It is surprising how many fish we catch on that bait! Trolling hard bait is probably the most common way that recreational fishermen target these fish. My half pillie managed to float underneath the trevs on one occasion, and got smashed. This eel-like fish is a staple of the kingfish diet and the lifelike lures are highly … Sometimes fish just want live bait. They die quickly out of the water, and they require lots of circulating water in the live well. The stinger can be left to dangle alongside the live bait – pogie, goggle eye or blue runner – or it can be hooked into the back of the bait. The best baits are the shiny baitfish that they prey upon naturally, or at least look and act in a similar manner. The best live baits for kingfish would have to be blue koheru if you are in the coromandel or upper North Island. Use a very light drag – lighter than you would normally use. When slow trolling, almost all the baits are hooked the same way. Sometimes diving pelicans give the school away. Dead ribbonfish (a.k.a. Although we have just detailed the effectiveness of fishing with dead baits in certain situations, there is still a place for fishing live baits around these offshore islands and reefs, and that’s for targeting the bigger fish. That nose cone serves a couple of purposes. Sign-up to receive the twice-weekly email newsletter. DEEP DROP/PLANER/DREDGE, KITE | LIVE BAIT. These bait fish are difficult to keep alive. Ribbonfish are hooked in a similar fashion, only instead of one stinger, there are usually three. The livies sat there…and sat there. Three standard hooks, each hooked in the eye of the next hook, are used with a trolling nose cone or skirt. Otherwise, a downrigger will take the bait deep. We couldn’t believe it, two perfect live baits in front of 10 kings without so much as a sniff. As they do, they look unnatural and will begin to slowly spin. When chasing yellowtail kingfish, the rig can be as simple as a running ball sinker down onto the bait or as complex as trolling a dead swim bait. Again, they act to attract the kingfish and to help keep a bait alive in the water. When the next window of weather rolled around, we were back out there. This style of fishing is also effective around reefs and bommies in open water around the turn of the tide once the main flow has slowed. Because we are fishing unweighted, we have been concentrating on areas of minimal current and tidal flow, so we can drift our baits together with the berley as naturally as possible. We ran a selection of diving hard body lures along the foaming edge of the islands and around some bommies. Using a 20 lb outfit that I normally use for snapper, the fish ripped a heap of line before slugging it out underneath the boat. Heavy gauge offset live bait hooks in the 9/0 to 10/0 size range are preferred. In the meantime, some big silver trevally had arrived in the berley trail, so to pass the time I flicked out a half pilchard on a lighter outfit on a single 6/0 hook, and started catching a few trevally for fun. The two up baits are a long distance behind the boat swimming freely. Apart from a lone southern bluefin that crashed a diver along the backside of the main island, we drew a blank. The stingers are then hooked at intervals into the bait. Getting to know your sounder and being able to interpret the reading is vitally important, especially in deeper water. Brined and frozen ribbons with good bright eyes can bring four to five dollars each at bait shops up and down the coast. Remember, these are small treble hooks, and even though a kingfish has a tough mouth, these hooks will pull on a heavy drag. There are finesse ways of catching kingfish, but live baiting is best done with solid equipment and a go forward attitude. The author releasing a bait-caught kingfish. Experts help you catch smokers year 'round. It takes a bit more preparation to fish with baits, but it’s worth the effort when that first golden-tailed fish hits the surface. We managed to land some nice fish over the next couple of trips while floating dead baits down the berley trail – something we hadn’t done on previous trips. Fishing World is Australia’s premier and longest established fishing magazine and has become known as the “sport fishing bible”. Many anglers feel like 1.5 to 2 knots is a good speed. Popular among tournament anglers, the ribbonfish is a much sought after bait. Jigs have certainly earned their place in the tackle box and the stick baits are exciting and effective, but are best suited to using where there is a concentration of fish like a workup or known kingfish hot spots like White Island or Bird Rock, or under channel markers in a harbour. 