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Fish Species found at Three Kings:
- Yellowtail Kingfish 15 – 25kg average with 30kg fish common and the odd 40+kg fish on most trips.
- Marlin – Stripies 90 – 200kg , Blues and Blacks 150 – 400+kg
- Broadbill Swordfish – weather dependant 200kg up to 400+kg
- hapuku – 20 average up to 50kg
- Bass or Wreckfish – 20 – 40kg average up to 60 – 70kg
- King Terekihi – good table fish caught in good numbers
- Other common fish – Trevally, bluenose, gemfish
- Other gamefish – Tuna (skipjack, slender, albacore and yellowfin) – Mahimahi
Fishing Techniques: Mechanical Jigging, Popping, Stickbaiting, Trawling, spearfishing, live and dead –baiting, deepwater fishing
Recommended Tackle: Heavy
Season: All Year round The kingfish/Bass are residents and don’t leave these waters
Location: 50 Nautical miles north west of North Cape, NZ
Nearest Port: Mangonui, Far North, NZ
Time to get there: 18 hours
Departure times: 7.30am trawling along the shelf, and arriving at the Kings around 9pm
Return: 1 – 3pm on the last day back to Mangonui.
Trip Length: Recommended 5 – 7 Days, minimum 4 days, most popular trip is 5 days
Cost: $3600 per day for up to eight people, recommendation six
Food: fully catered $60pp per day
Bait and Tackle and Rods for hire: $50 pp per day
The Three Kings and Princess Group are a group of 13 very remote rocky uninhabited islands, situated approx. 50nm northwest of North Cape, New Zealand. The fishing territory consists of several banks (such as the King and Middlesex Banks) with a range of deep trenches and sea mounts where the South Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea converge. The islands are situated on a submarine plateau and amongst abundant upwelling’s and strong currents that produces some of NZs most sensational fishing.
Due to the location and remote inhabitation of the Kings it is only accessible to the long range vessel. There is nowhere to land on the rocky islands and the nearest port is on the mainland NZ. This makes the Three Kings a fishing mecca. Mostly left alone from each year apart from the odd commercial operator, the Kings is rich in fish life. Trips are completely liveaboard and depart from Mangonui in the far north.
Day one sees the group travel and fish spots up the coast, trawling to the shelf and targeting Marlin and tuna all the way to the Three Kings arriving at the kings around 9pm. During the peak of the season Marlin are prolific at the kings and on the coast, so travelling during daylight hours is a must. Groups load up the night before in Mangonui, stay on the boat at the wharf to catch live bait and fill the tanks for fishing throughout the trip. The last day is travelling home departing in the late afternoon of day four and arriving back at Mangonui around 1 – 3pm.
The Kings produce a range of fishing opportunities with top water in and around the princess group Islands and mechanical jigging and bait fishing on the banks. There are two main banks fished while on a kings trip the King Bank and the Middlesex Bank. Both are renown for bait, oodles of current and phenomenal kingfish action as well as large Bass and Hapuka, king terakihi and trumpeter. During the kings season many game boats are attracted due to the productive Marlin activity, stripes up to 180 – 200kg, big blues and the odd black, as it seems the billfish congregate here to feed before their annual migration north to the warmer waters of the south pacific. Mahimahi are also not uncommon due to the very tropical type water. At this northern latitude it stays warmer longer than the mainland with Marlin caught well into June each year.
The yellowtail Kingfish is definitely a highlight at the kings with the biggest jig caught Kingfish of 51kg tagged and released in June 2013 by Walter Wells on Enchanter. Kingfish are plentiful in numbers as well as size, each trip producing regular 25 – 30kg fish with the odd fish going into the 40 – 50Kg bracket! There are fish in numbers at the kings with groups catching and releasing 30 – 50 fish in a day being not too uncommon! Heavy tackle is the only way to go, these monster fish will rail you time after time.
Puka and Bass are also a great feature with regular 40 –60kg Bass and 20 – 40kg Puka. There’s normally no problem getting a feed for the table at the kings and most groups only needing to spend a limited time getting enough to take home as they can’t be tagged and released.
The kings also hold some amazing broadbill swordfish fishing. If the weather permits a night drift for Broadbill is an option. There’s nothing like tangling with the gladiator of the sea!
What happens if the weather is not so good? Most of the time the boats can work around the weather due to the many options of fishing utlilising both the east and west coasts of NZ, as well as in and around the islands at the Kings. Trips are rarely cancelled. All boats have extended surveys to fish offshore up to 100nm around NZ very few charter boats able to do this in NZ. The boats are over 30 tonnes and very stable fishing platforms with experienced Offshore Masters as skippers. They have extensive safety equipment to meet all NZ safety standards. It is not unusual fishing these offshore remote places to experience moderate weather of 20+knots of wind with current and swell.
Diving and spearfishing at the kings is hard to beat, the water clarity, fish life and amazing real prospect of spearing a world record kingfish! We host many spearfishing groups to the kings that have filmed some incredible footage of underwater life in and around the kings and outer islands. Abundant paua and crayfish and also the wreck of the SS Elingamite (1902) plenty of tank and free diving options. Check out Marks 45kg King speared at the Kings March 2014!
We have many professional and recreational groups returning to the Kings year after year from all over the world. It is an amazing fishery. You will never come away being disappointed! Bring the big guns to the Kings you’re sure going to need them!!