Chasing Kingfish Off Sydney

November 22, 2018

Chasing Kingfish Off Sydney

From a few years ago but only discovered last month. Keen Sydney fisho and expert photographer James Ibrahim recorded his impressions of a typical day offshore. No hype, no BS, and so good that I’ve left it exactly as he wrote it. Just added links to the tackle he mentions, in the story. Hoping you enjoy it, Andy

A lot of people might claim to be the “kingy slayer” but none have the reputation of Andy from, so I was pretty excited to be heading out on his fine vessel for my first time. We were joined by Darryl, one of Andy’s regulars, and Ian, a fellow photographer with a passion for fishing.

Tuesday was the pick of the week in terms of weather and plans were to get stuck into some kings, and head wider if there was as little as a whisper on the radio of bluefin.
Like pretty much any other NSW fisho with a capable boat, I have been keeping my ear to the ground waiting anxiously to troll up some SBTs. It was kind of refreshing to go out and not spend the day trolling for hours on end, and instead tussle with the tough Sydney kingfish.

It was clearly a lot windier than forecast, so we killed some time collecting some very fussy live bait. A quick squid session produced the goods, plenty of southern calamari along the headlands at the moment.

Big squid early in the day

There was very little sounding up at the artificial reef and Annie Miller wreck. By midday the wind died, conditions were looking nice, so we ventured out to the Peak.

Heading out in the boat

It took a while to find a bait ball, but once we did, Andy instantly got a hookup.

Kingfish trying to dive back down

By the time he got his fish to the surface, Darryl had hooked up as well.

Closeup of hooked kingy

Soon we had two nice just legal kings on the boat.

Legal kingfish landed

100 gram jigs ideal for 60 metre deep reefs  like the Peak. Ours are $70 for ten – including delivery:



They were released back down as fast as they came up. Trying to find that same bait ball again was a challenge as it quickly dissipated. We searched and searched but it was futile, in the end we changed tactics and decided to downrig a yakka.

Downrigger set up off the back of boat

About 20min into it, it was apparent that things had shut down and it was time to move on. A boat on the way in told us that the 12 mile was pretty quiet, but that they got an 80cm version. So that meant there were bigger kings at the 12mile, and where there’s one king there’s many.

 Downrigger including:
  • 4 pound weight, 4 release clips and depth counter
  • Swivel boomhead for turning
  • Carbontex drag washers
  • 65 meters of 200 pound braid
  • Tilting boom arm with locking mechanism
  • Adjustable rod holder
  • Solid aluminium tube rod holder

Pulling up to the 12 mile reef, I had a good feeling about testing the waters as we approached high tide. As soon as we got there on the first drop it was on! The 12 mile was on fire and we had the whole place to ourselves. Andy hooked up instantly, surprisingly high in the water column too.

Kingfish illuminated


As Andy was bringing in his fish, Ian then hooked up too (in the background).

Pulling out of the sea

Soon we had them both up.

Double kingfish catch

Then it happened again.

Reeling in the double

and again.

What a day double hookups all round

250 gram jigs perfect for 100 metre plus reefs  like 12 Mile. Ours are $90 for ten –including delivery:


The kings ranged from 70’s to some bigguns. It was great to see Ian getting his fix, clearly a fishing junkie who had been doing it cold turkey for way too long, every junkie needs his fix.

Nice one on deck

Kings continued to be pulled aboard two by two.

Great shot of catching two kingfish

It was refreshingly exhausting pulling them up one after another. With the kings on fire, I didn’t have to put the camera gear down long to get in on the action.

Still producing as the afternoon sun rolled in

Of all the fish we caught that day only 2 were kept, the rest were released healthy.

Releasing Kingfish for another angler

On the way back in through the Heads we were greeted by miles of slimy mackerel on the surface.

Slimy mackerel hitting the surface

And a few salmon splashing here and there.

Salmon attack slimy mackerel schools

Judging by the radio chatter there were quite a few boats off Sydney chasing SBTs and not one caught that day. Overall an awesome day out, on a great boat, with a top bunch of guys. A special thanks to Andy for letting myself and Ian use your personal stash of jigs.

Great day plenty of fish

If you’re a fan of my photos check out my instagram account on:


Thanks to James for this great story and hope you enjoyed it. Tight lines,
Andrew Hestelow


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