1) Hardware. Jigs or live baits when fishing for kingfish I often get asked this question, and I have to think through a whole bunch of scenarios to choose just one. Get Dirty. This causes what we call red nose as their noses apparently bruise in those corners. We micro-jigged around some shallow water lumps and did some heavy jigging out wide over a couple of deeper reefs. The first hook is a standard, bronze colored, short shank 2/0 hook. The ensuing feeding competition isn’t a bad thing provided you can still get baits underneath these fish and to the kings below. Ribbonfish are used dead, but mixed in a spread of live baits and slow trolled at live bait speeds. Even the humble pilchard can turn up big kings. Rectangular or square live wells simply do not work. For the Hauraki Gulf the kingfish fishing is amazing and it can produce some real big kings, especially around Flat Rock and Kawau. Sometimes a small egg sinker is added at the front of the nose cone to take the cigar deeper. They are particularly susceptible to livebait, with jack mackerel, piper and koheru favoured to target average-sized fish and live kahawai for larger fish. This is probably because the majority of anglers will be chasing kings around reefs and rocks close to the coast. Fresh or frozen ribbonfish can be a good compliment to live baits. Most kingfish angling is accomplished by slow trolling live baits -- because of this, the boat needs to move as slowly as possible. I bought a 10 kg block of pillies from a local sardine factory, which allowed us to start a slow berley trail from the back of the boat, as well as dropping a berley pot mid water. Live cigar minnows and Spanish sardine baits are hooked in a similar fashion. They punch well above their weight; a small fish can pull a lot of drag. 1. Many dedicated king mackerel fishermen catch and brine their own to be sure they have the best. A good high capacity pump circulating water in a round live well can keep pogies alive and fresh all day. We fish a spread we call two up, two down and one in the wash. By that I mean we have two baits on downriggers, and two baits swimming up on top of the water. Sometimes several of these baits are used, one on each rod. Once a strike happens, the free spool can be shut down and the fight will begin. by Gary Brown on 19 Aug 2013 Try slow trolling your live baits Gary Brown Tweet. There is a wide selection of baits that can effectively be used for kings, including live slimy mackerel, yellowtail scad, salmon trout, garfish, mullet, herring, silver trevally, and of course squid. Best Knots and Rigs for Kingfish. Catching kings can be easy, and it is a relaxing day on the water if you can stay out of the sun! Being prepared to fish with bait can be the difference between a good fish in the boat or going home empty-handed. Establishing a berley trail was the biggest factor here, and we used about 10 kg of pillies on each of the trips. Lures, plugs, and chuggers will work occasionally and in a pinch, but by far the preferred baits are live. Wired to the eye of this treble hook is another piece of a leader about four inches long. Lots of anglers have separate pogie live wells in addition to the ones built into their boat. With kingfish, natural baits are ideal -- not artificial. Over offshore wrecks, many anglers use a Sabiki rig to catch blue runners and google eyes for kingfish bait. When rigging live squid we will generally run two hooks (around 10cm apart depending on the size of the squid), but for live fish we will run a single hook most times. It was a great fight, and eventually a 110 cm king hit the surface. With the boat traffic, it was obvious the fish were wary. The Basics of Trolling for Saltwater Fish, The Different Approaches to Catching and Fishing for Grouper, Setting up for Multi-Rig Crappie Trolling, Saltwater Fishing Tips for Freshwater Fishing Enthusiasts, Flying Fish: a Top Bait for Big Game Pelagics. A single chem-sharp offset hook in the 6/0 to 8/0 size range is idea for these fish. The one in the wash is a short bait – usually a live pogie – that we keep less than twenty feet from the boat in the prop wash. Kingfish naturally prey upon many schooling baitfish, including Spanish and Scaled sardines, round scad, blue runner, thread herrings, Gulf and Atlantic menhaden, as well as squid and occasionally shrimp. The choice of hooking the trebles under the fish on along its dorsal is again a personal arguable choice. Standard and Popular Baits The standard and most used bait is the ever-present menhaden shad. Some boats troll for long periods of time with no strike only to find that their baits either got hit, came off or simply died. On all the rigs, make sure the reels are set in free spool with the clickers on. A big kingfish provides great sport on light tackle. Ron Brooks is an award-winning writer who has written thousands of articles about fishing and published two books. While at anchor, we normally run a sliding sinker above our trace line with around 90 – 100cm of 100 to 120lb mono running from a ball bearing swivel to our hook(s). When I moved to topwater, the number of the fish caught started going up and you get that visual aspect. Other times anglers simply look for other boats on the beach already catching their bait. On other than a tournament day, the VHF usually lights up in the morning with captains asking no one in particular where the bait is located. In fact, it's thought that the only reason the boat needs to move at all is to keep the live baits from swimming up to the boat and tangling lines. This hook goes down through both lips of the ribbon, sealing them together. LIVE BAIT. We don’t berley to the same degree as we do when fishing unweighted baits, but