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The pesky easterly winds have recently been causing a few headaches for local anglers wanting to go out wider into the kingfish grounds. So it has been a case of making the most of the weather windows and gaps.
Live baits are plentiful in the Bay, which means the kingfish are there.
Remember to fish sustainably. The legal limit of kingfish is three per person per day. Personally, I find this excessive. We have self-imposed a boat limit of one per person per day. We find that 95 percent of our customers are happy with this. Yes, we have turned people away who don’t want to adhere to our boat rules.
With regards to setting your live baits, we tend to hook the baits through the snout more often than not, especially if you are drifting quickly or trolling. For calmer or deeper drops, we hook through the back. We tend to use 1.5m of flouro-carbon trace, 10/0 circle hooks and 8 - 10oz ball sinkers.
We also use multicolored braid to get the live baits to the correct depths (via the sounder).
When you are set, it’s important not to strike. Let the circle hooks do their job. Allow the kingfish to run before applying drag. Once drag is applied, get the fish onboard as soon as you can. Remember, if you stop winding to take a break, you are also giving the fish a break. The fish will come in a lot easier if its head is towards the boat and not taking off in the other direction. Getting the fish in quickly also reduces the risk of getting sharked (the tax man is often never far away).
One you get the fish alongside, it’s good to have a second set of hands to handle it. Get used to assessing the size of the fish (kingfish has to be over 75cm). If in doubt, don’t use a gaf. Ensure if you are handling the fish or pulling it aboard, that you have gloves on. Braid in particular will cut through flesh like a hot cheese cutter though butter. Kingfish don’t have teeth that can damage you, so grabbing them by the jaw or gills is okay, but don’t forget there is a razor sharp 10/0 circle hook in their gob. You don’t want this in your hand.
Once on the deck, stand clear. The fish will often thrash about, destroying everything in its vicinity, and the big ones have a bit of weight behind them (not to mention the 10/0 hooks in their mouths).
Using a baton to stun the fish with a sharp blow to the top of the head often stops them thrashing. At the top of the head there is a “soft spot”, this is where you can “iki “the fish.
For best results, get the fish into an ice slurry straight away, gutted or not.
Remember to always keep an eye on the weather and water conditions. If in doubt, don’t go out.
Phone (021) 298 5750