Tips: Use Sliders or jigs with lots of action if you are just starting out. Jigging isn’t the easiest thing, so the increased action of the lure will increase your chances of getting a hit. I’ve caught the most kingfish on sliders, but still preferred to mix it up with various shapes, sizes, weights and colors. Many people prefer Blue or Pink. I had good luck with orange and all silver jigs as well. In light winds and current, you can use a 200gram jig down to around 50 meters. Dropping deeper than 50m, I preferred to use 300 gram jigs. I use quick drop or knife jigs to get to the bottom faster in stronger winds and/or lots of current.
Keep the line tight! If there is any lack of tension, it’s easy for the kingfish to shake the hook out. Having a heavy lead jig only assists the fish in doing this. You will be able to feel the fish trying to shake the hook so if there is any slack the fish will usually get away. Many big kingfish get off the hook this way.
Keep the fish off the bottom is easier said than done with a big kingfish on the line. Even the small kingfish will put up quite a fight. Taking the lure to ground is the second most popular way for kingfish to get away. They will snap the line on whatever structure is down there, so you lose the fish and an expensive jig. Fight and reel like crazy if you hook a kingfish anywhere near the bottom! I preferred to have my drag set to around 25lbs and have hooked kingfish that took the line off the spool like it was nothing.
Don’t high-stick the rod. Jigging rods are designed to provide the most action for this type of fishing, so the area near the tip is the weakest point. If you raise the rod above 45 degrees with a kingfish on, there is a good chance the rod will fail and snap just below the tip. I’ve seen it happen to someone who was using a brand new expensive rod. Keeping the rod parallel to the water has the maximum strength and lift up around 20 or 30 degrees is all you need to do while reeling as much as possible to avoid slack. When the fight just begins you might only get half a turn of the reel per each lift!
Take a charter before buying any gear. It’s best to have some experience and understanding of jigging before you go spend a couple grand on gear (which is very easy to do!). There are charters that specialize in all of the ways of catching kingfish, although I would say livebaiting is the most popular. There is only one charter out of Tauranga that I know of specializing in Topwater fishing for kingfish. They go out near White Island and some reef structure in that area. There are charters for jigging in the Bay of Islands, Auckland, and Coromandel Peninsula.
Put a squid skirt on the jig hook. While you can hook kingfish without one, my experience is it increases the chances of a strike with the added benefit of being a lot more likely to catch large snapper near the bottom (snapper seem to go for the squid skirt rather than the jig.) I would say having a squid skirt with some luminescence helps attract kingfish, especially at deeper depths. These are from my years of experiences fishing for kingfish.