We sat down with kingfish conqueror Mike Bonnici to talk tactics and how he uses his NSS evo3 equipped Sea Devil to find more fish than most.
How do you rate kingies on their fighting qualities?
I would rate kingfish as 9/10, they pull hard and fight dirty!
How does the New South Wales kingie fishery stack up?
NSW kingfish would have to be one of the most targeted fish by anglers. This is due in part to their accessibility, kingies can be caught year round and from the inshore waters of the harbour out to the 200m mark.
What baits and/or lures do you find effective?
Best baits would be squid, slimeys and yakkas. My preferred lures are jigs, soft plastics, stickbaits and poppers.
How does your sounder come into play when targeting kingfish?
The most important thing I look for on my sounder screen is separation, the ability to define bait from kingfish makes all the difference. Learning to interpret these images in different water depths also helps. In shallow water fish targets will be a lot bigger, and other non-target fish can look like you’re marking kings. Having an eye for detail helps.
What’s your sure-fire way of tempting fish marked on your sounder?
Get a live bait down on top of them! If you’re not getting bites, try downsizing your leader. Dropping micro jigs can be dynamite also.
What technique do you find most rewarding?
These days I pretty much only chase kings on topwater. Definitely not the easiest way to catch them however it’s the most rewarding for me. I look for areas with the heaviest bait concentration, or edges that the current is hitting first. They might not be there all the time, but these are zones where kings will pass through the day and are always worth a sound over.