Anglers: Luke Davis, Tim Bowker, Cory Dykman

Words: Josh Bovill


Winters at sea are a great leveller; rising before the sun, an appetite for coffee drives you from your bunk. The familiar taste awakens your senses to the cold as you begin to focus on the day ahead. It’s the season for solitude, with the crowds thinned out, it’s a good opportunity to get amongst it, just you and your mates.

Slipping from our bunks one by one we gathered around the table we’d drank at the night before; our hands cupped around the warm mugs, the drink differed but the conversation remained. We were targeting Kingfish and we needed live bait.

Koheru are great Kingfish bait, but fishing for them can be fickle. The time and effort spent catching our bait in the morning would dictate our success against the hoodlum of the reef later in the day so we dug in until we had what we needed.

Reflecting on the effectiveness of slow trolling live Koheru around rocky out crops from previous trips, we scoured the charts and the skipper got us to where we needed to be.

Our boat now creeping in shallower waters, the lines were in and our eyes searched for flashes of green amongst the blue. At the back of the boat, I leant out over the edge, something caught my eye and the sense of anticipation that had filled the air before, was replaced with excitement. We were in the right place and the chase was on. The speed and power of this fish is why we were targeting them and once hooked the rigours of landing one began. There is a fleeting moment of clarity as your line screams off the reel, you become aware that this is a fight on their terms, that you’re in their back yard; but this is why you do it, why you’re here.

Our skipper’s sleight of hand and swift boat work kept us on top of them and out of trouble beneath the surface. It was often the difference between success and disappointment; catching kingfish in this manner requires patience and practice, for every photograph pinned to the bach wall of someone’s catch of the day, there are many tales of the ones that got away.