KINGFISH, YELLOWTAIL
Sci: Seriola Lalandi

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.

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 caught.