Kingfish prefer cool tropical and warm temperate waters. They congregate around offshore reefs and around rocky headlands sometimes in schools, especially as young fish. They will occasionally enter estuaries.
Once hooked, kingfish are known to dive straight down towards the bottom to cut off or tangle the line. A wide variety of lures such as soft plastics, jigs and flies along with skirted lures can be used. A range of baits including live bait, squid, prawns, fish and cuttlefish can be effective in attracting kingfish. Often found associated with schools of Australian salmon, generally sitting underneath them.
Kingfish are powerful fish and need to be handled carefully if landed.
Kingfish has a medium to strong flavour and is often prepared as cutlets or steaks but can be eaten whole. It has few bones and a high meat recovery rate. It has medium textured, white to pink flesh and medium oil content. Suitable to bake, barbeque, grill, deep and shallow fry and as sashimi.
Recipe: Michael’s Fish Carpaccio:
About 600 grams yellowtail kingfish fillets (also good with striped trumpeter and morwong), 1/4 cup sea salt, juice and zest of 3 oranges, one teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1 star anise, a handful fresh herbs like thyme, fennel.
Clean any bones and blood line out. Place fish skin down in a suitable dish like a baking tray.
Sprinkle about half the salt over the fish. Pound the fennel seeds and star anise together in a pestle and mortar and spread over the fish. Juice and grate the oranges, spread the juice and zest mixture over the fish including around the sides. Sprinkle over the remainder of the salt.
Place fresh herbs on top. Cover with cling wrap over the tray, not touching the fish. Place in fridge for 24 hours. Remove from fridge, scrape off the curing mixture, pat dry, slice very thin, and serve with a few drops of olive oil and some lemon juice. Keeps for several days in the fridge.