerel and flying fish. Michael said the slimies were like Tim Tams to the kings, which wolfed them down as if there was no tomorrow.

Warren Williams from the Port Hacking Deep Sea Fishing Club caught a pearl perch that weighed 3.99kg gilled and gutted in deep water off Cronulla. Club president Steve Lalor weighed the magic fish.

How about the yellowfin bream, taken from Dee Why Beach on a whole ganged pilchard, that weighed 2.01kg cleaned.

Apart from the odd surgeon fish spoiling the fun, luderick anglers have been doing well off the rocks when seas allow. There’s heaps of ocean cabbage around so use this prime bait in a sand/weed berley mix.

Blue swimmer crabs seem to be everywhere in the Hawkesbury. What the rain will do to them I don’t know but get in now for a feed of these delicious crustaceans. Boil them up in seawater and serve with a crisp salad, a cold Chardonnay and fresh, crunchy bread.

I have an unconfirmed report of a 27kg kingfish taken from Pittwater after dark on a whole squid bait. Can anyone shed some light on this wonderful capture and hopefully confirm it?

Narrabeen Lake is firing, with more reports of chunky bream, solid flathead and some wonderful whiting but, alas, no jew taken recently after a few were caught before Christmas.

Small blackfish are working the channel and holiday anglers are getting plenty of downs.

I have been accused by some of writing doom and gloom occasionally but I always try to reflect what’s been happening here, with no frills or glamour. If it ain’t happening, then there’s no use in trying to glitz it up.

I receive many reports from other fishos on the north side (to whom I am deeply indebted) and from these observations I pen the monthly column. What you read is as close as I can get to the fishing scene at present time.

Monthly tip: When float-fishing and wind is a problem, add weight just under the bottom of the float so just the tip is showing. This stops drag and also increases the sensitivity of the float.

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