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Port Augusta Fishing Guide Yellowtail Kingfish

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Yellowtail Kingfish at Port Augusta

So for many this is one of the biggest challenges of their fishing careers. The ultimate prize and one of the strongest pound for pound fighting fish in Australia. So the following is a bit of their history and how both fishers and fish have changed over the years.

Many years ago, 1940's through to the 1980's  these fish were netted in their hundreds by local netters however a netting ban was put in place in the 1980's from around Douglas Bank northwards.

The Kingfish benefited from this closure and their numbers remain quite good to this day here at Port Augusta. They return annually to the top of Spencer Gulf with many believing they spawn here. There has been very little research done in this area as they are not targeted by commercial fishers much as they are just to hard to catch and while some do contain roe later in the year it is still unclear as to where they spawn, possibly at the head of the gulf. 

Back in the 1990's the most popular lure was a Halco Trembler. Tackle stores sold literally hundreds of these lures and they worked, interestingly very few fishers use them anymore??  

Kingfish appear to have changed their behavior over the years or perhaps it is fisherman who have changed their behavior. Either way there have been significant changes over the years. Why is it that for a number of years the above lures caught plenty of fish and now they are no longer used. Is it the fish or the fisherman? 

So in the early 2000's the preferred rig was a live squid on a balloon and sit out in front of the Power Station outlet channel with its warm water in the months of July, August  and September. Other live bait like Salmon and Garfish were used to good effect also. Over Head reels were all the go with 24kg line and rod to match.  

The below video was one of the first to capture fishers attention on you tube many years ago and is still relevant to this day. There have been plenty more posted and you are welcome to google "Yellowtail Kingfish Port Augusta" to view them all. Very entertaining.     

So this continued up until around the closure of the Northern Power Station in 2016 when many predicted or assumed the Kingfish would no longer venture up this way anymore. We had to wait and see however they did continue to come to Port Augusta and while things have changed a bit as they don't appear to congregate around the Power Station in the months of July and August as much they are still are here in huge numbers.      

  Since this video fishing for Kingfish has further developed with an emphasis on Down Riggers such as the following:- Down Rigger

Add to this the use of Side Imaging Sounders which have become more popular recently to locate these large schools.

Once located fishers then are either trolling lures, trolling live baits with down riggers or casting lures and lately a favorite has been metal stick baits more commonly used in deeper tropical waters however they have been very successfully here at Port Augusta jigging for them. Once jigging became more popular Spin Reels also became the more popular using 50 -80lb braid.

Jigpara Lures

The below image of huge schools have also enticed those to try their luck as later in the year around October large schools head up to the top of the gulf.

I trust this has helped some of those contemplating trying their luck and remember you are only allowed one fish per person or a boat limit of three. Many of the more successful fishers are now catching and releasing which is a more sustainable way to approach these prized fish.

Good luck and tight lines.