New Zealand Fishing World - - Contents - AARON LE­VIEN

Top tips to tar­get hol­i­day sea­son king­fish

Thanks to their stun­ning ap­pear­ance and hard­fight­ing at­ti­tude, king­fish are of­ten re­garded as the Holy Grail of sport fish here in New Zealand. How­ever, the mighty king­fish is not re­served for ‘ex­pert an­glers’ alone. With just a lit­tle bit of knowl­edge and the right gear and set-up, any­one can be head­ing home with a ma­jes­tic tro­phy fish this sum­mer.

Be­gin­ners start here

If you’ve been fish­ing for a while you’ll know Lady Luck can only take things so far. Hook­ing in bait­fish will only sus­tain a man for so long be­fore you’re ready to step up the fish­ing level a notch. You have seen peo­ple catching king­fish, and since Santa fi­nally brought you that king­fish setup for Christ­mas, you’re des­per­ate to have a crack on the open wa­ter. Some great and ac­ces­si­ble places to start the hunt for king­fish are:

Shore Lines Rocks break­ing the sur­face Marker bouys In­shore struc­tures/reefs Work-ups

Tech­niques used to give you the best chance of nab­bing a king­fish for th­ese ar­eas are live­bait­ing, jig­ging, stick­bait­ing and soft­bait­ing. A lit­tle trick I sug­gest to get your­self started is to throw ei­ther a stick­bait or soft bait out the back of the boat and slowly troll th­ese around works ups, struc­tures and shal­low reefs. This is a great way to prospect and area and can be a very suc­cess­ful form of fish­ing in its own right.

Jigs are also crit­i­cal el­e­ment when hav­ing a shot at kings. If live­bait is not the ac­quired taste on the day, the shiny metal jigs of­ten hard for a king­fish to re­sist. Jigs are also easy to plan around, be­ing no mess, no fuss and su­per-ef­fi­cient at dis­cov­er­ing if the bite is on or not.

Last, but in no means least im­por­tant on the list are top­wa­ter lures. Top­wa­ter fish­ing is the most ex­treme and ex­plo­sive way to tar­get a fish by sight. You may find your­self sur­rounded by kings smash­ing bait on the sur­face. If this hap­pens you have hit the jack­pot; well, pro­vid­ing you have stick­baits on­board. Be­ing setup and ready for tghe right mo­ment is cru­cial. Hav­ing a rigged top­wa­ter rod sit­ting in the rocket launcher will help.

My big­gest tip for th­ese ar­eas men­tioned is to stick to the plan. If you want king­fish, per­se­vere. Don’t ven­ture off and change species. Stick it out for the whole day as kings can be a funny ol' thing. The sounder can be loaded but the ac­tion be­low seems dor­mant. Then, all of a sud­den it’s like a light switch turns on and ev­ery rod is buckled.

Tro­phy hunter

Fancy a crack at a 30kg + king­fish? Well you are in luck. There are a few hot spots in New Zealand that can pro­vide you with a great chance of catching one:

Ran­furly Banks (this sits out off the East Cape of New Zealand)

White Is­land (sit­ting 33nm out from Whakatane)

THE Three Kings (which lies just north of New Zealand) If you want the best shot pos­si­ble for a king of a life­time, I highly rec­om­mend jump­ing on a char­ter that hits th­ese lo­ca­tions reg­u­larly. This will give you the best chance as from fish­ing such lo­ca­tions over many years top char­ter guys know th­ese chal­leng­ing ar­eas like the back of their hands. From your hooks right through to gloves and gim­bals, it is vi­tal to buy the best gear pos­si­ble. If you go in with a "she'll be right atit­tude" then your game plan is go­ing to get shred­ded by th­ese se­ri­ous fish.

To be more spe­cific with gear, a jig­ging out­fit should be around the 300g mark and run­ning 80lb braid with 130lb leader on a rep­utable jig­ging reel like Ac­cu­rate, Jig­ging Mas­ter, Alutec­nos and so on. Of course you can run less than 80lb braid but I know some skip­pers frown upon this as they want you to have the best chance of land­ing a life­time fish and, to be fair, why hand­i­cap your­self?

Story and pho­tos by Aaron Le­vien

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