3 King Mackerel Fishing Tips

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King mackerel are feisty, fun, and usually quite willing to bite. Trolling is the top watch to catch them.

King mackerel are a great target for anglers to set their sights on. Quite often you don’t have to travel far to find them, they bite willingly, and they taste great (just as long as you eat them fresh, not frozen; like many species with high oil content in the meat they don’t freeze incredibly well). Ready to get a king on the line and into your cooler? Then put these three tips to work.

King mackerel are feisty, fun, and usually quite willing to bite.

  1. If you’re new to targeting kingfish, stick with trolling spoons. This is a very straightforward, relatively simple tactic and it’s extremely effective. Set out a spread of spoons like Drones or Clarkes, in the four to six inch range. Put at least two or three of them behind in-line planers (some folks say a number-two is best, some others probe varying depths by putting out a number-one, a two, and a three). Remember to use a very long leader between the planer and the spoon; 15 feet is considered the bare minimum and many anglers prefer 25. Then troll over and around shoals and channel edges where kings are commonly found, at four to six mph.
  2. Always include a mix of different color spoons. Silver and gold are the standard fare, but it’s amazing how a spoon dressed with a strip of red, green, or blue reflective tape can turn out to be the uber-hot spoon on any given day. Also remember that while reflective finishes are best on sunny days, in low-light conditions dull or matte finish spoons will often catch more fish.
  3. When you get a strike, have your crew immediately grab all the rods that aren’t rigged with planers, and jig them. (Planer rods are already bent under enough stress that jigging them doesn’t have much effect). The added action will draw additional hits quite often, turning a single hook-up into a multiples.

One final tidbit: bleed and ice the kings immediately, for you best-tasting post-fishing fresh fish dinner.


1 Comment

  1. James Casey Monaghan says:

    Party boat crews will immediately kill the kings, presumably to keep them from tearing up the boat and other fish in the box. So bleeding is not an option. Any tips on preparing kings this way?