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Catching Kingfish on Live baits with Drew
2:48PM 1st Jun 18

Getting out on the water feels primal. I’m only a year into kayak fishing and with every journey out into the ocean I grow a deeper understanding and a connection to its powerful life force. Just like me, the inhabitants of the ocean are all looking for their next meal. Using the food chain to target the Mighty King has seen some good mid-morning catches this March.

Up until recently I hadn’t exclusively fished my local spots for Kingfish using live bait. Over the summer I pulled one into the yak from the middle of Doubtless Bay in the Far North. It was an addictive battle, the King fights dirty and will take you straight to the bottom in a relentless contest, your reel screams and your kayak gets a free tow. I just craved a good fish fight closer to home. Lucky for me the Kingfish like to hang around islands, reefs and rocky shorelines. This makes them common around the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and regular visitors in my local “quick fish” haunts.

Kingfish from kayak nz

A few Sundays back I looked out the window, the sea was like glass. I prepared my Viking Profish Reload and launched of Arkles Bay with no plan other than to let the birds guide me. As the Tern’s dove into the blue, I sat on the outskirts and hooked up the young Kahawai who were aggressively pursuing their meal of Anchovies. Casting a 4 inch soft bait with a ¼ Catch jig head into the centre of the action proved a quick method of filling the live bait tank. Targeting Jack Mackerel on the Sabiki rig just seemed too hard when your odds of a panny Snapper below the workup are just as high as a small Kahawai that can lure a decent Kingfish. A win-win outcome. While softies and jigs have earnt their place in the tacklebox, the Kahawai liveys now provide the great thrill.

Viking kayaks have a very useful Twin Tackle pod with live bait well built in that allows easy transport of live baits and all your tackle - Check it out HERE

Unlike a delicate Piper or a Jack Mackerel, the young Kahawai can take more abuse in the handling stage. Keeping the live bait on the line is key to the catch, I’ve found the sweet spot between the eye and the nostril, identifiable but its translucent appearance ideal for bait up. I make sure the hook points to the leader line as Kingfish have no teeth so will naturally target the soft head of its prey over the spiky tail. A deep drop catches the Kings and they are often on the hook before the live bait runs out of puff. You can feel the fear of the livey through the rod as it tries to run… the line jitters before the Kingi strikes. A 94cm fish on in under 8m of water, it seems the abundance of Anchovies this season are bringing the Kingfish in close.

 Kingfish from viking kayak

A few weeks later I completed the chain again. I let the birds guide me to the schools of tiny fish, so I could catch a small fish on a softie. I place a shiny hook strategically through the small fish and throw it back in as a livey, so it can bring me a bigger fish hopefully… and it did, I pulled a 92cm Kingi aboard the Reload. I found Kingfish success along the Whanagaparaoa coastline by keeping it simple, trusting my new-found affinity with the ocean and using natures hierarchy to best target my catch.

Tips from Milan & Stephen - Big Angry Fish host, Milan joins Viking Kayaks, Stephen Tapp for a live bait session targeting Kingfish - read that article HERE