Slow jigging produces spectacular Kingfish

Kingfish are a special fish to target off the kayak. They pull extremely hard and aren’t straightforward to catch, so every fish I land is cause for celebration. When you throw in the mix targeting a big one, it becomes even more complex.

Mechanical jigging and live baiting are my primary ways to catch kingies off my kayak, and recently, I’ve managed to tick off my first half a dozen for the summer; none of the fish were particularly large, but it was good to get a warm-up for what’s to come over the rest of the summer.

It seems to be a running theme in my fishing to catch a species when targeting something else, and on this day, it was no exception.

I headed out to a favourite area but found sign in much closer, no use paddling over it. I dropped down a black magic Sunakku and quickly hooked up to the target species for the day, a nice gurnard. By paddling along and watching for marks, I am able to bomb a Kabura right down into the general area that the fish has just been.

I know for a fact that if a jig is falling, the fish will show interest. They might not eat it, but there’s every chance this will be enough to cause the fish to bite.

The next drop was onto a similar mark spotted just off the bottom. I felt the sand, gave a few winds, and my rod loaded up. Uh oh, that’s not a gurnard. Line screamed off my reel at an alarming pace, with the fish taking over 100 metres in short order.

I turned the rudder and gave chase; the fish powered away strongly and managed to tow my kayak at 2.5 kilometres an hour purely from the load on the rod. This continued for around 20 minutes, the fish managing to keep the pace up the whole time.

I took my time on the light gear, slowly making a dent in the fish’s energy bit by bit. Eventually, the weight began to rise through the water column, and the fight slowed. Obviously, pulling the kayak for half an hour was starting to take its toll.

Colour appeared below the kayak, and a long green and yellow fish circled up to the surface in a big, wide arc. It was a kingfish, and a really nice one at that. The nice part about fishing with light gear over sand is that once the fish gets to the boat, it’s mostly tired out, and landing becomes quite easy.

In this case, the kingi swung around, and I grabbed its tail on my first attempt, stopping it dead in its tracks. It protested, and I hung on as its final few kicks rippled through my shoulder. It was over; the Kingfish was beaten on this occasion. I slid it up onto my lap and managed to barely fit it in the rear well. I wish all second drops of the day were this good!

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