Sydney Kingfish (or Yellowtail Kingfish as they are sometimes known) are a subspecies of the Yellowtail Amberjack, which are found in the waters around South-eastern Australia and on the North-eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. They are also known to enjoy the temperate waters elsewhere in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and can often be found as far west as Perth.
As an oceanic surface fish, they are known to congregate around rocky headlands, deep water jetties, and inshore reefs, as well as rock and reef areas further out to sea.
Although the waters where they like to swim can be turbulent and tidal, the Sydney Kingfish is a popular target for amateur fishing aficionados from Sydney and further afield, because it is possible to catch them using surface fishing techniques or deep sea fishing techniques. If you are attempting to catch Sydney Kingfish, be aware that they can be powerful fighters, and the necessary precautions should always be taken.
Sydney Kingfish Characteristics
These beautiful fish are easily recognisable, because of their dark green colour and white underbelly. They also have brilliant yellow tails, dorsal fins, pectoral fins and caudal fins, along with a distinctive yellow stripe along their pectoral line. In general, older animals will be more faded in colour, whilst younger fish will still look vivid. The fact that they are so bright, colourful and easy to recognise has made these fish very popular amongst the Australian diving community.
An average size male Sydney Kingfish will reach sexual maturity at approximately 47 cm fork length, whilst the average female which has reached sexual maturity will be around 83 cm fork lengths. Once they have reached this size, they will continue to grow rapidly until the age of 11. Fully grown adults can reach up to 190cm in total length and may weigh up to 70kg! If you are planning on catching Kingfish off of the coast of Australia, the minimum legal length is 75cm and there is a bag limit of 5 per day. Fishing using kingfish traps has been banned outright.
Kingfish are more abundant in the summer months, but can be found all year round by lucky divers and amateur fishermen.
Sydney Kingfish Habits
During the autumn months, Kingfish are more likely to be found in large bays and estuaries. Their movement is often associated with the movement of their prey. Sydney Kingfish can be found in pursuit of schools of smaller fish, such as mackerel, baitfish, garfish and piper. They have also been known to eat squid and octopus.
All of these things are effective bait, as are cuttlefish, prawn, and live minnows. Jigs, poppers and soft plastics can also be used as effective lures.
Those who are hunting Kingfish for food will be rewarded with an excellent white fish with beautifully thick fillets. Kingfish is easily cooked using a variety of different cooking methods, including cooking in foil on the barbeque. In order to avoid the fillets drying out during the cooking process, marinading with a light citrus marinade can help to aid moisture retention.