Silvery live baits such pilchards, threadfin herring, menhaden, mullet and … Popular among tournament anglers, the ribbonfish is a much sought after bait. We managed to land some nice fish over the next couple of trips while floating dead baits down the berley trail – something we hadn’t done on previous trips. These may sound like an overkill, but trust me they’re not. A good high capacity pump circulating water in a round live well can keep pogies alive and fresh all day. Casts nets are the order of the day, and those that have at least a seven-foot radius do well in catching numbers of pogies. The livies sat there…and sat there. Dead ribbonfish (a.k.a. More often than not though, we’ll anchor in a likely location and set some stationary live baits. Planers are used to bring the bait being trolled to the depth of choice. There is a wide selection of baits that can effectively be used for kings, including live slimy mackerel, yellowtail scad, salmon trout, garfish, mullet, herring, silver trevally, and of course squid. That means chasing a fish around before bringing him to gaff, but trust me Â you will pull the hooks on a heavy drag. In some locations this means downrigging, especially if drift fishing or slowly motoring around a headland or island. The trick here is to make sure there is a bend of slack in the small stinger leader. This is probably because the majority of anglers will be chasing kings around reefs and rocks close to the coast. My half pillie managed to float underneath the trevs on one occasion, and got smashed. Whatever method you use, and whatever bait you use, make sure to check your baits often. Lures, plugs, and chuggers will work occasionally and in a pinch, but by far the preferred baits are live. Lots of anglers have separate pogie live wells in addition to the ones built into their boat. Sometimes several of these baits are used, one on each rod. They usually come in colors of white, chartreuse, pink, yellow and several combinations of these colors. Pogies get a number four or five treble hook through their nose. This hook is wired to a piece of number four or five leader wire. Even with a slow troll, pogies tend to weaken and open their mouths after being trolled for a while. We picked a likely location in the lee of one of the islands and dropped the anchor in around 25 m of water. Establishing a berley trail was the biggest factor here, and we used about 10 kg of pillies on each of the trips. The two up baits are a long distance behind the boat swimming freely. It takes a bit more preparation to fish with baits, but it’s worth the effort when that first golden-tailed fish hits the surface. And other captains usually respond, helping out a fellow angler. We had good weather on the day, and once we arrived at our chosen location there were about a dozen other boats working the same area. On other than a tournament day, the VHF usually lights up in the morning with captains asking no one in particular where the bait is located. On all the rigs, make sure the reels are set in free spool with the clickers on. Moving offshore, reports of pelagic species — kingfish, cobia, amberjack and blackfin tuna — are more frequent. Because we are fishing unweighted, we have been concentrating on areas of minimal current and tidal flow, so we can drift our baits together with the berley as naturally as possible. I believe in keeping it as simple as possible. Experts help you catch smokers year 'round. Andy gives us some great pointers towards catching live bait and thenafter which we reap the rewards by catching a few kings Other kinds of kingfish lures, such as the King Zig, can be trolled for Kingfish in lieu of live baits. They can be fished live or rigged and fast trolled over wreck or reef. Nose cones and trolling skirts are used on all of the baits above. We don’t berley to the same degree as we do when fishing unweighted baits, but a trickle of berley will still make a difference. They die quickly out of the water, and they require lots of circulating water in the live well. Carolina Kingfish Tips. The Basics of Trolling for Saltwater Fish, The Different Approaches to Catching and Fishing for Grouper, Setting up for Multi-Rig Crappie Trolling, Saltwater Fishing Tips for Freshwater Fishing Enthusiasts, Flying Fish: a Top Bait for Big Game Pelagics. Buy a supply the day before your trip and place them in a cooler with ice. When fishing livies, having two baits set down deep is ample; any more can create chaos if the boat is swinging at anchor, or when you get a hook up. Sometimes fish just want live bait. Brined and frozen ribbons with good bright eyes can bring four to five dollars each at bait shops up and down the coast. Kingfish feeding close to the surface will take live bait such as squid, garfish and slimy mackerel, and they will also take lures. There are only six rigs I use: running ball sinker onto the bait, whole bait on a set of ganged hooks, live baiting a whole squid, sliding snooded hooks, bait suspended under a bobby cork, or a bait suspended under a … This kind of trolling will run the baits at five to six knots or more. They are best caught on small baits or even tiny jigs rather than sabiki rigs. We didn’t even see any signs of kingfish that day. Sometimes a small egg sinker is added at the front of the nose cone to take the cigar deeper. Sweet. Fiddly squid Although most fishermen buy squid from their local bait shop, they can also be caught by recreational anglers. For the purpose of this article, ribbonfish are intended to be the last meal for king mackerel – specifically large king mackerel. The long silvery, toothy critter is a favorite of kingfish, and while hard to find and pricey at bait shops, it fills many bait coolers on tournament days. Apart from a lone southern bluefin that crashed a diver along the backside of the main island, we drew a blank. This style of fishing is also effective around reefs and bommies in open water around the turn of the tide once the main flow has slowed. I run a Simrad NSS on my boat and can’t rate the unit highly enough. Some boats troll for long periods of time with no strike only to find that their baits either got hit, came off or simply died. The Best Baits for Kingfish. Without downriggers, four or five is about as many as you can handle and keep from tangling. This kayak fishing report from Stephen Tapp and Milan from Big Angry Fish, covers the simple and effective technique of live bait fishing for kingfish from the Kayaks and how the Viking Profish tackle pod system can help you land the fish your targeting.
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