Catch Kingfish: How to rig a live bait – deep dropping & slow trolling

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  • Catch Kingfish: How to rig a live bait – deep dropping & slow trolling

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Targeting kingfish with live bait

Deep dropping live baits to target kingfish is a one of the most popular and effective way to catch the mighty kings. How to rig a live bait is a really important factor to your hook up rate and success.

Following our other tutorials your gear is set up, you attached your braid to mono leader with a PR knot made your kingfish live bait rig and you're heading out target kingfish dropping your live baits in depths of 40 - 200 metres or slow trolling your live bait in less than 40 metres of water.

How to catch kingfish - rig a live bait

How to rig a live bait

Ready to drop?

It's good to get your live baits ready before you hit the spot to drop, you don't want to waste half the drop time mucking around to rig a live bait on your hook.

So once you've identified your drift and sign on the sounder before the drift begins hook your live bait on, put it back into the live bait tank and get ready to pull it out when your skipper calls for you to drop.


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How to rig a live bait

Step 1:

To rig a live bait it's ideal to use a wet rag to grab and handle the live bait, as this will help it last longer when it’s in the water swimming around. However, it's not essential, especially if your live baits are getting bitten faster than they run out of puff.

A nice soft bait net will make it easier too, those little live baits can be tricky to catch by hand!

How to catch kingfish - rig a live bait

Step 2:

Hold the livebait (jack mackerel, small kahawai) firmly just behind the head so you can place the hook.

For deep dropping livebaits we put the hook through the “nose” (as opposed to the top of the fish – it would go through top when a livebait is being used for surface ballooning).

Look for a clear patch (almost white and gel looking) between the eye and the nostril. It’ll be closer to the eye socket than nostril. Perfect.

How to catch kingfish - rig a live bait

Put the hook through the soft clear patch.

With your circle hook, take care to roll the hook into a position so that the tip of the hook pierces and runs easily through from one side and out the other. 

You want the livebait to be able to swim as easily and naturally as possible. Check your hook position, does the tip of your hook point towards your leader line? If so, perfect.

If you have a really lively livey then holding the bait upside down will help to calm it down.

Matching hook size to bait size is important. Check out this article to learn more: Live Bait Rigs


How to catch kingfish - rig a live bait

Ready to go!

How kingfish feed

Kingfish have no teeth and will eat a live fish head first (if they ate a fish tail first the top fins would jab into their throat). If you think about how fast a little fish darts around if really gives you an appreciation of how quick kingfish move, of their speed as well as their strength.

To this end they chase the livebait to eat it head first and you can feel the livebait getting jittery before a fish takes it.  

You’ll feel it because you’ll be holding your rod keeping in touch with what’s happening with your line. This is when you get ready for hard and fast action!

How to catch kingfish - rig a live bait

It's pretty simple but knowing how to rig a live bait for the different styles of fishing you're doing is really important. Each fishing technique has critical pieces that make a difference to your end success rate, and getting that lively lively down to the fish quick smart with the best chance of hooking up is what it's all about.

Go get em!


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