Common Names: This species is most commonly called kingfish, yellowtail
kingfish, yellow-tailed kingfish, yellowtail, king, kingy or "kingi". Colloquial
titles include "hoodlum" and "bandit", while smaller specimens are often nicknamed
"rats" or nor' headers. Some confusion exists between the kingfish and two of
its near relatives; the amberjack and the Samson fish, while an unrelated species,
the cobia (Rachycentron canadus) is also commonly called black kingfish.
Sci: Seriola Lalandi
Description: The yellowtail kingfish is a powerful, pelagic fish characterised
by its bright-yellow tail. Colouration varies slightly between individuals, but
is usually dark green or blue on the back, shading through metallic blue-green
to silver and white or off-white on the belly. A distinct gold or yellowish stripe
runs along each flank of a freshly caught kingfish.
Size: Large schools of "rat" kingfish in the 1 to 4 kg range are often
encountered, and school fish of 6 to 12 kg fish are relatively common in some
areas, too. Bigger fish in the 15 to 30 kg range tend to form much smaller schools.
The maximum growth potential of this species is in the excess of 60 kg.
Distribution: Kingfish are found in the cool, temperate
and sub-tropical waters of Australia, New Zealand and nearby
islands; including Lord Howe and Norfolk. A similar or identical
fish is found off the south-western coast of North America.
Kingfish mainly frequent the waters around offshore reefs,
pinnacles and islands, as well as inshore reef systems,
large bays and even deep estuaries. They prefer fairly clean
water with a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius or more,
but will occasionally stray into cooler areas. Fishing
Techniques: The yellowtail kingfish is a strong, exciting gamefish that
strikes savagely at a wide range of lures, live baits and dead or cut flesh offerings.
One of the most successful way to take them is to present a live bait such as
a slimy mackerel or yellowtail scad at the depth at which the kingfish are schooling.
This may involve the use of a running or fixed sinker on the line. Slow trolled
live baits, large, deep diving minnow lures and metal jigs worked vertically over
the seabed are also readily taken by these fish at times. Land-based anglers enjoy
excellent sport with kingfish, especially when using high-speed metal lures, live
baits and pilchards or garfish on ganged hooks. When all else fails, kingfish
are particularly susceptible to a bait of whole, fresh or live squid.
Eating Qualities: The flavour and taste of kingfish
flesh is good to very good in smaller fish, but tends towards dryness in large
specimens. In some warmer areas, kingfish may be infested with parasites and occasionally
suffer from a disease which causes the flesh to turn soft and milky when cooked.
For this reason, they are not a popular table fish in sub-tropical areas. All
yellowtail kingfish intended for the table should be bled and iced as soon as