When is (yellowtail) kingfish fishing season?

A: January to April. The main kingfish fishing season begins in January either in or outside the heads on Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bays.

What is the minimum legal size of a kingfish you can keep?

A: 60 cm

What is the bag limit?

A: 5 per angler 

Can I fillet my fish on the boat?

A: These fish can’t be filleted in or on Victorian waters. They must be kept whole or in carcass form until you’re away from the water. It’s okay to fillet your fish on the cleaning tables at the boat ramp.

What is the scientific name of a yellowtail kingfish?

A: Seriola lalandi

How To Catch Kingfish

Kingfish – The Challenge

Hang on to the rod and reel, these fish scream the line off the reel! Kingfish will try to take you down to the bottom to find any structure they can to bust the line off, they will give you your money’s worth with line screaming runs and good head shakes throughout the fight. They possess immense power and I would say these are one of the hardest fighting fish to catch in Melbourne.

How To Catch Kingfish

Kingfish – The Season

January to April is the best time to target them, either in or outside the heads on Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bays. When the water temperature drops late April, the ‘kingies’ will start their migration out of Bass Strait heading for warmer territories for winter.

On our Kingfish Charters, we will advise you where we are departing from, depending on the weather conditions and where the best chances of catching Kingies at the time of your booking. Typical locations are Portsea, Sorrento, Queenscliff, Bass Straight, Flinders, Phillip Island, Seal Rocks, Cape Shank, Barwon Heads, Torquay

How To Catch Kingfish

Kingies school up in big numbers and patience will be the key. At times you may catch many small kingies around the 60cm mark, which are often called ‘rats’, but that patience finally pays off when the big Kingfish come out to play. There is a bag limit of 5 kingies with the legal-size limit being 60cm

They can be very temperamental, responding to different approaches every day. It can drive you a bit crazy, is the water too green or too blue?  Are they taking live baits vs jigs, slimeys vs squid and on it goes. Persistence will pay off in the end.

I have found you need to cover every option and preparation is key. Having a game plan of different areas you want to go, types of bait, are the steps you need to give you the best chance of catching Kingies. Catching live baits I believe is important and I often drop live baits down on a down rigger or with different size sinkers to get the baits to where the fish are and drift or slow troll the live baits also works well. We also use the current in the rip to move us along over the fish. We also use baits with the same method as I have just mentioned.

Jigging To Catch Kingfish

What is jigging? This is a method of fishing using a lure, that creates a vertical jerky motion to attract the attention of fish.

Do you want to know how to catch kingfish? Jigging is the method we use to catch them. While the live baits are out, we will begin jigging. Jigging it’s not just a matter of jigging like mad; you’ll be worn out in no time. The basics of jigging are, lifting the rod, then taking a half wind on the reel, then as you drop the rod, take another half wind of the reel. Keep repeating till you hook-up. It is hilarious at times watching people with their very interesting jigging actions from my wide variety of customers, ranging from a very fluid, rhythmic action to extremely uncoordinated movements that see the angler’s body moving more than the rod itself. You might be surprised by the actions that get kingfish to bite and you never know what might work.

When fishing for kingfish, it is important to find the fish using the sounder and to know what they look like on the screen. I don’t like to turn up to an area and just begin to fish, hoping we come across a school, I prefer to be prepared and find the fish first.

Baits For Catching Kingfish

My preference is to catch live baits at the start of the trip. There is an art to having the baits swimming and staying alive. The only way to learn this is to join a charter to and be shown how!

The different baits that I like to use are strips of squid, or chunks or strips of freshly caught fish. We also have a variety of jigs and soft plastics to suit different locations.

Our Kingfish charters run for 8hrs which gives us plenty of time to catch fresh bait and try different areas. We want to ensure you catch Kingies and have the best day out on the water. We provide tackle that will stand up to any Kingfish battle.

Thanks for reading our article, How To Catch Kingfish – Best Pro Fishing Tips. We hope you enjoyed it.
Bookings can be made here: Bookings
Fishing data obtained from Victorian Fishing Authority

This article “How To Catch Kingfish” was written by Malcolm May of I’m Hooked Fishing Charters