King mackerel, also known as kingfish, are the source of a lot of great fishing stories. They are notorious for their fatiguing long runs.
Despite their tenacity they are not very large fish. Usually ranging somewhere between 20-40 pounds and between 20-35 inches in length. The females of this species are significantly larger than the males.
Where to find them
These fish can be located throughout nearly all of the Atlantic coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico. King mackerel prefer water that is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit and are usually found at depths between 75-112 feet.
Although they are very popular game fish they do contain a lot of mercury compared to other fish so caution should be taken when consuming.
For those who may not know trolling is a technique where lures or bait are pulled through the water commonly done on a moving boat.
For catching king mackerel trolling is a useful technique. Optimal trolling speed is thought to be around 3 knots for catching king mackerel but faster speeds can work as well if you are using a lure.
What bait to use
For king mackerel live bait are preferred including cigar minnows, blue runners and herring. Dead bait can be used as well but is definitely not as effective. remember, using bigger baits will often result in catching bigger fish.
Also keep in mind that it is important to have a hook in the tail end of your bait because king mackerel are well known for attacking their prey from behind.
What leader to use
This is a tough choice between wire and fluorocarbon leaders. Using a wire leader, depending on water clarity, will often result in less bites. Although wire leaders are more visible in clear waters king mackerel have incredibly sharp teeth and can bite through fluorocarbon leaders.
King mackerel do, however, have good eyesight so this is a tough choice. Fluorocarbon leaders will result in more bites but you risk getting your leader cut.
If I had to pick I would recommend a long, light wire leader for kingfish.
What rod and line to use
A 15-30 pound test line rated rod is a good choice for king mackerel. Light flexible rods are great for catching these fighters to prevent the hook from ripping free.
Monofilament line will work just fine and it’s cheap which is important because you will need a lot of it for those long runs. 20-40 pound test will get the job done.
What reel to use
The most important thing when picking a good reel for catching king mackerel is to get a reel with a large line capacity. King mackerel are notorious for their long intense runs and during those long fights they can run through a lot of line.
Also a fast gear ratio is a good idea. If a king fish decides to head straight for the boat you need to be able to pick up the slack quick.
Get to Fishing
Here at Galveston Fishing Charter Co. we will take you to the best places to catch some king mackerel and provide the best experience while doing so.