The elusive Kingfish

I’ve never caught a Kingfish from the beach. I’ve hooked a couple from the rocks before, but 10 seconds worth of reel scream and a busted line is not all that satisfying.
IMG_4122So this month I’ve been trying to set that right by targeting Kingi’s from the beach.
Esk river mouth has a history of producing Kingfish action, so with sliding traces and bait-fish buckets we have been busy trying to tempt the green and yellow terrors.
Live baits in the form of small Kahawai and YEM’s (Yellow Eye Mackerel) up to about 200mm in length are considered to be ‘Kingfish snacks’ .

You can see the bait fish (and sometimes the Kings) cruising in the surf around the river mouth. The theory is to capture a few of these small fish and send them back out with a hook through their skin so that Mr Kingfish will swallow one and thus be hooked himself.

Live baits read for despatch

Live baits read for despatch

In theory it sounds pretty simple. In reality its actually fraught with problems.
First you would think catching and keeping a few bait fish and storing them in a bucket as ready-to-go Kingfish lollies sounds simple enough.  Frustration sets in as you can see the buggers swimming up and down the waves but managing to hook them on a string of sabiki bait flies is a challenge in itself. We did manage to catch a few  (live baits) on our first day out but they were not interested at all on day two.

We were “slide-baiting” which is attaching your livey to the mainline via a longish trace and a clip-swivel. The livebait and trace ‘slides’ down the mainline into the water and eventually gets right down to the sinker end where a Kingi finds it and eats it… In theory.

We did manage to get a couple of live baits out but no Kingfish found them enticing enough to eat. Instead a large Kahawai decided to eat one and while it spat out the (now very dead) live bait it did manage to hook itself, so the system does work, sort of.

I’m still going to chase the kings, as I’ve said, I’ve never caught one and its on my bucket list 🙂

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