Vicki Winter-Lear Bio

Vicki Lear

NSW South Coast Fishing Personality

Vicki is a well known fishing identity based in Wollongong, NSW. An accomplished angler and fishing writer, she’s been successful on numerous species in both Southern and Northern Australia but particularly enjoys her Murray Cod and barramundi fishing. Vicki has written for multiple fishing magazines and is a king pin in the Barra’Prentice program encouraging women to become top flight anglers like Vicki.

Vicki’s Yellowtail Kingfish Tips

  • August to October sees a mix of rat kingfish through to around 90cm. Currently there are rat fish on the surface and if you can get your lures beneath you’ll find better quality of fish from 70-80cm.
  • Kingfish are under pressure, so it’s fine to take a feed, but be sure to fish sustainably, put the small fish and the seriously big ones back.
  • Kingfish hate dirty water, so if it gets stirry and the water is no longer clear you may find that they disappear temporarily.
  • The northern and southern breakwaters around Port Kembla fish well for kingfish at this time of year but watch out for the barrage of lobster pots and for shipping traffic. Areas around Big Island and Gap Island are also fishing well – find the schools of bait around the edges of reef, points and bommies and you’ll find kingfish.
  • Often kings will shift from one side of the structure to the other following a tide change. They’ll be on the upcurrent side of a bommie or structure and when the current changes direction they’ll move so they’re still upcurrent. Periods around the tide changes seem to fish best, but kingfish will bite through the day, no problem.
  • Slimy Mackerel, yakka’s and squid are the predominant food species for kingfish around the NSW South Coast.
  • A north Easterly breeze of 8 knots, clear water and temperatures of 18C are the prime conditions for kingfish. Working birds such as seagulls and muttonbirds is a good indication that bait are near the surface and kingfish are feeding. Be careful not to drive through the middle of feeding birds or you may disperse the bait and spoil the opportunity.

Vicki’s Yellowtail Kingfish Tackle

  • A 6kg, 7’ snapper rod with 4000 size reel, 20lb braid and 20lb leader will cope with the average run of south coast kingfish.
  • If bigger fish are around, Vicki switches to a heavier 10-15kg Demon Blood rod with a Daiwa Saltiga 4000 reel, 40lb line and 80lb leader, which has the power to manage fish without being a broomstick to cast.

Vicki’s Favourite Yellowtail Kingfish Lures

  • Metal jigs are a perennial favourite for kingfish and work very well jigged vertically in depths of 30 metres or more when the fish are down deeper . 110mm butterfly jigs that flutter on the drop are great for this. Drop them down until they hit the bottom, then use mechanical jigging techniques with short lifts and winds….. kings usually hit the jig as it drops between lifts of the rod. An assist hook from the top of the lure works a treat, keeping the lure relatively snag free and putting the hooks near the head where kingfish most often hit.
  • A surface stickbait such as the 140mm Shimano Ocea or a handmade timber Gamoto Lures stickbait is a great option when you find surface feeding fish. Vicki uses single hooks on stickbaits for both safety and for easier release of fish, but also finds she gets better hook set rates with singles. Cast over a feeding school of fish and then work the lure back with slow sweeps of the rod with pauses, so the lure stays on the surface. The pause is important, kings will often hit the stickbait between sweeps.
  • A 100mm soft plastic lure such as a squid or curltail grub works well, although the actual style of lure isn’t too critical. A 3/8 jig head with a 3/0 hook is plenty for the relatively shallow waters Vicki fishes. Soft plastics are best worked by letting them drop down to the depth where fish are holding and then working them with vigorous lifts and drops of the rod.

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Vicki’s Sponsors

Daiwa Australia
Mako Eyewear 
Humminbird and Minn Kota

BarraPrentice & Gamoto Lures

Gamoto Lures 


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