King Fish – Seriola Lalandi

King Fish – Seriola Lalandi


King fish have a variety of names and can be known as kingy, king, kingfish, yellow tailed or yellow tail king fish, with smaller fish or species sometimes called north heads or rats. Kings are readily confused with amberjack or the Samson fish and cobia are sometimes called black king as mulloway are also known as a king fish or river king.

King fish are a powerful pelagic fish (meaning they neither live close to the bottom nor near the shore, pelagic zone).

King fish colours varies throughout the species and can consist of but is not limited to having dark green or blue back with metallic blue/green to silver or white belly, when first caught you can tell kingfish apart as they will have a gold or yellow pin stripe that runs along each flank. Their tails are usually dusky yellow or bright gold with dark green or blue dorsal fin that is tinted yellow. Other fins are either yellowish as well or an off white colour.

The Cobia Unlike kingfish, can be told apart from the very dark brown or black back faded to a creamy yellow belly, Their fins are all dark with dark eyes and two light longitudinal strips along their flanks.

The mulloway unlike kingfish can be recognized by its dark bronze or brassy green, blue green or even purple back with a silver belly, when alive or freshly caught bright spots can be noticed along their lateral line.

Amberjack – The amberjack can be distinguished by its much deeper body with a darker colour and less yellowish tinge, again when freshly caught a darker diagonal strip running from the top of the head through their eyes can be found.

Samson fish – The Samson fish can both be distinguished from the kingfish and the amberjack by its number of rays and gill rackers, there will be 23-35 soft rays in the second dorsal fin unlike the amber jack with 29-35.

Kingfish tend to frequent in schools of smaller 1-4kg or “rats”, kings along with school fish 6-12kg more commonly found. Larger king fish tend to form smaller schools. Jarvis Bay, NSW, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk and the likes are home to kingfish as they prefer cooler sub tropical environments with 18*c temperatures and clear water. They are mainly caught around pinnacles, large bays, and deep estuaries, onshore and offshore reefs. Their frequent structure like drop off’s, wrecks, bridge pylons, bays and submarine mountains. As stated before they are pelagic fish and feed mainly between seabed and mid-water but it is not uncommon for them to chase bait fish and break the surface of the water. Mainly feeding in schools their eat small to medium fish such as pilchards, mullet, slimy mackerel, garfish and squid. It is not unheard of smaller kingfish taking smaller fish, prawns or crabs as well.

Kingfish are a fierce game fish and are extremely strong savages, as stated before any bait such as small to medium fish dead or alive, or fresh cut flesh can be used, they are also targeted with lures or metal slugs. One of the best methods is to slowly troll a slimy mackerel on a running sinker rig behind a boat, or if fishing off land a fast retrieval of a metal slug works best. Another great technique is to use a whole squid as bait.

Kingfish can be infested with parasites in the warmer water which makes their flesh turn soft and milky when cooked, other than that they are a good eating fish in the smaller sizes but should be bled and iced immediately.


Record – A World Record 50.6kg Kingfish was speared off of three Kings Island on New Year’s Eve 2016.





Kiwi fisherman spears world record kingfish contender |


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