My First Kingfish

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Kapit Kingfish

Quick Facts:

  • Date: 30/10/210
  • Fish Species: Kingfish
  • Length: 94cm
  • Weight: 10 – 15kg
  • Moon phase: Full
  • Tide: About an hour before full tide
  • Location: Off Paraparaumu beach, 30m of water

The weather forecast was looking pretty good for the weekend so come Friday i was pretty excited at the prospect of getting out Saturday morning for a fish. I woke to my alarm at 6:00am this morning and looked out the window, blue sky and still, it was on. A quick coffee and then onto getting all the gear ready to chuck in the van. A bit more pissing round as Korin sorted himself out and we were on our way down to Paraparaumu Beach. We arrived¬†at the beach to a flat sea and¬†blue sky, you don’t get much better than this.¬†We pumped up the boat chucked everything in super quick¬†and pushed¬†her off. I cranked the 15hp to full and we raced¬†straight out from the boat club.¬†After about a minute or two¬†we stopped to check the depth, about 30m, good enough we decided so out came the burley and over it went with the anchor. I put my running snapper rig baited with a pilchard¬†on¬†with a 3 ounce sinker to start, but, didnt hold out much hope of getting to the bottom¬†as the current looked pretty strong. Sure enough dropped it in and it drifted quickly out the back¬†with the current. I let out quite a bit of line but quickly came to the conclusion that it was never gonna get down with just 3 ounces on. I reeled back in and felt a couple of small tugs on the way up, nothing stuck but i soon saw what was responsible, a mob of 3 or 4 small kahawai¬†stripped the last of my pilchard off as i got it to the boat.¬†This was a good sign i thought as at least we knew there was fish around.kapiti inflatable boat

I¬†didn’t want to switch to a monster sinker so decided to give my home job downrigger a blast. This consists of an old Alvey reel¬†($30 off trademe) ¬†attached to a snapped rod. I have used a dive weight¬†on a rope in the past but this was too heavy for the reel so i attached a 16 ounce sinker. Attached to the sinker is a small piece of irrigation pipe with a¬†clothes peg on the end to hold my mainline. My first drop resulted in a tangle so i pulled it up¬†and tried again. I¬†let out about 6 or 8ft of line then clip the peg to my mainline, then i¬†flip the bail arm on my rod, put it out of gear¬†and lower down the weight which pulls down my line into the strike zone. About 20 odd metres down i noticed my rod starting to bend over a bit more than usual, i thought it was the downrigger weight but decided to check it just in case. It felt like there was weight on but i couldnt feel the¬†tell tale tugging of a fish on so i put the rod back in the holder¬†and flicked it out of gear ready to continue dropping it down. Straight away the rod bent over again, then line started to getting stripped out. I¬†quickly pulled the rod out of the holder and let¬†it run for a bit, this had to be a fish. I flicked it in to gear and the¬†rod loaded up and bent¬†over. The reel started to scream as more line got pulled out. It wasn’t a steam train run like my 7kg snapper but it felt heavy.¬†After the short run i started to¬†ease it up slowly as i only had a 15 pound main line. I had¬†no¬†idea what it was as it felt heavy but wasn’t ¬†shaking its head or taking off. It kinda just sat down there, Korin said ‘might be a kingfish’.¬†‘Nah its not movin round¬†enough might be a bloody stingray’ i said. I kept the pressure on trying to bring it up and managed to get¬†some line back but every time¬†I got it¬†up a bit it would just swim back down pulling out the line i had just got back. This continued¬†for about 20 min before i started to get a bit frustrated. By now i was convinced it was a ray as it was just staying¬†down and was hardly moving. I was¬†getting a bit impatient so said to Korin that i was gonna try and be a bit more aggressive to try and get whatever it was up so i could get a look at it. kingfish kapitiI remembered reading something about a technique for getting fish up that had gone to ground ¬†in the foul. The theory is to put the pressure on then lower the rod a small amount to get a few turns on the reel then keep repeating. I tightened the drag a bit then gave it a try. It seemed like it was working as i was getting quite a bit¬†of line back, but, then¬†down it went again slowly pulling out my line. I persevered and started the process again. This time it started to come up a bit quicker, it felt like something big rolling round on the end of my line as it came up. Memories of the conger eel i caught at¬†Pukerua Bay a few weeks earlier came back to me and i wasn’t holding out much hope for anything good. We got¬†our first sign of colour as it came up, silver and¬†torpedo shaped, wasn’t a ray. We¬†thought¬†it was a¬†good sized shark, then it rolled on the surface and Korin caught a glimpse of its yellow tail. ‘Kingfish’ shouted Korin. Then came the hoots and the adrenilin started pumping. Thoughts now went to how the hell we were gona get it in the boat as it looked to be about a metre long and we had no gaff. It had rolled onto its back on the surface about 10m from the boat¬†and i started to ease it slowly toward the boat. I¬†turned the drag right off as i knew it could just turn over and take off which is what i¬†thought would happen any second. I was surprised to get the fish¬†along side the boat with out incident. Now to get it into the boat. I went to grab it by the gills, got it, pulled up and nearly over into the boat but it slipped out of my hand and back into the water. I quickly¬†went for another grab this time getting it by the tail and pulling it into the boat. Wow this was the biggest fish i had ever landed. A quick photo and¬†i decided i would let it go so i lifted it over into the water to try and revive it. There was no blood coming from its¬†gills¬†but it wasn’t looking very lively as i¬†supported in the water. I thought i would give it some time as from our trout fishing experience we knew¬†that it can sometimes¬†take up to 10 minutes to revive a fish. I held it supported in the water with its head facing into the current for about 15 minutes but it wasn’t showing any sign of perking up so we¬†decided to keep it.¬†underwater Kingfish photo

The fish was¬† 94cm long and somewhere in the 10 – 15 kg range. There was no chance of fitting it in our little¬†fish bin so i wrapped it in a wet towel and decided to head in. Only had the lines in the water for 15 minutes but we weren’t complaining.

Ps: I was quite surprised at how the fish fought. No smokin runs or racin round the boat. My theory is that as there was no sinker banging against its head and the hooks were relatively small it wasnt to concerned about being hooked. We get that sometimes with big brown trout. They sorta just swim slowly away.

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