THE bell has rung for the start of the 2014 kingfish season (better late than never), with clear blue water making an overdue appearance on Saturday and Sunday. As soon as the current started flowing from the south the kingfish had a bite on the Southern Pinnacle about two miles south of Montague Island. On Saturday the clear water was localised to the south end of the Island, and there was a 3.5c degree difference between the cold north end and the relatively warmer Southern Pinnacle at 20.5c. This good water stayed until Sunday.
Fish of small and medium sizes were taken on trolled lures early and then on live baits and squid, with a few taking jigs (but a lot of work between fish). Kings up to 90cm were boated, and fortunately seals were not much of a problem. Over 40 boats were counted on Sunday in a bunch a bit larger than a footy field, word spread quickly with charter operators getting calls from Melbourne and Western NSW checking to see if the rumours were true.
Monday morning saw the current drop completely, with a few kingfish taken at 'Spot X', which is a closely guarded secret location (actually it's on the south end of the fowlhouse, but don't tell the Bermi boats). After a short bite the fish were gone, and they will be hard to track until the current starts again, which could happen at any time.
Local divers Steve Bunney and Dane Wilmont were filming about 150mts north of the boat fleet targeting kingfish when they had an encounter with a 50+ kg black marlin on Sunday. The video is on UTube, if you enter: ‘Narooma spearfishing marlin’ you will be able to see Steve's GoPro video. The marlin was seen attacking small kingfish which were still stunned after being released as they were under size. Just goes to show you never know what's just around the corner in the ocean.
On the down side the Chinaman's jackets are still hanging around the normal flathead grounds, they are making short work of any baits and shiny sinkers sent down, so if you are losing your baits and only feeling small bites, the advice is to move quickly to another spot.
Remember that when using strip baits, whether it's squid or strips of fish flesh, to always run the hook through the bait and then run the bait up the line and use a half hitch to secure it to the line. If you leave the shaft of the hook exposed it will dramatically reduce the chance of a hook up on many fish such as kingfish.