When venturing out onto the water, a big percentage of the day is invested into getting baits in front of massive kingfish. That thirst for kings has developed over time for a range of different reasons. Firstly, kingfish are simply everywhere! Shallow water, deep water, over structure, over sand, dirty and clean water. Pretty much anywhere there is any sign of any type of little fish, there is a chance that a king will pass through. The fact that kingfish inhabit all the water around our little island means that there is always somewhere to go, to get out of the weather and a certain technique to best target them.
Kingfish make fantastic eating. They are hardy, and provided your hook is set in the mouth and is retrieved, kings survive capture no problem. (Which can’t be said for a range of other fish species.) The buzz I get from landing a massive kingfish, is the opportunity to get some photos and to return him to his underwater world knowing that he will live on. This is just simply what I live for.
In a funny way I also feel like I have educated that fish to some extent. The next time he sees a bait he might be looking a little more closely before he bites. And in my mind, a smarter fish, equals a bigger fish, and we all like bigger fish.
Kings have a well-earned reputation for being hard fighters; they really do put the “sport” into sport fishing. I've found the harder you pull, the harder they pull back and when fishing in areas where losing 5 meters of line is going to lead to a bust off, you have to do everything you can to stop that fish. It’s now that you really get to feel their power and landing a fish this way also gives them a greater chance of survival as they will recover faster from a short, hard fight.
If you are like me and find yourself spending the majority of your time at sea targeting kings then it’s just a simple matter of time and luck before you will get a shot at that show stopping big angry fish and a chance at ultimate glory.
There are more fish in the 40kg plus bracket swimming around than most people realise. Endless stories have been told of the boys out fishing for kings for the day, landing solid fish and then getting absolutely owned by a fish that they could not stop. Imagine the size of some of these lost fish?! When Milan first introduced me to fishing I fell victim to my fair share of bust offs. After which the big green machine was often present in my dreams and at times consumed my thoughts with the how’s and why’s, but more often than not, it’s been thoughts of what went wrong? Could it have been done better? What do I have to do for that not to happen again?
Not only does it suck to lose a fish that you have worked so hard to hook but there was a tremendous amount of remorse felt also. All I could think about was this big beautiful fish that I admire so much having to carry on with its day to day routine with a hook stuck in it and the thought that a percentage of those bust offs were ultimately a death sentence for the fish. It’s for that reason that no expense is ever spared when it comes to gear and tackle.
Only fishing with the best rods and reels that money can buy and pushing that gear to its limits. Hours and hours have gone into tying and testing knots making sure that the best of every component is achieved, learning a lot of valuable lessons along the way.
The most valuable of these lessons being, that there is no point buying expensive rod and reel, and then to skimp on braid and trace. It’s the only thing connecting you to your fish! A few rods get broken here and there and I have heard stories of a few cheaper reels failing, but, more often than not when a fish is lost, it’s due to the line breaking somewhere.
The gear we use is expensive! and yes there are much cheaper options, but, I will bet you anything, that at that very moment the weight lifts from your rod and you lose that “fish of a lifetime” that if you could wind back the clock, you would very happily spend a bit more for the gear needed to catch that fish!
When fishing deep water pins, a FG knot joins the braid to a mono leader (130lb to 150lb). The leader is as long as possible without being a pain in the ass to fish with (about 3 meters).
Then, a 5 to 7 turn improved clinch knot (depends on line strength, less turns in heavier line) attaches a heavy circle hook when live baiting. This same simple setup is used to tie on jigs and stickbaits/poppers.
When fishing the shallows, balloons sometimes need to be added to stop live baits reefing themselves. This is best done with a swivel. A 20 turn improved clinch knot joins the braid to the swivel. When fishing shallow water, it’s a good idea to use fluorocarbon instead of mono (harder for the fish to see it). Again running the longest trace possible without it being painful to fish with (about 2 meters) joining the fluorocarbon to the swivel with a 8 turn uni knot and to the hook with a 6 turn uni knot.
The swivel rings where you tie your knot is a lot thinner gauge, then the hook, so adding a couple extra spins gives a touch more strength.
Whenever we tie a rig for any and all fishing, we always test them. Ever so often a knot will break well before it should. Better to break a few knots on the boat than in the water.
Balloons are only ever used when we have to use them! Sometimes the balloon is the very reason why a fish is lost, due to it not breaking off once the king has the bait.
There are a number of different ways to attach a balloon. It’s best attached to the top ring of the swivel (same one the braid is tied to). The hard part is getting the balloon to break free when the live bait is taken, but connected good enough that the live bait doesn’t break if off. A rubber band that is only just strong enough to hold the live bait without breaking is about as easy as it gets. Tip: blow the balloon up real big so it’s not possible to pull the balloon under the water without the rubber band breaking.