Spring Is the Perfect Time for King Mackerel Fishing

April 26, 2018

With the weather warming up, have you been itching to get out on the water and enjoy a day of ocean fishing? You’re not alone. Spring is one of the best fishing seasons of the year, as the weather tends to be pleasant and the tourists and snowbirds are no longer packing the area. Plus, it just so happens to be one of the best times of year for king mackerel fishing. Many fishing charters in Sarasota, FL will take you out on excursions specifically designed for you to catch one of these great game fish.

The king mackerel (also known as the kingfish) is a species of mackerel in the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that migrates through the waters throughout the year. It is classified as a medium-sized fish, usually weighing between five and 14 kg (up to 30 lbs), but can grow to sizes of more than 40 kg (90 lbs).

The fish’s body is covered with loosely attached scales that are so small that they are barely visible. Its dorsal fin is completely colorless and usually folds back into a groove in the body—same as its pelvic fins. Meanwhile, the fish’s lateral line starts high up on the shoulder, dipping suddenly at the middle of the body and continuing in a wavy horizontal line down to the tail.

On the back, it has olive colors that fade to a silver and rosy sort of sheen, before fading to white on the belly. The smaller fish under 10 lbs have yellowish-brown spots on each flank, smaller than the spots that are characteristic in Atlantic Spanish mackerels. It also has large, uniform teeth that are a little crowded and flattened from side to side, very similar to the teeth seen in the bluefish.

Fishing for king mackerel

There are a couple migratory groups of king mackerel in the Atlantic. There’s one that ranges from Texas in the summer to the middle-east coast of Florida from November through March, and another group that migrates from North Carolina to southeast Florida, where the fish then spawn from May through August.

Kingfish are known for being extremely voracious carnivores. Depending on their size, the area and the season, they will eat squid or small fish, such as grunts, anchovies, threadfin, northern mackerel, blue runners and more.

Because of how highly sought after these fish are by game fishers, there are some highly specific methods and gear that can be used to get them. They are usually taken in by trolling with live and dead baitfish, as well as some spoons and jigs. Run-around gill nets are also used in commercial settings.

When using bait, fishers will use two hooks connected to a metal leader. The first hook is usually a single or treble and is hooked through the nose of the live bait. The second hook runs through the top of the fish’s back, or swings free. This setup is due to the king mackerel frequently biting the tail section of the bait fish.

For more information about setting up fishing charters in Sarasota, FL to catch some kingfish, contact Charter Boat Shark today.

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