Landing Kingfish in Sydney Harbour

Yellowtail Kingfish are high on the wish list of most anglers who are planning a visit to the Harbour city! So, without further ado, here’s a few tips for a successful trip…

If you’re chasing Kingfish, you’ll want to focus on three key elements – current, structure and bait. As a general rule, currents in Sydney run north to south – in line with the east Australian current. So, areas of coastline that jut out, like cliffs and steep drop offs, are the places to target. Why? Well, it’s because when the current hits structure, the ocean starts to churn, which drives nutrients up the water table. That’s what attracts bait fish – and where there’s bait fish, there’s predators.

Stuart Reid, from Sydney Harbour Fishing Tours, was our guide while in Sydney. Having fished these waters for over 20 years, he knows the spots where the Kingies are thick – and, of course, how to hook a few!

“Fish are intrinsically lazy – they’re not going to swim away from the food source. So, as long as there are schools of slimmies and yakkas around, the Kings will stay around,” Stuart said.

Another “did you know?” – Kingfish don’t have teeth – so when they grab the bait fish, particularly yakkas which have spikes, they swallow them straight down. You’ll know when this is happening as it’ll come off the clip and the rod will flick down. In this moment – don’t strike. Just let it wiggle, wiggle then it will bend.

For trolling speed with the down rigging – aim for 1-1 ½ knots. This obviously varies depending on the current, but on this particular day we had a pretty strong current coming from the north.

Once you find your first Kingy, be prepared for a second, third and – if you’re lucky – a fourth and so on… this is because they travel in the schools, so where there’s one there’s more! You’ll also want to hook up with a good, knowledgeable guide.

Keep Stuart’s contact details handy for when it’s ok to book your next Sydney fishing trip. You can call him on 0438 440 406 or visit his website here.

As for the gear we used, you’ll get good advice from BCF… either online or in store. And when things settle down in Sydney, consider a break at the Ibis Sydney King Street Wharf… it’s a great home away from home smack bang in the middle of the city! We can’t wait to head back.

Please note: this story was filmed prior to Sydney’s COVID restrictions.

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