Commonly called kingfish, the king mackerel can weigh up to 100 pounds, but most fish weigh between 5 to 35 pounds. They are strong, fast and known for making exciting leaps out of the water. Kingfish can be caught inshore or offshore.
Kingfish are a schooling and migrating fish that spends the winter months in south Florida then moves north along the Gulf coast and up the Atlantic coast to the Carolinas. Kingfish are targeted offshore near the reefs, wrecks, rock piles and oil rigs. Inshore, you can also find some kingfish along the beaches, near the surf, around piers, bridges and in the passes.
How to Catch Kingfish
Anglers typically troll inshore and nearshore for kingfish along the beaches. Kingfish can be found roaming the beaches looking for schools of bait fish. Most kingfish fishermen troll with live baits, but artificial spoons, jigs and crankbaits can also be effective. Bottom fishing with live bait is another way to catch kingfish. This can be productive inshore or offshore on the reefs, wrecks, rock piles and around oil rigs.
Kingfish get a lot of mixed reviews about their quality on the dinner table. Some anglers believe they taste good if they are put on ice right away and are cooked the same day that they are caught. There are plenty of people that think kingfish have a very strong fishy taste and they would consider them very poor-tasting compared to other fish. The people that give kingfish better reviews tend to eat them on the same day or the following day from when the fish was caught and they will soak the fish in milk or lemon juice for several hours to get rid of the strong fishy taste.
Kingfish Fishing Basics
- Fishing Offshore for Kingfish
- Fishing Inshore for Kingfish
- Smoker Kingfish
- Using Leaders for Kingfish
At most bait and tackle shops located near coastal waters, you will be able to find pre-rigged kingfish rigs that usually consist of a wire leader with a single hook followed by a treble hook as the trailer hook. These rigs are great live bait rigs, but you can also use other rigs as long as you are using a heavy enough mono or fluorocarbon leader. Some anglers report good success with leaders as light as 25 pound test, while others won’t use anything below 50 pound test line as a leader. Leaders that are several feet long work better than shorter leaders. Below are some of the other rigs that you can use for catching kingfish.
Below are some of the popular fishing lures that are used for catching kingfish.
- Jigging Spoons
Kingfish are opportunistic feeders and they will grab just about any smaller live bait that comes near them when they are hungry. They also feed on cut baits as well. Below, you will find some of the popular baits that are used for catching kingfish.