While I wouldn't normally put up a post about a lost fish, this one was special. Easily the biggest fish I've hooked in the broadwater and one of the longest fights I've ever had. Anyway on with the story.
Arrived at the seaway monday morning at around 3.30, swell was non existant, as was wind. Too calm for my liking. I immediately forgot about fishing the ends of the walls and decided to stick with the Canyon/North Wavebreak area as that is where the big fish were holding and feeding. Based on what I have seen and reports from others big Kingfish have made it thier feeding ground but only for short periods so I knew I'd have to stick with just the one spot to have a shot at it. Tide was an official low at 1.47am which with the adjustment meant that the tide would begin pushing in around 3.47, right on dawn... GT tide..
Choice of lure was simple, skitterbait on the light rod, Rapala Skitter Pop 9 ST on the big rod. Around 4.30am I saw the first swirls of feeding Kings and on about my 4th cast a big bow wave came up behind the skitterbait then lunged but the bow wave pushed the lure out of its way. After a few more half hearted bustups I placed a good cast right into the middle of a pack of feeding Kings. A king came up behind it and swallowed it and kept going straight at me, I wound the reel fast to pick up the slack and the king opened it's mouth and the lure came out without a hookup.
I tried again, after a few more half-hearted boils they came up in a group and I got over there just in time, a few twitches with the skitterbait and it was nailed by a fish that nearly got airborne on the strike, then took off. A solid hookup and the fish made a few runs before coming to the boat.. strange didn't feel like a kingfish..and it wasn't. It was a decent GT of around 63cm though.
By the time I had dealt with him and got back the action was tapering off, a few more scattered fish came up then there were 15-20 minute gaps between short bustups lasting around 10-15 seconds. I decided to anchor up using my detachable anchor(anchor + 1m chain + 10m rope + float) rather than waste more fuel running in the channel. I anchored up in the eddy at the end of the north wavebreak wall. While I was waiting a few fish busted up near the wall, but I couldn't get a hookup out of them, I think they were Bigeyes. After half an hour or so I saw another bustup so I unclipped the float and raced over there. Got over there too late though. That happened twice more over the next hour so it was drop float, start engine, full throttle over to the bustup and cast in there. Both times the bustup had finished before I arrived.
At around 9am I saw a big bustup up near the first set of channel markers north. Anyone who has chased Kingfish before will be familiar with the area. I got there just as the action was tapering off and managed to put in one decent cast. The lure was about 3 metres away from the boat when out of nowhere a yellowtailed torpedo nailed it and sped off. You see the Kingfish feeding so leisurely most of the time you forget how fast they can be when they really want to move. He sped northwards emptying the spool of the little Ballistic 3000 so I gave chase. The worst thing you can do for a kingfish is give it alot line out, your best hope is to keep the line as vertical as possible so thats what I did. He headed for the Canyon, the place of nightmares when it comes to big Kingfish. A rugged bottom full of sharp rocks, two cungevoi incrusted beacons, sunken trees and a large rock wall. For the next 20 minutes he slugged it out at the back end of the canyon going from one side to the other thankfully keeping away from the dropoff where the sharpest rocks were, then he went for a run alongside the North Wavebreak rock wall, unfortunately heading right for the anchor rope which was still floating from where I'd left it. Of course he managed to wrap the line around it so I got over there and managed to untangle it and retrieve it one handed(18.00 mins on the video). He headed for the yellow beacon marking the Wavebreak anchorage so I got alongside him and applied some side pressure which turned him around just in time. I did get a good look at him at this point as he arced around the front of the boat and he was easily the biggest Kingfish I've ever seen, well over a metre long and fat too. He headed back out heading North east, a real good direction, nothing but sand in that direction. For the first time I thought I had a chance... I should have known better. Once he reached the middle of the channel he turned and headed back north and over to the eastern side of the channel where he slugged it out for another 10 minutes. Then slowly but surely he began to work his way south west towards the dropoff and the sharpest rocks. The tide was now slowing and he made the dropoff then spent 10 minutes swimming along the edge of it trying to get the right angle to bust me off. Due to the fact that I was right over him the whole time it took him a while but eventually the line hit a rock edge and it was all over. Sat down for a while after that.
So could I have done anything different to change the outcome? I kept the line as vertical as possible, I used directional changes to keep him away from serious structure. The only thing I could have tried but didn't was to freespool him in the hope he would swim away from the dropoff but that is a technique fraught with danger. Overall I'm happy with what I accomplished, most kingfish hookups only last seconds let alone 40 minutes. As I always say, only the stupid big kingfish get caught, and there aren't too many of them.
Skitterbait's have now proven themselves to be one of the most versatile seaway lures in my box, able to hook everything from the smallest tailor to the largest kingfish. They can hack a bit of punishment with the hooks I supply them with as long as you don't try and redline your gear or fish them on gear that is too heavy. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather hook a kingfish and lose it than not hook any at all. That said, I will be trialling the use of single hooks on skitterbaits to improve your chances on large kingfish.
Lure: Skitterbait Black Redhead
Line: 15lb Spider Braid
Leader: 30lb Famell Super shock
Rod: Daiwa Triforce TFZA701MLFS
Reel: Daiwa Ballistic 3000
Here is 23 minutes of the battle, batteries in the camera went flat after that.