Species Article: Kingfish in Australia
The yellowtail kingfish is a species much sought after by anglers who like a challenge. When hooked, a yellow kingfisher will put up a masterful fight, and the species is renowned for fighting dirty. Read on for some tips on finding this strong, brave and beautiful fish.
Kingfish are a pelagic species; torpedo shaped with a bright yellow tail, a dark silver/green back, a gold stripe along their flank, a white belly and yellow fins.
They can be found in cool temperate oceans throughout the world and in Australia they are distributed in the subtropical waters off southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the southern and south-western coast of Western Australia.
In these areas you’ll find them on offshore reefs and in close round the rocks. They like clean water and are likely to hang around structures and wrecks. You’ll also often find them under floating debris where they feed off bait fish. Younger fish weighing up to about 7kg gather in large schools, while larger fish (they can grow to well over 20kg or more) are more solitary.
In New South Wales waters, schools of kingfish surface feed during the spring and summer months (from September until February) and schools feeding lower down can also be caught until June often by Jigging or bait fishing. The larger fish are more likely to be found offshore during autumn and winter.
Kingfish feeding close to the surface will take live bait such as squid, garfish and slimy mackerel, and they will also take lures. Useful surface lures include poppers, or unweighted soft plastic lures such as slugs and stick baits which kingfish favour. For kingfish that are feeding deeper, consider using diving lures, or heavily weighted soft plastic lures. Jigging has also become a popular way of angling for kingfish offshore. Ocean Storm Fishing tackle Online Shop stocks a good variety of lures, poppers and jigs designed to target kingfish.
A kingfish when hooked close to the shore will head at speed for the nearest rocks, and a kingfish caught on a jig in offshore waters will dive for the bottom. To avoid a kingfish taking off with your tackle, it’s important to have strong gear: line strength at least 8 kilograms, a spool large enough to support the line, and with adequate drag strength, and good thick hooks.
Kingfish is one of the best sport fish available in the subtropical waters of Australia. They provide an exhilarating tussle when hooked and if captured have superb eating qualities.
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