There aren’t many fish that can compare to the kingfish. Its speed and raw power often leave fishermen drooling for more, usually with broken lines and lost tackle. And while there is a wide array of techniques used to catch this particular pelagic, few can compare to the thrill of catching them land-based.
I’d had my sights set on catching a Kingfish since moving to Sydney earlier this year. Being new to the game and needing as much intel on technique, gear and location I headed straight to Sal over at Tackle International. After a few lengthy conversations my excitement was higher than ever and I could hardly wait to get my gear set up and get a bait in the water. I was going to need some heavy gear, even a rat kingfish can make solid rods feel like toothpicks. I’d decided that due to the location I was fishing I’d need a bit of length in my rod, so I whipped out my Wilson Fishing beach and rock series 13ft and wound on my ATC valiant 5000 with 58lb ATC Salt alliance braid. I followed this up with 100lb leader the length of the rod down to a Tackle International 5/0 circle hook with a Snell knot, I was ready to face the almighty kingfish.
The week felt like an eternity leading up the day I would attempt my first kingfish, with each day I grew more and more impatient until finally it came. 3.00 am and my alarm starts blaring like sirens in the in the night, I leapt from bed, racked up my gear and raced outside to find Sal waiting with a hot coffee and a keen grin. We arrived at our location at 4.30am leaving ourselves plenty of time to catch our bait before sunrise. Squid was our target, Sal had already informed me if I wanted to catch a kingfish, I’d need squid and he couldn’t stress this detail enough as if it were imperative to my success. This made me nervous as I’d never caught my own squid before and taking on two completely new methods in the same day could prove to be a challenge but I was in good hands, and under Sal’s careful coaching I landed my first of many Sydney squid.
We had our share of bait, alive in our live bait net and the sun had just started to creep over the horizon to greet us with a warm glow as the light danced off the subtle waves across the harbour, it was time to set our baits.
After showing me the technique of hooking the squid, we sent our lines into the cold watery depths, set our drags and began the long anxious wait for the screaming sound to ring through our heads and fill our bodies with adrenaline.
Every twitch of my rod tip set me on edge, keeping me wandering if it was bream and leatherjacket making the most of an easy squid meal or if my squid was watching a prowling kingfish swimming to close for comfort. At long last after a few solid rod bounces from my panicked squid the reel began to howl. I darted over to it, heaving the rod up whilst clutching the spool in the palm of my hand and setting the hook into the jaws of a kingfish. I pulled up and the fish pulled down with outstanding force, I thought for sure I had hooked a monster. After an intense game of tug-o-war and Sal’s help netting fish I finally landed my first Sydney kingfish. Measuring in at 67cm it was hardy a giant and at this size, was often referred to as a rat.
I was amazed by the sheer amount of force a fish this size could exert in such quick bursts, I was hooked and could not wait to do it all again.
If you’re lucky enough to catch yourself a legal sized kingfish and decide to treat the family to a delicious meal why not click on the mouth-watering recipes and give it a try? You can even send in your own recipes for everyone to enjoy!