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Catching big kingfish is made for Winter fishing.

If you are looking for really big yellowtail kingfish, Winter is a great time.

Anywhere from Whakatane and out to White Island and even further afield, up around the Coromandel and Great Barrier, into the Hauraki Gulf, up past the Hen and Chicks Islands and on into the winterless North, of New Zealand, kingfish are waiting.

Somewhere amongst those waters is the big kingfish you have dreamed about.

Sure there are not as many kingfish about over winter but those that are, are big.

Yellowtail Kingfish

Around half of the World Records* for yellowtail kingfish, of which virtually all are held in New Zealand, are for fish taken in winter. If you consider that there are far less people who fish over winter, then the ratio of big fish caught per angler over winter is way ahead of the fish caught per angler over summer.

So are there any special techniques required for fishing kingfish over winter? Not Really The same techniques that work over summer, work over winter.

Live baits will catch the biggest kingfish. Because there are less numbers of fish around getting a good berley trail going is essential, to attract the fish and hold them. But if your berley proves unattractive get on the move.

Jigging is a good way to get some action going or to confirm what the sounder is telling you, but once you have located a school of kingfish, if you really want to target a big one, drop a live bait down amongst the pack.

Most jig designers seems to concentrate on making sure the jig will move at high speed without tying itself in knots. So narrow profile jigs can be the go. But pop a couple of wide, flat sided jigs in your tackle box, especially jigs that can be bent a bit.

Sometimes over winter, especially if water temperatures are very cold, an exaggerated slow flutter will turn kingfish on when speed does not.

Too often winter is the time many of us put away the game-fishing gear and dream about next summer, ignoring the kind of kingfish fishing most of the rest of the world only dreams about.

The other day while looking at things fishy on the Internet I came across some reports from the big party boats operating off California. They were getting really excited about getting into schools of kingfish, some of the fish were over 20lbs, their emphasis, not mine!

Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are!

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Article written by Tony Bishop


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