Kingfish Off The Rocks Part I

I got up early again, eager for a quick, early fish off the rocks. The idea was to go hard for a couple of hours and be back at the car at 0900. All my gear was packed and I left home at 0500, the sun wasn’t up yet but there was enough light to see where I was going, although the sky was very dark. The sea-forecast mentioned rain and it sure looked like it could pour down any minute. Half an hour later Rani and I were walking on Medland’s beach, it was dribbling a bit but was even warmer than yesterday. No wind at all, much more cloud cover than the previous day. Good and comfortable conditions really; my chances of landing a kingfish were pretty good today.

I had a little bag of frozen berley and low tide would be almost an hour later, which would give me more time to get things organized. Come 6 o’clock and I was fishing off the ledge, the berley was dispersing nicely, there was a hint of a slight swell which created some whitewater next to me. I was fishing for kahawai with my lightest rod, the strongest spinner setup was rigged with a popper, ready in case the kingis show up. The big live bait setup was rigged and also ready to be deployed. My gaff, a wet towel, bait, bucket with water, yeah, all the things I might need, were right next to me. It didn’t take long for the snapper to go on the bite, I noticed some trevally and another similar fish. There was heaps of action up close, the fish were more active and bigger in size.

No kahawai though, so I casted the popper for a few minutes and then went back to bait fishing. Moments later, I noticed splashing water in the corner of my eye, a small school of bait fish was approaching. They were small, but fat, juicy kahawai. I spotted four of them and watched how my bait got swallowed, boom I had one on the end of the line. Well hooked in the mouth, thanks to the circle hook. It was in great condition when it went back into the water as live bait and swam happily away. I tried hooking more kahawai but, to my surprise, they were gone. I kept trying, it’s always good to have a reserve live bait in the bucket. At around 0730 things were going really well, Rani was sleeping in the background, the tide had turned and was coming in, I had the perfect position for the live bait rod, the kind of position where your bait covers an area and can come real close to the rocks, but won’t get caught up in white water or in the kelp. It just did its own thing and I didn’t have to touch the rod any more and could fish for snapper, and closely watch the water.

The kingis were (over)due I was thinking, they just have to show up and I’ll hook one on the kahawai. Perfect size, irresistible prey for any kingi. Again, on retrieving bait from the deep I noticed a fish coming up, it looked like a kingi, it was casual as, like real cool and stuff, as if it was hanging in the background, feeding on the berley at its own leisure. So I casted out again and retrieved, this time towards the live bait, and there it came up again, a small kingi, all on its own, no big commotion like yesterday, but when it noticed my live bait, it decided to check it out more closely. I had heaps of time to put the bait rod away and take the live bait rod out of the rod holder, taking a higher position on the rocks. The kingi kept circling the kahawai, the whole action was around a meter away from the rocks, the kahawai went alongside the kelp, the kingi after it.

The prey was cornered, the predator was sure of its meal, it just needed that perfect timing to attack and swallow the kahawai head-first. It tried and tried and finally succeeded, feeling quite happy as it started swimming deep, taking the balloon with it. I waited, waited and put the reel into strike mode, waited for the line to tighten up and struck, the fish was on. Then it tried getting away, around the corner, but had no chance against the drag, it tried going deep, changing directions. I played it, looked at the gaff, then at the fish. Decided not to gaff it as I couldn’t tell for sure whether it was of legal size. It was clearly shorter than a meter, perhaps borderline. So I went down to grab the leader, my terminal tackle was 120 pounds and I lifted the fish, after it tried bitterly to gain at least some distance from the rocks, by the leader up onto to the rocks and had a better look.

A kingfish off the rocks. This little specimen couldn’t put up much of a fight though and went back into the water.

It turned out that the kingi was really a borderline call, about 2 and a half times my shoe, which would be 75 cm, but it wasn’t as long as my full-stretched arm. Hey, I landed one, I can land another, so I torpedo-ed this baby back. It only looks that calm on the picture because I put it on a wet rock and covered its head with a wet towel.

Finally, a kingi off the rocks! I was stoked and since it was just after 8 o’clock, I chucked the rest of the bait into the water, emptied the berley and watched as some bigger snapper came up from the deep and started munching away casually in less than a meter of depth. It was easy enough to land two of them within the next five minutes.

The kingi went back, but I took two of these 40+cm snapper.
A bit of whitewater.

I was back at the car by 9 o’clock, the drizzle turned into light showers, I was really happy about the snapper in my pack, and it was good to finally land a kingfish off the rocks here on the barrier. Only a rat, couldn’t put up a fight, but nonetheless, I caught it on a live bait and not by chance, and since I targeted kingis this morning, I can gladly say: Mission accomplished. This is part I, let’s see what follows.

And by the way, I enjoy early morning fishing, when you’re finished it is still early in the morning…

16 thoughts on “Kingfish Off The Rocks Part I”

  1. Sauber!
    Herr Doktor, das Wanderstiefelmessverfahren gehört heutzutage nicht mehr zu den bevorzugten Methoden bei der Längenbestimmung von Fischen! Mach die doch einfach mal eine 75cm Markierung an die LBG-Rute und gut is…. 😀
    Jetzt pack dein Tackle, mix dir eigenes Burley und fang uns die Kingi-MILF!

    viel Erfolg

    1. Also die Amerikaner benutzen ja noch das Wanderstiefelmessverfahren. Mein Fus/ ist 28 cm, also 30cm plus Shuh. Mein Unterarm ist 30 cm, gutes Mas/ fuer Snapper. Mein linker, ausgestreckter Arm ist 76 cm. Ich meine eine Markierung im Gaff zu haben… Burley mixen hoert sich gut an, weis/ nur nicht was ich mischen soll. Kartoffeln und Fishoel sollte gut funzen. Oh man, ich brauche ‘nen Sponsor.

