KING­FISH

The warmer wa­ters also her­ald the ar­rival of our pre­miere game fish – the king­fish. They’re the street fight­ers of the New Zealand fish world and will beat up an un­pre­pared diver, tan­gling or break­ing gear while at­tract­ing ev­ery hun­gry bronze whaler in th

New Zealand Fishing World - - Spearfishing -

Here are my top five tips for fill­ing the BBQ with kingie steaks:

1 FIND CUR­RENT AND STRUC­TURE

The king­fish will never be found too far from schools of bait fish. Th­ese bait fish will con­gre­gate on the up-cur­rent edges of reefs or other struc­tures where nu­tri­ents are pushed past. Again, de­moi­selles are of­ten the first give­away but if you see mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent species school­ing in one area, es­pe­cially ko­heru, you know you’ve found the sweet spot.

2 DON’T CHASE THEM AND HIDE YOUR EYES

King­fish are ex­tremely curious but they still know a threat when they see one. Never swim di­rectly at the fish or eye­ball them. If you see them swim­ming while you’re on the sur­face, try to pick where they’re go­ing and dive to in­ter­cept them. Bet­ter yet, swim straight down and rest on the bot­tom wait­ing for them to come to you. Try to make your­self small against the rock or kelp and avoid eye con­tact. Throw­ing hand­fuls of sand, click­ing rocks or jig­gling your flop­per are good ways of lur­ing them in.

3

PICK YOUR SHOT

To ac­tu­ally land a king­fish your shot has to be spot on. If you shoot them in the stom­ach the chances are they will tear off. If you shoot them and don’t hurt them they could bend your spear or worse. Make sure you get as close as you pos­si­bly can be­fore you shoot – Hail Mary shots never stick on king­fish. When you aim try to punch the spear in about where its ear would be just be­hind the gill plate. That will go through lots of im­por­tant parts and if it doesn’t stone the fish out­right it will cer­tainly slow it down. It also means the fish is pulling in a straight line and is un­likely to bend your spear.

4 KEEP SWIM­MING INTO THE CUR­RENT

Once you’ve got your fish on make sure you keep swim­ming into the cur­rent as you pull line in. The power of a big king­fish has to be felt to be be­lieved and the last thing you want is for a loop of float­line to catch on your wrist, an­kle or neck as the fish makes a strong run. The place to fight the fish is to hold it just a couple of me­tres off the bot­tom. Play it gen­tly but do not give it any slack or let it get to the bot­tom. Once it has tired slowly pull it up hand over hand swim­ming for­ward the whole time so the line floats out be­hind you. Once you get to the fish, get your hand in its gills, wrap your legs around it and hug it to your chest while you iki it.

5

USE THE RIGHT GEAR

Whole ar­ti­cles are writ­ten about the right gear to tar­get kin­gies. Make sure you use a gun of at least 110mm bar­rel length with at least a 20mm di­am­e­ter rub­ber on it and use a stan­dard rope float­line with a 10 litre+ float. Don’t be talked into us­ing a blue­wa­ter rig with bungees for kin­gies as they are no good around the reef; they will stretch and eas­ily tan­gle.

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