Jervis Bay Kingfish

by Greg Reid | Australian Lure Fishing

Tweed River Mangrove Jack Map
Greg Reid

Greg Reid

Gun Angler, Former Fishing Guide

Reidy has been fishing Jervis Bay and surrounds for over two decades and knows the area like the back of his hand. He’s presented fishing segments on IFish with Paul Worsteling, Escape with ET and Fishing Australia with Rob Paxevanous. He’s fished with Michael Guest, Lee Rayner, Mark Berg and more and is a regular fishing speaker at the Sydney Boat Show. As a former fishing guide, Reidy has helped hundreds to catch the fish of their dreams from Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin.

Greg’s Top Tips For Targeting Jervis Bay Kingfish

  • Kingfish are a year-round option in Jervis Bay but tend to be in deeper water over the winter. Spring through Autumn is when the fish move inshore and will feed at all levels of the water column, including on the surface.
  • Lure fishing for kingfish is seems to be best when water temps are relatively cool – around 18-21C is optimal. Jervis Bay is a mixing zone and can simultaneously receive warm northern currents and cool southern currents, so check out the surface temp maps and watch your sounder to find the right zones.
  • Watch for birds, current lines and other signs of fish and be sure to avoid driving a boat through a school of Kingies. Working the headlands around the entrance to the bay or “The Middle Ground” reef in the middle of the bay when there is a strong current causing upwelling is a good strategy.
  • At times the “rat kings” of less than the 65cm minimum size can be in plague proportions and nothing else will get near a lure. When this happens, simply enjoy the sport on light tackle and accept that bigger fish may be in small pods, or even solitary, making them harder to find.
  • Oversize salmon, tailor and bonito are all possibilities when  fishing for kingfish around Jervis Bay, especially when trolling smaller lures.
  • “If there’s no wobble, there’s no gobble” and if “there’s no run there’s no fun”. You want a lure with plenty of erratic action to get this inquisitive species fired up and ready to nail a lure and you want to fish it when there’s at least 1.4m of tidal movement.
  • Warning: Know where the sanctuary zone boundaries are!
  • Watch the weather, make sure your boat is seaworthy, that you are carrying the correct safety gear and that you check in with the Voluntary Marine Radio crew before heading out.

Reidy’s Kingfish Tackle Recommendations

  • When the rat kings are thick, use light gear and a micro jig up to around 20g. A Shimano Snapper Raider rod 4-7kg with 15lb braid and a 20lb leader is a good option for this style of fishing. Reidy wasn’t specific about reels for this outfit, but I’d be thinking along the lines of a 3000 – 4000 size Shimano Stradic CI4.
  • A 6-8kg Shimano Snapper Raider rod with 30lb braid and 40lb leader is perfect for throwing the big soft plastic lures. Again, Reidy wasn’t specific about reels, but I’d be thinking along the lines of a 4000 – 5000 size Shimano Stradic CI4.
  • A 12-24kg combo with 50lb braid and 80lb leader isn’t used often, but can be handy when the bigger fish are about.

Reidy’s Kingfish Lures For Jervis Bay

  • 9″ Silstar Slapstix in clear/opaque to white colour on a 1oz, 7/0 TT Lures jig head is historically the most productive lure in the arsenal. Cut the round end off the lure so it sits square to the jig head. Cast long and flip the bail arm just before the lure hits the water surface, working the rod tip hard and winding to make the lure jiggle erratically along the surface for 5-6m. Then allow the lure to sink and work it down through the depths in much the same way as hopping a soft plastic from shallow to deep in an impoundment. Finally, when the lure is vertical beneath the boat, work it up with a series of short jerks of the rod using just enough lift to load the rod tip – nothing too strenuous.
  • Small microjigs of around 20g (eg Storm, Nomad) in combinations of white, silver and/or blue are good tools for rat kingfish and can be dropped to the bottom then worked back up vertically with small sweeps of the rod tip. This shouldn’t be too fast or strenuous, keep the lure moving reasonably slowly but erratically
  • Rapala X-rap Walk (90mm) is a great option when the fish are smacking lures off the surface but isn’t made any longer. A good alternative is the Nomad Riptide 165.
  • Weedless rigged soft plastics ripped across the surface also work well. Reidy recommends the Pro Lure 160 Prey Minnow fished on the 3/8 oz 5/0 jig head. Reidy had a hand in designing these lures for this style of fishing and has an interest in the Pro Lure company.

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Reidy’s Businesses

Pro Lure Australia designs and manufactures a range of lures specifically for Aussie anglers and Reidy is a key part of the design team. The Pro Lure range includes hard body lures, soft plastics and blades and covers species from bream to marlin. Available in 90 Australian outlets and in 8 countries around the world, get behind an emerging force in Australian lure fishing. 

Bay And Basin Sports Fishing is Reidy’s former sport fishing guiding service, which still provides locals and visitors to Jervis Bay with boat safety checks and local (insider) fishing advice and guidance.