King Mackel Fishing Guide: How To Catch King Mackrel?


As you have probably guessed, King mackerel belongs to the mackerel family. The fish is fond of the coastal regions, preferring temperatures ranging between 680F and 850F. If you live in the United States and you intend to get started with fishing for king mackerel, you will have more luck if you visit the Atlantic coasts in the summer months, particularly, July to August. The fish has an average weight of approximately 8 to 60 pounds, with 10- to 20-pound king mackerels being more common.

If you have been planning to go king mackerel fishing but you don’t know how to catch king mackerel, this article is for you. After going through this article, you should be able to confidently put on your best fishing sunglasses and reel in some king mackerels.

Tips to Make King Mackerel Fishing Easier for You

1. Rig the Fishing Boat for Success

Any fishing expert who knows how to catch king mackerel would tell you that rigging your boat properly before grabbing your best fishing shirt is crucial. The ideal rigging is supposed to accommodate varying techniques, including kite-fishing, downrigger-trolling, drifting, slow-trolling, and even anchoring. What you will need during your king mackerel fishing may vary depending on the coastal region and time of the year.

When setting your kayak for fishing for the king mackerel, you need to ensure that you have marine electronics ideal for helping you locate your target fish. The best fish finder and top-quality chart plotter/marine GPS can make it easier for you to locate reef edges, schools of bait, and wrecks where the king mackerel may be hiding.

To succeed at king mackerel fishing, you need to ensure that you can adapt to the feeding you find once you are in your favorite fishing spot. For this reason, you should carry lures, leader material, terminal tackle, and rigs.

2. The Ideal Baits for King Mackerel Fishing

The king mackerel generally feeds on squid and smaller forage fish such as the herrings, sardines, and menhaden. Smaller king mackerels feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. You should, therefore, have live bait to use with your best fishing rod and reel.

It is worth noting that live baits are generally more difficult to find. Hence, you may consider using frozen baits such as the ribbonfish, Spanish mackerel, and cigar minnows during your night fishing trip. Since the dead bait won’t swim, you may need to combine a swimming lure with your dead bait.

For professionals who are familiar with how to catch king mackerel, the statement “Big bait equals big fish” holds. If you don’t have a huge bait, you can trick the king mackerel into thinking that your bait is big. For example, you can use a fishing lure skirt in front of the live bait to make the bait look big.

3. Spread Your Baits

Fishing with numerous baits increases your chances of reeling in a catch. When going after the king mackerel, you can use as many as 6 lures. You can spread the lures as follows:

  • 2 off your T-top, about 150 feet back.
  • 2 others from your transom, approximately 100 feet back.
  • 2 on the downriggers.

Another ideal way of spreading your baits is by making use of a flying kite. The kite will help you present the baits to the king mackerel, a distance away from the boat. This will make it possible for you to entice the line of shy king mackerels.

King mackerels are known for nipping at the baits and not getting hooked. For this reason, you should keep checking your baits if you are fishing a spread. This will help confirm that your baits are still swimming well and are free from slash marks.

4. Troll Slowly


One of the common mistakes that new anglers make is trolling too fast. If you are trolling live bait, a dead idle can be effective. In instances when the dead idle is too fast, you can consider nudging your fishing boat slowly using a single-engine.

5. Make Sure Your Fishing Line is Silent

Downriggers can be extremely effective when going after the king mackerels. However, for the devices to offer the best results, they do need a combination of special rigging and a working fish finder.

Downriggers generally feature a wire cable. The twangy noise produced by the taut wire cable can be off-putting to the big king mackerels. To get rid of this noise, you can consider replacing the wire cable with a 200 lbs. monofilament line. The heavy monofilament line is capable of eliminating the hum produced by the wire cable.

Keeping an eye on your fishfinder will help you figure out where the schools of bait are. This will make it possible for you to place the downrigger at the right depth.

6. Leave the Smaller King Mackerels to Find the Bigger Fish

Chances are, you want to know how to catch king mackerel so that you can catch the big fish. If you are currently managing to hook up 15-pound king mackerels, you won’t be able to catch the bigger king mackerel in the same fishing spot. The bigger king mackerels never hang out with the smaller mackerels.

To succeed at using your best saltwater spinning reel to hook up the big mackerel, you may need to change your fishing spot. On top of changing the location, you will need to move to a different water depth.

7. Use Light Drag Settings

If you happen to hook a king mackerel, it will make a remarkable first run. If the drag is too tight, it will end up pulling the hook or breaking the line. To make sure that this does not happen, you will need to use light drag settings.

You can keep as much line as possible on the reel by chasing down the already hooked fish. To make sure that the line does not get tail-whipped, you will need to keep the rod tip high. To win the battle against a hooked king mackerel, the key thing to do is to ensure that you are maintaining constant but light pressure while slowly pumping the king mackerel to the surface.

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King mackerel fishing can be tough, especially for beginners. However, once you know how to catch king mackerel, you should find going after the king mackerel more enjoyable and easier.

The king mackerel feed day and night. This means that you can go after them at any time. Ensuring you are using a slow trolling speed and live baits will increase your chances of catching the king mackerel.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!