Kings in the Berley Trail

By Jamie Crawford

We had a pretty cool session the other day out wide of the Eyre Peninsula here in South Australia. The weather forecast for was light northerly winds so we made the 80km journey out to some islands wide of our local bay. I run a 5.8m plate boat, so I need to pick favourable weather conditions in order to make the long run comfortable.

We pulled up next to an island in around 30m of water. Instead of trolling around the island or jigging, like we normally do, a mate had said prior to the trip ‘why don’t you get a berley trail happening?’. They had pulled some nice fish from a berley trail recently, so I visited a local pilchard factory and bought a 20kg block of pillies in preparation for our trip.

The water was clean and clear, and before too long we had some nice silver trevally buzzing around in our burley trail. We were just cubing – as you would do for tuna – creating a light but continual trail of chopped pilchard.

We flicked half pilchards – rigged on single 8/0 octopus hooks – into the berley trail and floated them back into the depths. I was using a Saragosa 6000 with 30lb Power Pro braid and matched to a 6 – 12kg Revolution Offshore rod. Not the kind of tackle you would normally associate with offshore kings, but it was an ideal outfit for presenting unweighted baits in the berley trail.

The silver trevally were a bit pesky, taking a few baits, but eventually I set the hook on a much better fish, and after a few line-burning runs and a lap around the boat a nice king of around 9kg was landed. There’s something pretty special about kingfish – their looks, feeding habits and fighting ability certainly give them the stature they deserve.

We continued on for another hour without any action, before setting the hook on another king. This fish took the bait quite delicately like a silver trevally would, but when the hook set the fish bolted. It was a pretty honest fight on the 6 – 12kg outfit with some good runs, a wrap around the anchor rope which we fortunately unwrapped, and then we slipped the environet under our second king for the morning. This fish was slightly better at around 11kg, which was tagged and released.

It’s important to keep an open mind when fishing. I hadn’t considered anchoring up and berleying around these islands before, but it certainly paid dividends after the hot tip from a mate. I’ll certainly be visiting that pilchard factory again before our next offshore mission.