Kingfish are found throughout the warm-temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere. The juvenile fish are pelagic and mainly found out in open water, sometimes gathering around floating objects like marker buoys or mussel farms. Whereas the adult fish are described as semi-pelagic and are more commonly found in open coastal waters.
They’re known to prefer high current or tidal flow environments near rocky outcrops, reefs, or pinnacles. But they also enter shallow bays, open sandy bottom areas, harbours, and estuaries in search of food (usually bait fish like trevally, piper and garfish).
In New Zealand, they can be found from the Kermedec Islands to Banks Peninsula during late spring, summer, and early autumn, but are most common in the northern half of the North Island during summer. Offshore locations like Three King Islands, D’Urville Island, White Island, and the Ranfurly Banks are famous for targeting beast sized kingies.
In Australia, kingies can be found right around the country, but are most common from Shark Bay in WA, around the southern coast, and up the east coast to central Queensland. They’re most commonly targeted in summer with the peak season running from late December through to April.