Offshore, Stuff we've learnt, Think like a fish- fishing techniques

When is the best time to catch kingfish?

Another in the Q&A series of posts, where we will endeavour to post commonly asked questions and quick, straight to the point answers.

Question: When is the best time to catch kingfish?

Answer: Kingfish are easiest to catch when the ocean currents are quite warm, which is generally in late summer and throughout autumn. The best months are arguably February to March, with a wider window being from around December through until June/July. Outside of these times, the ocean currents are likely to be less than 18 degrees, which is about the minimum you want for kingfish to play ball.

In saying that, some of my best sessions have been in the depths of winter in water around 15-17 (edit- 13 degrees can also work a treat) degrees Celsius. What you need to remember is that the kingfish will be in some spots year-round, for example Greencape on the NSW far south coast. Greencape is characterised by strong currents and is highly exposed, making it a perfect place for the kingies to hang out and wait for baitfish schools to be carried past.

In terms of time of day, the early morning and evening are certainly best for surface action, but the fish can turn on at any time. If we knew all of the answers to catching kingies, the wouldn’t be such an amazing and worthwhile adversary.

Perhaps the one thing that is more important than time of year is current. I’ve rarely caught a kingfish when the current isn’t really raging along. It can be hard to spot some days, but other days you will see distinct current lines on the water’s surface. You may also notice that the boat isn’t drifting where the wind is meant to be blowing it. Sometimes, you’ll also notice evidence of current on the sounder. It can take a while to ‘read’, but will appear as regular noise in the form of spots or small horizontal lines on the sounder.

Hopefully this has helped. See ‘Royalty on the reefs: How to target monster kingfish‘ and ‘Kingfish basics’ for more kingfish tips. Once you catch a few, you might want to try Bar Louhrina’s Kingfish Pancetta or Kingfish beetroot gravalx. Tight lines and make sure you tie your knots properly.

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