  2. Hast du einen Kühlschrank? Eisfach?
    Sammel doch einfach ein paar Muscheln, Seeigel und Krabben und hack die klein, mix das dann noch mit Panniermehl und den Schlachtabfällen vom letzten Fang. Keine Ahnung ob du das dann häppchenweise ins Wasser wirfst oder in ein Netz packst (macht sicher nur Sinn bei gefrostetem Burley?).

    1. Nope, weder Kuehlschrank oder Eisfach, noch genuegend Energie um sowas zu betreiben. Ein kleines Gefrierfach waere schon fein, dann koennte ich ja selbst bait fangen
      und einfrieren. Muss halt entweder in Batterien und Solarzellen investieren oder meinen Genrator staendig laufen lassen. Naja, mal schauen was 2013 anzubieten hat…

  3. Servus, da muss ich doch auch mal meine Glückwünsche zu äußern! Ich versuch es noch diesen Sommer für paar Tage nach NZ zu schaffen. Dann fangen wir die MILF zusammen 😉 Moritz würde ich am liebsten gleich mit einpacken und paar Solarzellen für unseren Kiwi-Ötzi 🙂 Sag mal Bescheid wenn Du was brauchst von hier, freu mich wenn ich helfen kann. Kurz vor Weihnachten flieg ich nach Japan für paar Tage. Wobei der teure YEN gerade nicht die Exportlust weckt… Lass es Dir gut gehen!

    1. Hey Yosen, cheers. Das waer ja mal was, das Trio wieder am angeln. Ach, ich brauche so viele Sachen, dass ich am liebsten gar nicht drueber nachdenke… Ein Job online waere ein guter Start. Lass es dir auch gut gehen, und finger weg von den Schamhaarautomaten!

  4. Hey! Well done mate! You’ve clearly found a little sweet spot there! Shame it’s steep by the water’s edge, that will make it a little tough with a big fish. I hope that gaff is strong enough! I’m not a fan of those “v” shaped gaffs – fish can lever themselves off those – a wide “U” is much better. Anyway, I’m looking forward to fishing that spot with you in a few months time! In the meantime keep at it and land a bigger one! Paul xxxxx

    1. The gaff should be strong enough, would have more confidence in it if it were a one piece unit, but it’s gotta do the job. I’ve seen bigger fish there and hope to land one before Christmas. The steepness is deceiving, the closer you get to the water the more you realize how steep it really is; another downside of that steepness is that there is not a single rock pool, but in contrast, it is easy to get to and access and fish-ability is independent of the tides.

        1. Well, that is a good idea, however, I’m thinking of downsizing the gear I take onto the rocks. There are multiple rock pools on the other side of the same bay though, and I haven’t fished there for a while now.

  5. Yeah John had that inflatable pool, but it didn’t last too long! Water is heavy and barnacles are sharp! You’d need something to put under it!

    1. Well, I suppose the easiest way to keep live bait alive is to keep them in the ocean. A foldable cage or net with some wires run through it and you’d end up with an ‘enclosed’ cube for fish which you can simply keep in the water. It could be a bucket with a lid and little holes in it. It would perhaps be a great FAD as well
      (fish attracting device), since the bait fish would be quite uncomfortable in their cage, their vibrations and reflections from the sunlight would be directly in
      the burley trail, thus enticing more fish to come and check it out. On the last mission, I lost a small snapper in the weeds very close to the rocks, it was ‘trapped’ with a meter of trace for the entire time I was there, needless to say that the kingis came to check the nervous fish out. At the end of the day there are at least two things that I know about kingfish which I haven’t exploited at all. i) spearfishers tell me that kingis will come and check any noise made by hitting two metal rods together under water, ii) same fishers also say that kingis are prone to check out reflections in the water, assuming that these come from a school of bait fish.

  6. I think the cage thing would be interesting. I had a fold up cray pot a long time ago. Wish I’d hung on to it. Although I think it would actually be more of an OAD (Octopus attracting device)!

    So you’re kind of saying that a mirror reflecting into the water could attract Kingfish? How about some small mirrors on a short line suspended under a small buoy? More clutter to carry, but could be interesting! Although a Bronzie would probably just turn up and eat it, along with the livebait cage. Have you seen any of those? Paul xxxxx

    1. I’ve got a cray pot here, but it’ll be too big to carry around, but I should make a small and compact one just for keeping livies. I suppose, as long there isn’t a swell coming in, it’ll be a good way to keep them babies alive and attract other fish and octopus. I keep wanting to go to Okupu and fish for squid on the wharf.

      I recall reading in a fishing mag that some of the charter boats submerge things like a ‘wind chime’ in the water, attached to a float. The ‘wind chime’ reflects
      sunlight and I suppose creates some noise as well, and apparently it attracts them kingis. Sounds like a good plan, certainly cheap burley.

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