NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Stick bait techniuques - targeting topwater kingfish

01 October 2014
Stick bait techniuques - targeting topwater kingfish

Jigging is an effective method for targeting kingfish, but for sheer adrenaline value, targeting top water kingfish has that extra bit of visual excitement.

I must say that chasing kingfish is a serious passion for me and the excitement never falls short no matter which way we chase them.

There is something extraordinary about having that initial hit on the stroke of a jig but if I had to choose the best way to catch kingfish my response would be “TOP WATER” hands down.

You have to experience it first hand to grasp just how magnificent and powerful kingfish really are.

TECHNIQUES

Learning to work a lure is a critical element to the equation of catching yourself a hoodlum on top (kingfish are often affectionately known as the ‘hoodlums’ or ‘hoods’ of the reef).

Practice makes perfect, here I have put together a short video clip on the key aspects of working a lure:

SAFETY AND HANDLING KINGS

Casting is completed with your rod moving straight up, over and down towards the water.

Landing your fish can be another accident with treble hooks waiting to happen especially when Mr. Kingy is still quite green.

What I recommend is gaffing the king through the bottom jaw/lip and removing hooks on the gunwale. If this is too difficult the next step we suggest is to get the king on the deck and place a towel over the eyes which 9/10 times calms the fish instantly. This now allows you to get to work and safely remove hooks from harm’s way.

FINDING KINGS

Seeing kingfish on the surface feeding is every topwater fisherman’s dream come true.

Your next best artillery are birds, for example gannets and shearwaters.

After this you will need to look for “structure” and “current” as these two common factors equate to bait fish and hopefully a few roaming kings.

So pull out your charts and start assessing drop offs/break aways, pinnacles, reefs, channel markers etc.

Talking to a few of the local guys who dive the local reefs can help point you in the right direction.

Lastly, your FISH FINDER. If you come across kingfish sign sitting high in the water column you have a great chance here of raising the fish. You will be surprised at what depths you will catch kings on the surface.

ONCE YOU HAVE FOUND THE KINGS

Kings can be spooked and head deep the instant they smell trouble.

It’s important to keep calm and keep your composure, as we all know we can get caught up in the moment when the excitement starts to unfold.

Assess all the elements like wind, current, swell and so on.

Position your vessel up wind allowing yourself to drift downwind while casting your lure with the wind into the workup and working it back to the boat. This will give you the best odds of seeing just how exciting and explosive kingfish are on the surface.

See the details below on fishing gear and in a number of cases the shop you could find them in.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Tow lures! Yes this does sound a bit bizarre but it works. It’s a good old trick we will use occasionally when our given spots are just not happening. We will tow a couple of stickbaits around until we hopefully hear those reels start screaming.

Lures: Matching your lure colour, size and design to what’s performing the best for the given period of the year will maximize your chances.

Other Boats. Keep an eye out for other boats in your area as to what they are doing. If you see them throwing stickbaits keep an eye out as to what action is unfolding.  

Jig them up…  Those of you who have done a bit of jigging will know that sometimes kings will follow their buddy right to the surface and even wait around. This is a golden opportunity for you. So get that stickbait ready and throw it 20m out the back and watch the excitement unfold.

Safety is paramount when it comes to stickbaiting as a lot of lure companies advise that their lures run best with treble hooks. If you really want to run trebles I suggest either buying barbless trebles, crushing your barbs or what I sometimes do, flapper wheel or sand the barbs off.

Out of everything I can tell you, my best advice would be to “keep at it”. The more you cast, the more your lure is in the “STRIKE ZONE” and the greater the odds of experiencing just how unreal topwater fishing is.

Related posts

Horizontal Jigging
Techniques
If you're familiar with vertical, or 'mechanical' jigging for kingfish, did you know that the same technique can be applied to working mechanical jigs both from a boat or from shore? Here's a quick breakdown on how it works from the Aussie boys at AdriftByNature...
Bridle-rigged live skipjack tuna
Techniques
The ability to bridle rig and deploy a healthy skipjack tuna live bait is an essential skill for any serious game fisherman.
So you want to be a  Jig Star?
Techniques
For me, chasing kingfish on jigs is where my craze and passion for fishing started.
Work-up fishing 101 - Part two - Lures and birds
Techniques
This may come as a shock, but in the days before jigs, fishermen would use bait. Not highly sophisticated but still effective were ledger and strayline rigs adorned with pilchards
Work-up fishing 101 - Part one
Techniques
Spring and Summer work-ups are one phenomena that not only get nature's participants excited but fishermen as well. As the water warms up in springtime, snapper start to move into the gulf, usually from a northerly to southerly direction.
How to skin and fillet gurnard and sole
Techniques
Here's a great demo of how to properly fillet gurnard and sole from Knifetech NZ
All Related

See Also

Horizontal Jigging
Techniques
If you're familiar with vertical, or 'mechanical' jigging for kingfish, did you know that the same technique can be applied to working mechanical jigs both from a boat or from shore? Here's a quick breakdown on how it works from the Aussie boys at AdriftByNature...
Catch Deep-V Slow-Pitch Jig
Gear
The Deep V is a versatile lure for catching kingfish, XXL snapper and many other species. It combines several design features to present a lure that is irresistible.Here's a slow pitch jig that can either be mechanically jigged or slow pitch fished to save your energy. Check out the new Catch Deep V
Fogdog Beer Batter
Cooking
To hell with the diet, there are times when fresh fish just screams for a light, crunchy beer batter. If you are looking for a fool-proof, instant, mouth-watering golden batter that cracks like a potato chip, makes you look like a master chef and pleases any crowd, then get yourself down to your nearest supermarket and pick up a packet of Fogdog.
New Product: Catch Water Wings - with video
Gear
Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it is the newest addition to the Catch Fishing ‘Livies’ stable of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) wriggling goodies.
FCL Labo surface lures
Gear
There’s been a real growth in the stick bait and surface lure department this year, with so many anglers enjoying great action getting ripped by the local kingfish population. Fishing sticks around opportunistic boilups, reef structure, or marker buoys etc, is without doubt totally thrilling to see, and the gear is so much fun to fight fish on.
Innovision 515 Active - centre console
Boats
If throwing soft baits, saltwater flies, or stick baits is your bag, then take a second look at this. NZ Fishing World recently spent a bit of time with fledgeling boat manufacturer Innovision, based in Whangarei, filming and enjoying a day on board a couple of their smaller model offerings, including the very handy 515 centre console.
All Posts

Drop NZ Fishing World a line!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.