Better kings turning up
  |  First Published: May 2009

Some wonderful fishing has been experienced over the past month offshore and in Pittwater.

In Pittwater we are still catching kingfish along the river, including some great fish.

Ian Miller recently organised a day on the water for some of his family and a great day was had by all. The capture of the day went to Emma, who caught a 76cm kingfish on 6kg tackle.

We were drifting for flathead near Mackeral Beach when the king hit like a train, swallowing the prawn bait. The fight lasted for a good five minutes.

This kind of scenario happened again the following day and will recur often over the coming month.

It seems at this time of year the kings that are left inside the river will eat a variety of baits. Over the past month we have caught kings on the usual squid and yellowtail but also on bread, prawns and small whitebait.

The best way to track down these better kingfish has still been to catch live squid or small cuttlefish and troll them on a downrigger until you find balled-up baitfish. If you find the baitfish balled up there are usually decent predators around that can be tempted.

If you find decent soundings of predators near structure, these are usually the bigger kingfish but they can be extremely hard to tempt.

Berley in these circumstances can be more of a hindrance than a help because it usually attracts leatherjackets, batfish, sweep and mados. If you throw around soft plastics and poppers while drifting with a live bait set just out of sight, you can normally attract an inquiry.

The idea is to make a fair amount of commotion to spark the fish into a feeding mode.

There are some decent tailor near Barrenjoey as well as some bonito, both of which are smashing trolled minnow lures, especially in mackerel green colour.

The tailor can also be caught by casting metal lures of 20g to 50g into the washes.

Squid have been getting a little harder to track down inside Pittwater but have been easy to find near Barrenjoey Head on the ocean side.

Most of the squid from this area have been falling for olive or blue jigs with orange still catching the odd one. Use a paternoster rig with two droppers and when you find a patch of the calamari squid, you can normally catch two at once.

Just remember to wear some old clothes or avoid ink jets by grabbing them near the head – and ensuring they’re pointed the other way!


Over the past month we finally caught some decent mahi mahi. Richard McCullam and his group of merry men recently had a blast of a charter.

We headed out early with a tank full of big slimy mackerel and yellowtail to a FAD in 420 feet. As we pulled up we saw on the sounder a school of baitfish that was balled up and 320’ thick.

The first bait over the side instantly produced a hook-up on the first of many decent dollies. The bite lasted for about three hours before all went quiet.

Richard was holding a Shimano Tekota 800 spooled with 10kg mono when he said he kept getting takes but the fish wasn’t hooking up, what should he do?

I asked him to bring the fish back into the spread slowly and see what happened.

Richard wound the panicking slimy back into the spread and this time the fish hit hard and it was evident from the screaming reel this was no mahi mahi.

Then the other slimy was hit and a second marlin started stripping line off the 15kg outfit. Unfortunately the pair of jumping fish crossed lines, cutting the 15kg outfit.

Richard continued his fight for another 30 minutes before the hooks pulled while the fish was fighting deep.

After the adrenaline had finished washing through our bodies, we set out a spread of more livies but kept catching dollies.

With all livies gone, we set out a spread of lures and headed back towards home.


Half an hour into our trip the dolly rod was hit by a striped marlin which jumped erratically throughout the fight. We were almost spooled three times and had to chase the fish at 18 knots to get any line back at one stage.

After an hour the fish was bought boatside for measuring and photographs before release. The measurements had the fish weighing just under 120kg, a top effort on the10kg mono outfit.

The following weeks have produced similar charters punctuated by big seas and strong winds.

Out wide and at Browns Mountain, big yellowfin tuna have been caught as well as some very sizeable blue marlin by some of the bigger boats.

Along the coast there are kingfish still to be caught, with some fish from the closer reefs almost a metre. The closer reefs from Long Reef through to East Reef are all having their day with live slimy mackerel and fresh squid working well.

The closer reefs are starting to produce some nice snapper but you have to be fishing before the sun rises because the leatherjackets and sweep have been destroying everything after the sun hits the water. Fresh squid is best but pilchards are catching the odd fish.

Kingfish jigging should fire up this month with the fish heading out to deeper water as the month progresses.

Terrigal, the Narrabeen wrecks, Long Reef and the 12 Mile are just a few areas worth exploring over June.

Remember, though, to lower only one jig at a time when you arrive over a new patch of reef or baitfish.

Last year there were heaps of leatherjackets around that would snip off the lures on the drop and the lesson was quickly learnt to lose only one at a time.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 0410 633 351 or visit www.estuaryfishing.com.au.

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