Kingfish Off The Rocks VII

On a lighter note, Paul and I hooked into kingfish on Saturday and Sunday. Two memorable fishing days really, we finally saw good fishing action and landed the targeted species. A write-up with great pictures is available on my fishing blog (

For the full viewing and reading pleasure go to my fishing blog (click here: There is an excerpt and a few photos in the following.

My friend Paul from the UK is here, visiting the Barrier during his annual rockfishing holiday. We’ve been going hard, walking the extra mile, buying the extra burley, getting up early and all the rest. However, we experienced extremely poor fishing too many times in the first week of his visit. We had a great session last Saturday and Sunday though, and, once again, were proven that it’s best to go fishing when the conditions are right.

Conditions & Timing

Saturday, 28.02.2015, Great Barrier Island, calm sea, hot, no cloud in the sky, variable 5 knots of wind. Low tide at 1000. We had the burley deployed and the first bait in the water at about 08ish.

Early Morning Low Tides & Remote Spots

We got up early (0500) and drove to the southern part of the Barrier. Our adventure began with an 80 minute walk and climb down to a ledge that boasts plenty of current. Neither of us had landed a kingfish there before, but after so many failed attempts, we concluded that we will certainly encounter his majesty there. The salmon burley was deployed at about 0730 and plenty kahawai were swimming in its trail shortly after. We were elated to see those kahawai, it has been so long since I’ve seen more than just a couple of kahawai. Where have they all gone?

Catching Kahawai & The Perfect Live Bait Size

Different spots will boast different types of bait fish. Typical species used for live baiting are kahawai, trevally, piper and jack mackerel. My preferred option is kahawai, but don’t just send any kahawai out, try using small to medium sized one. Why? Because there are just less and less big kingfish left! The only healthy thing about the fisheries in New Zealand is of economical nature.

A perfect-sized kahawai, rigged for live baiting.

Another important point I like to make is that you will very likely require backup live baits, so catch a couple and keep them in good nick. Put them in rock pools or into a bucket, but make sure to replace the water as necessary.

Backup kahawai kept in a bucket, ready to be used for live baiting.
Backup kahawai kept in a bucket, ready to be used for live baiting.

Priorities & Watching & Being Ready

Losing fish is hardly ever a good feeling, and in a way, most anglers will go through the same experiences until it makes ‘click’. When you’re fishing not just for fun, but are targeting big fish or in this case kingfish, ask yourself what your priorities are.

Live baiting a kahawai under a balloon. Certainly not exciting, but you need to be ready and focus on the top priority.
Live baiting a kahawai under a balloon. Certainly not exciting, but you need to be ready and focus on the top priority.

The Hookup

It was about 0900 and as I was only catching just legal or undersized snapper, I decided to go for a short walk over a boulder and shoot photos. I managed to take one shot before hearing Paul shout: “Ben, kingfish on.”

We saw the wonderful colours of his majesty, it was pushing the one meter mark. There was no communication between Paul and I. The first time the fish was in reach, I gaffed it effortlessly, and to my surprise, yet again through the gill plate without scoring the any of the meat. We secured the fish high up on the rocks and congratulated each other.

benisland_kingfishbenisland_kingfish3More Photos


The Great Barrier Island Photography Blog

Ben Island’s perceptions of Island Life, a blog dedicated to Aotea and photography. If you like these photos, you should check out my new blog. Cheers.

The Gist Of It

Fish: Kingfish – Caught Rockfishing: Feb. 2015 – Bait: Live Kahawai – Where: Tryphena – Weight (estimated): 23 lbs – Gear: 80 lbs Main Line, 130 lbs Trace – Fish landed an hour before low tide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *