How to catch yellowtail kingfish

The yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) is generally just called “kingie” in Australia.

This large pelagic predatory fish is found in Australia’s southern waters from North Reef in Queensland to Trigg Island, Western Australia, including around Tasmania.

Its presence in Tasmania appears to be increasing with global warming.

Some headlands and islands are noted for kingfish, for example, Bells Pyramid off New South Wales. At nearby Lord Howe Island large kingfish are fed by hand at a beach location.

Kingfish stocks in South Australia have been boosted by aquaculture escapes, and fish trapping restrictions in New South Wales in the 1990s saw the species make a huge rebound.

They are now common in Sydney Harbour.

Kingies are popular with fishermen because they are powerful and easily accessible.

They tend to live around coastal rocky reefs to a depth of 50m, more rarely being found to 300m depth.

They are often found in tidal rips, and areas where there are baitfish.

Kingfish are generally caught during the warmer months in the more temperate parts of their range.

Small fish form large schools while big fish travel alone or in small groups.

It is said that big fish are more often found around islands but this may simply be a result of coastal fishing pressure.

Small kingfish take a variety of lures, with simple chrome slices being as good as anything.

The small shoaling fish will compete for lures at times, making them an easy catch.

Kingfish grow to an impressive 180cm but the usual catch is much smaller.

Big fish tend to be more wary and a livebait might be needed to tempt them, especially in hard-fished areas.

A heavy nylon trace rather than wire is generally used for kingfish, and hook and line size depend on the size of the fish being targeted.

Kingies often run for structure when hooked so it pays to fish with adequate strength line, with 10kg braid being a good minimum for medium-sized fish.

Rock fishermen must be suitably equipped with gear to safely land big fish.

As with many fish, dawn and dusk can produce the best bite results, but kingies will bite during the day, especially around the turn of the tide.

Kingfish are good to eat and have become an important aquaculture species.

In 2010, the Stehr Group in South Australia became the largest producer of kingfish in the world.

Trials elsewhere in Australia have been undertaken, including around Geraldton and the Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia.

New Zealand and Chile are trialling sea cage and landbased farming.

In other parts of the world the kingfish is called yellowtail amberjack.

Back to the NSW/ACT Fishing Map
Back to the NT Fishing Map
Back to the Queensland Fishing Map
Back to the SA Fishing Map
Back to the Tasmanian Fishing Map
Back to the Victorian Fishing Map
Back to the WA Fishing Map

Email corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline feedbacks
View all comments

Book your fishing B&B early at

Buy Redback on eBay