The yellowtail kingfish is often regarded by anglers as pound for pound the hardest fighting fish in the ocean. The are often referred to as "kings", "kingies" and "yellowtails". Kingfish that are over 1 m in length are often referred to as "hoodlums" because of their difficulty to land once hooked. As soon as a kingfish is hooked, they will often head straight towards the nearest snag or sharp object in an attempt to cut the line. A good place to find kingfish is around pinnacles or heavy structure under the water, but anywhere where bait is present is bound to hold kingfish.
As far as tackle goes, it will vary depending on the size of the kingfish targeted. Small or "rat" kingfish up to 70 cm can be chased with light to medium light outfits ranging from 6 to 20 lb. Larger kingfish ranging from 70 to 100 cm will require heavier tackle ranging from 30 to 50 lb line. Any kingfish larger than that may require heavier line to stop them from reaching the bottom. It is recommended that when targeting large kingfish high quality tackle is used. Kingfish have been known to test reels and rods to the absolute limit. Line choice is normally braided fishing line (made from gel-spun polyethylene) as it is more sensitive and has a thinner diameter.
Kingfish will respond to almost any bait, but baits such as garfish, yellowtail scads, pilchards, slimy mackerel, tommy ruff, juvenile Australian salmon (kahawai) and squid are favourites with squid arguably being the best choice. Live or freshly killed specimens are best. Kingfish will also respond to metal jigs, wobblers, artificial flies, soft plastic "stick baits", poppers and a variety of other lures. Jigging and retrieving a metal jig at a fast pace is an effective way of enticing a kingfish to pounce. Jigging with larger jigs around the 300 gram mark is a good way to attract "hoodlums". It is also common to find schools of kingfish feeding on bait on the surface, this can be observed by boils and crashes on the surface of the water. When this occurs, throwing lures into the school is a productive way of getting the kingfish to strike.