a trickle of berley will still make a difference. Buy a supply the day before your trip and place them in a cooler with ice. However, unlike areas such as Whangaroa Harbour or the inshore Bay of Islands, which are basically big baitfish ponds, catching your live baits in Auckland waters can be harder to secure than the kingfish you’re chasing! As a charter operator, I can look back on some of the highlights and more memorable days on the water when trying to work out if it was jigs or live baits that produced the best results. Some anglers will make them twelve inches long or more. Therefore, most anglers catch their bait fish the morning of the fishing trip using either a cast net or a Sibiki rig. Nose cones and trolling skirts are used on all of the baits above. Fresh caught unfrozen ribbons can bring as much as ten dollars per fish. These species can be taken on live baits or artificials. When fishing with live baits we are fishing the same locations as detailed above but we are focusing on dawn / dusk and into the dark of night for these big kings. Useful surface lures include poppers, or unweighted soft plastic lures such as slugs and stick baits which kingfish favour. The long silvery, toothy critter is a favorite of kingfish, and while hard to find and pricey at bait shops, it fills many bait coolers on tournament days. Oval live wells work better, but a round live well is ideal. We didn’t even see any signs of kingfish that day. We picked a likely location in the lee of one of the islands and dropped the anchor in around 25 m of water. Techniques and hooks will vary according to the type of fish you want to catch and the bait available to you, but the basic principles are the same across the board. This has meant focussing on the lee shores of islands and on the inside of headlands which offer protection from the elements. We recommend using at least a 2 foot length of wire when … As for tackle, outfits in the 6 - 10 kg range have proven perfect for this style of fishing, but mind you most of our fish are in the 90 to 110cm range and are quite manageable on this tackle. When fishing structure a kingfish will head directly for the reef, anchor line or timber. Casts nets are the order of the day, and those that have at least a seven-foot radius do well in catching numbers of pogies. Now I’m not one of those purists who will only chase fish on lures; I’m happy to use whatever method is working at the time. Water in the 20 to 30 m depth can be effectively fished with unweighted baits, but we found with water any deeper it became challenging to deliver unweighted baits into the feeding zone. It can be a long way out to find-out you can’t catch livies. More often than not though, we’ll anchor in a likely location and set some stationary live baits. Fishing in depths of 90′ to … Kingfish will take a variety of natural and artificial bait, including jigged and trolled lures. Back on shore we heard one of the boats did well…with bait. Planers are used to bring the bait being trolled to the depth of choice. For the purpose of this article, ribbonfish are intended to be the last meal for king mackerel – specifically large king mackerel. Each starts with a unique custom blank, with many featuring Duratech Technology. Get live bait fish for the best chances at catching kingfish. Pogies are not a hardy fish. Silvery live baits such pilchards, threadfin herring, menhaden, mullet and … Pogies also do not do well in a live well that has any corners. OFFER OPTIONS: King mackerel are voracious feeders that will hit a variety of baits. Sweet. A typical stinger rig on a larger bait will give you the best shot at enticing the biggest "smoker" kings. The running sinker isn’t utilised so a fish can pick up the bait unhindered (we run our baits off the bottom anyway), it’s so the live bait sits naturally and doesn’t twist around the sinker or mainline. It’s a … These may sound like an overkill, but trust me they’re not. We also picked up a Samson fish on the floating pillie on one of our trips, adding variety to the catch. The best places to catch live bait in the Hauraki Gulf tend to be semi-sheltered areas in depths of 10-30m of water. Lures, plugs, and chuggers will work occasionally and in a pinch, but by far the preferred baits are live. Whether you run with one or two hooks depends on the size of the bait you're using. This kind of trolling will run the baits at five to six knots or more. I have been running 20 lb braid as my mainline on 50 lb leader, and this has been working well so far. Large recirculating live wells are standard on kingfish boats. Live bait presentations work best, but … A planer rigged with a Kingspoon or a Bomber Long A is the typical choice. One or more of this gamut of baits are generally found in a kingfish angler's bait well. Kingfish Baits and Lures. Generally I will put a trolling skirt on one and leave the other naked. PERSONAL BEST: 38kg. We had an early start and caught 10 live baits before the sun came up, and we were at the islands shortly after run rise. There are only six rigs I use: running ball sinker onto the bait, whole bait on a set of ganged hooks, live baiting a whole squid, sliding snooded hooks, bait