Jigging accessories

Rats! They're small, illegal, and eager to bite Swarms of "rats" - the undersize models of yellowtail kingfish - are here, and looking for trouble. The legal size for yellowtail kingfish is 75cm. Most of the rat brigade are around 71cm - sometimes it seems as though they must know when they are small and have to be released. Rats school by size, and often the small guys have mobs of bigger fish beneath them. The really big ones are less social, more solitary. Jigs, live bait, softbait, or stickbait, there's not much a rat won't take. They are huge sport on light tackle, and although not edible, they're worth a bit of time to target. Getting through the rats to the bigger fish can be a chore because it seems that not even a bigger bait or lure stops the little guys. Surface fishing a well-placed stickbait from a second angler can sometimes snag a bigger fish while the first angler distracts the smaller fish with his lure. Try a popper for the distractor. Longer, fatter jigs (200g-250g) are good in the gulf. Movement is important (speed rather than mechanical jigging) by just working the bottom 10m. If you are at anchor and want to catch a king, a live bait on a balloon is effective, but make sure you have a sharp hook and the correct leader and drag setting . Get ready to ditch the anchor if you need to follow a fish, or lead it to deeper water. Kingfish in the Hauraki Gulf average 5kg-7kg, and up to 20kg and over. Most, up to about 17kg, can be caught on light gear. Even a quality 10kg sport fishing braid set will get the job done and be buckets fun.