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 King Mackerel
(Scomberomorous cavalla)


Distribution & Size

The King Mackerel is found near and offshore and is occasional taken from deepwater piers.   Common size is up to 20lbs.  Schooling fish migrate from South Florida north during spring, and this is when everyone wants to go and catch a Kingfish. Larger fish over 20lbs like the one in our picture are commonly referred to as "smokers".  

 The Florida and World record is 90lbs.

 General Information

This fish can be caught on a variety of baits from artificial's trolled, the Kingspoon being a local favorite. Drifting live baits and chumming or even with fish strips produces "smokers". They are strong and sizzling fighters making great speedy runs.  On light tackle the fight can last for some while. Many fish are lost however if you do not use heavy monofilament or wire leaders. 

In the boat beware of their teeth which are extremely sharp and can inflict a nasty wound. Always wear gloves when handling when alive. I have had my fare share of cuts from these fish.

 Tackle & Bait

The methods of catching this fish are various.  Either drifting with live bait, trolling with lures and spinning.

 Eating Qualities

Food value is dependant on taste.  The fish is rich and oily and is usually smoked or broiled. I would suggest they have a gamy taste. You either like the taste or you won't. It's certainly not my choice of fish and I am a big fish eater.

There has been an advisory in the Carolina's and Florida about eating large fish as they may contain high mercury levels.

 State Limits and Regulations

Size Limit  Closed Season  Daily Rec. Bag Limit  Remarks
24" Fork None 2 per person per day

Bag limit in Gulf-Atlantic fishery reduced to ONE when federal waters are closed to harvest. Call FMP for details. Must be landed whole.


 
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