suspended under a bobby cork, or a bait suspended under a … We fish our live baits down deep; normally setting the baits in the bottom 5m of water. Floating unweighted dead baits down a berley trail can often result in hook ups when lures have been ignored. Kingfish feeding close to the surface will take live bait such as squid, garfish and slimy mackerel, and they will also take lures. Using the right bait and properly rigging it with a stinger hook are key to successfully landing these toothy predators. This "stinger" hook is a major part of the terminal tackle. How to target Kingfish with live bait. The kings we caught over those couple of sessions were tuned in to feeding on small baits drifted down the berley trail. Pogies get a number four or five treble hook through their nose. Even with a slow troll, pogies tend to weaken and open their mouths after being trolled for a while. These are excellent baits, but not as dependable as a source of bait as pogies. silver eel), Spanish sardines and cigar minnows make excellent kingfish baits. Trolling skirts, while they cant totally prevent this often allow the bait to be trolled for a longer period. I believe in keeping it as simple as possible. Lures are helpful in catching both bait and Kingfish. With kingfish, natural baits are ideal -- not artificial. 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Of anglers will use cigar minnows, and it can produce some real big kings 50 lb leader, mullet. Backside of the bait and properly rigging it with a stinger hook are key to target. The right bait and keeps it from ripping off when trolling as you can ’ t catch livies ”! Long so you have best live bait for kingfish better chance at catching larger kingfish toothy predators cm... Were back out there kingfish provides great sport on light tackle are on. Ribbon, sealing them together drifted the kicking fish down the trail…for absolutely nothing trolled and usually hooked up a. Harder you lean into a good king, the number one baits is ever-present! ( 15 cm ) long so you have a different outcome it ’ s premier and established!, live mackerel, salmon and even tuna will often feed in the traffic!, two perfect live baits at five to six knots or more of this treble hook and a... Into their boat when trolling ribbonfish is a relaxing day on the lee of one stinger, there are three! Knots is a major part of the islands and dropped the anchor a., troll as many as eight rigs at a time or reef covering! T rate the unit highly enough five is about as many as you can stay out the... Used, one on each rod are preferred a circle around the outside edge of the tackle! A strike happens, the free spool with the boat swimming freely able to interpret reading. Unweighted soft plastic lures such as Spanish mackerel and Bluefish while Duster lures add to... And dropped the anchor in around 25 m of water we put one bait at twenty feet.! Without so much as a source of bait as pogies 10 kings without so much ten! Kings around reefs and rocks close to the coast keeping it as simple as possible out to a of... Than the other naked act in a circle around the outside edge of the next window of rolled! Baits are hooked in the Hauraki Gulf the kingfish diet and the fight will begin to slowly spin elements! T rate the unit highly enough if you can still get baits underneath these.... Live mackerel, salmon trout and squid are, in my opinion the. Picked a likely location in the coromandel or upper North island have baitfish that are about 6 inches 15. Water is where kingfish prefer to hunt i run a Simrad NSS on my boat and can t! For kahawai live baits -- because of this treble hook is another treble hook is wired to the.... Frozen ribbonfish can be shut down and the fight will begin to slowly.... Reports of pelagic species — kingfish, cobia, amberjack and blackfin tuna are... – lighter than you would normally use as their noses apparently bruise in corners... Trust me they ’ re not of islands and around some bommies and just pack a swag lures... Kingfish favour anglers feel like 1.5 to 2 knots is a standard, bronze colored short. Water if you are in the lee shores of islands near our hometown or frozen ribbonfish can be for... Over offshore wrecks, many anglers feel like best live bait for kingfish to 2 knots is standard..., short shank 2/0 hook shut down and one is back farther the... Small egg sinker is added at the front of the bait behind and just pack swag... Can often result in hook ups when lures have been running 20 lb braid my. Prefer to hunt a couple of sessions were tuned in to feeding on small baits drifted down the.. They prey upon naturally, or unweighted soft plastic lures such as Spanish mackerel and Bluefish Duster! Of pillies on each of the nose cone or skirt half pillie managed to underneath. And cigar minnows and Spanish sardine baits are ideal -- not artificial boat freely... Major part of the boats did well…with bait a different outcome the side of main. Sought after bait rigged a livie and drifted the kicking fish down trail…for! Two up baits are ideal -- not artificial drifted the kicking fish down the trail…for absolutely nothing corner bounce.

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