Where do I start? After a short flight from Brisbane Australia to Auckland NZ. We boarded Enchartered a beautiful 30 ton timber vessel at the Mangonui dock. To be greeted by skipper Lance (grumpy) and excellent deckie Nathan.
With perfect weather which continued for 6 days (this never happens) we steamed out for the Three kings and Princess group 12hrs one way. A congregation of rock islands which are stunning and oh so fishy. We planned a night time sword fish drop and hooked a monster at 3:10am. A 18hr and 20min battle followed on 80W standup gear and a final 18kg of brutal drag was applied before pulling the hook. We think at the 4-5 hr mark the hook pulled during a jump and foul hooked the sword after that we couldn't turn the fish and this sword fish wrecked the whole crew. Skipper and deckie called the fish for +300kg after seeing the beast jumping behind the boat.
Upon arriving at the Princess group we all had our stickbaits rigged (trebles not allowed on enchanter) and drags set. First spot a head land which had all the ingredients for some bending action. Unfortunately no interest at all, after moving to our second spot we noticed hundreds of small trevally under sitting seagulls. Many casts followed using our king fish stickbaits with no hook up from the trevally and half way through rigging a smaller stickbait Skipper Lance calls out "big kingies behind the boat!" A huge pack of king fish ranging from 20-40kg readily monstering every lure. Quad hook ups followed and 3 topwater virgins had their cherries popped and they were hurting. It was crazy I describe king fish fight on top water a cross between GT and tuna. Power and speed and a desire to head for the reef at speed like no other fish. A must do for any topwater addict.
To be honest any stickbait would have worked in that situation. Most of the time the fish weren't easy to tempt on surface. Lures which stood out were stickbaits which could carve the surface making a large bubble trail and erratic action worked best.
Unfortunately the water was quite choppy so many lures couldn't handle the choppy water and maintain their action. The 217-160g twitch was my lure of choice it handled the chop and maintained it erratic topwater action until a king fish took it from me. 😓
Another standout was the smaller 174-100g slider plus the subsurface 174-160g fast sink stickbait. Poppers accounted for no fish this trip not to say they don't work but a well tuned stickbait was best on this trip.
I fished a Pe7 zenaq 83-7 paired with a 14000 Stella 100lb Varivas GT max braid and 150lb YGK mono leader. All lures where rigged with singles or a back to back singles on the belly. It is absolutely necessary to test swim your stickbaits with hooks in saltwater. To have them positively buoyant and swimming on surface with a good bubble trail and erratic action. If your stickbait can do this in choppy conditions that will definitely help you hook those hard fishing topwater King fish.
The Three Kings is famed for its big king fish on jigs and we weren't disappointed. We jigged depths ranging from 60m to 200m and our jig weights ranged from 400g-1200g. 300m of Pe6 is a minimum but most fished pe8. We found the jig of the trip was the JM 400-500g diamond eye which accounted for the largest king fish of 39kg by angler Adam.
We scored plenty of sub 30kg kings and at least 10 over 30kg. In my opinion tho dropping 800-1200g jigs for Bass,Hapuka and blue eye trevalla was my jigging highlight. I'm not the strongest angler and mechanical jigging these large jigs nearly killed me.
Lance would position the boat and called out "we're in Bass city drop to the bottom boys" the speed that these jigs sink is really something. Upon reaching the bottom in 180m the jig 9/10 times would be hit within 10m of the rocky bottom. You'd be struggling to jig and then the rod slowly loads up and feels like you've hooked the bottom. Then you start to lose line and the skipper calls it for a bass easily pulling 15kg of drag while your been railed. You palm the spool and much as you dare without busting off any of your gear and over loading your already heavily loaded body.
The first 1/3 of the battle is quite intense like hooking a 30kg rock with a propeller. So going easy now will see the bass turn and head for the rocks cutting your line as has happened to many before. After 10-15mins the bass is near the surface and your line starts to angle out away from the boat. Bubbles appear and shortly afterwards a highly bloated Bass bursts to the surface like a raising submarine. Definitely a highlight of my jigging adventures highly recommended
a pit of blue eye trevalla on 1200g jigs.
Pirate with his 30kg hapuka
we also landed two striped Marlin a 90kg and. 130kg
Here are some more pics from our memorable trip to the Three King NZ
day after day of near perfect weather.
the princess group top water king fish here we come.
nathan doing his time during our 18hr swordfish battle.
Adam putting his JM pe8 outfit through hell.
stickman and not so stickman stickbaiting the princess group.
left to right.
Railed as Nathan
Motor mouth Hernaman
Pacing himself pirate
Adam I'll drop once and catch the biggest fish.
Baby bass blaster Brett.