Kingfish are notoriously known for their strength and speed, making them one of the most sought-after game fish. These powerful predators are known for their speed, strength, and agility, making them a challenging target for even the most experienced anglers. Catching a kingfish can be a challenging and exciting experience, but have you ever considered catching one on a HAND LINE with live bait and a balloon? It may sound unusual, but it's actually a proven old-school technique that can yield excellent results.
To get started, you'll need a hand line, a balloon, a hook, and some live bait. Kahawai, mackerel, and yellowtail are excellent choices for kingfish bait.
These fish are strong swimmers and are often targeted by kingfish in the wild. You'll also need to have a clear understanding of the area you're fishing in and the movements of the fish. You can buy a strong monofilament hand line on a hand spool or you can just get a strong long rope with a hand winder from any hardware store. If you decide to use a rope then you need to add a few meters of leader to the end before tying on the hook.
The first step is to locate a good fishing spot. You can start by looking for structures such as rocks, reefs or river mouths, as these are known to attract kingfish. Once you've found a spot, tie your hook onto the end of the hand line and attach a balloon to the line using a balloon clip. The balloon will act as a float, keeping the live bait near the surface of the water, making it easier for the kingfish to spot it.
Catch your live bait using a rod and reel or a cast net, and then transfer them to a live bait tank or bucket filled with seawater or use them right away. Kingfish will eat big live baits so don’t hesitate to use a large kahawai.
Take your live bait and insert the hook through the back of the baitfish, just before the dorsal fin. This will allow the baitfish to swim more naturally in the water. Make sure not to insert the hook too deeply - only just below the skin otherwise the bait will die quickly.
It is best to insert the hook at an angle so that the point of the hook is facing towards the tail of the live bait. Fish will swallow their prey head on and if the hook is facing backwards you will have a much better chance of a hookup.
Now, it's time to let the line out. Put the live bait into the water and let it swim out with the current. The balloon will keep it near the surface. Keep an eye on the balloon as it will indicate when a kingfish has taken the bait. If the balloon suddenly moves or disappears, it's a sign that the kingfish has taken the bait, and it's time to start reeling in your catch.
When the kingfish takes the bait, it's essential to give it some time to swallow the bait before you start reeling it in. If you start reeling in too soon, the kingfish will feel the resistance and spit out the bait. So, give it a few seconds to swallow the bait and hook itself.
Once the kingfish is hooked, start bringing it in slowly but steadily. Don't pull too hard or too fast, as this can cause the hook to dislodge from the fish's mouth. With a handline, you don’t have any drag. You rely on the stretch of the line and your own judgment on how hard to pull.
As you bring in the kingfish, be prepared for a fight. Kingfish are strong and will put up a good fight. When the kingfish is close enough and you are fishing from the rocks or a higher point, use a gaff to hook it and bring it up. Otherwise, just drag it onto the beach.
Catching a kingfish on a hand line with live bait and a balloon is not only exciting but also a unique way to catch this elusive game fish. With a little bit of patience and practice, you can master this technique and land yourself a trophy kingfish. Just remember to always practice responsible fishing and follow local fishing regulations.
For more info on catching kingfish on a handline, watch the video on how we landed a massive 20kg kingfish on a simple $20 handline with our bare hands.
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