How to catch kingfish

How to Catch Kingfish

How to catch kingfish? Knowing the characteristics and behavioral traits of many species you want to target is essential before pursuing them with your rod and reel. We hope you find the Yellowtail Kingfish more consistent while fishing.

Kingfish can be easily targeted using many methods, including live baiting, well-presented dead, and cut baits. Each practice will yield its share of Kings. However, each approach will require its course, which we will discuss shortly.

Your Equipment & The Fight

Anglers must be careful when selecting their equipment to catch large Kingfish (Kings over 130cm in length and 20 kg in weight). It is essential to use high-end equipment that can stop large Kings. Having a positive attitude and being able to do anything with your equipment is vital. Anything less will lead you down the road of failure.

Live Baiting

Live baiting is the best way to start chasing Yellowtail Kings. Kings will readily inhale a nicely presented life. It would be best if you considered Yellowtail Scad (Yakkas), Slimie Mackerel, and Squid as your most common and readily available baits. However, a Bonito or Mac Tuna is also a good option.

Match the hatch wherever possible! You should catch the baits the Kings will eat and present them as naturally as possible.

Slow trolling can be a very effective technique to catch kingfish. You’re able to cover the ground and find fish. However, driving your boat around using electronics to locate fish and then bombing them with live bait is equally effective. Bombing is dropping live bait on the Kingfish’s heads using a paternoster or an alternate bottom-style rig.

How to catch kingfish

Once you convince a King to take your live bait, give them time to eat it (about 5-10 seconds). Then set the hook. (If you are fishing with circle hooks, ease into it. No strike necessary.)


Jigging is a different kind of work than live baiting, where you are primarily focused on fresh bait and presentation. This technique requires physical effort and quite a bit of it!

Short rods with a strong taper are the best when dropping jigs between 60 and 250 grams toward Kings or their favorite haunts. Your assist hooks should be matched to the size of your jig and the size of the fish you are trying to catch.

Use a mix of retrieves: short sharp, long, slow, and even pauses to work the jig.

Jigging can test your back and shoulders before you even come up tight on a King. So use your electronics to your advantage, time your drops well, and it could be a long (or short) day.


Saltwatering is very difficult and very demanding! It’s hard on you, mentally and physically, and your equipment (and wallet). But when you can convince a Yellowtail King to eat the top, all that pain is quickly forgotten.

Cast large stick baits or small poppers as far away as possible, and then retrieve your lure accordingly.

There will be days when the Kings destroy everything you throw at them. On other days they will follow you back to the boat or rocks and show little interest in what you are dragging past them.

Top watering is the most technical aspect of our sport to catch kingfish. This includes selecting the right lure to match the water conditions and adjusting the hook sizes and split rings to adjust the swim speed. It is an art form that can take many years to master.

Standing and Deliver, when you send large topwater lures toward the horizon, feel free to allow the lure’s cost and the upgraded hooks/split ring to tempt you to go further… When that proper King does come along, grit your teeth and have a dig, you’ll be surprised what a bit of adrenaline can do!

Off the Stones (Rocks)

The majority of the information above is only applicable to boat fish. However, it’s possible to target large Kings from stones.

The techniques are essentially the same, but there will be minor adjustments such as reel length, reel size, line length, and presentation of live baits under flotation.

You need someone to hold onto you while a 145 cm beast hoovers your Bonnie, and its tail bangs against your bobby cork!

Equipment of your Choice

Live Baiting

15-24kg Overhead Rod 7ft Range, Saltiga LD40 to 50 loaded 80lb J Braid & 150lb leader. If you are likely to encounter fish smaller than 115cm, you can reduce your size to 65lb braid or 80/100lb leader. Anything beyond that, you will need to have some luck.


Spartan S55 Pe4/6 and a Saltiga 10,000 spinning reel loaded with 65lb J Braid, 80/100lb leader, and Spartan Spartan S55. I prefer the 14,000 Saltiga with an 80lb J Braid, 120 to 150lb leader, and Trophy Hunter Kingfish Jigging Stick if I’m fishing in gnarly areas or where big fish are likely to be encountered.


Stickbaiting – Spartan S85 with a Saltiga 14,000 loaded 80lb J Braids and a 150/200lb leader. If you fish in heavily fished areas, your leader can be reduced to 120 or 100lb.

The Spartan S80 is paired with the Saltiga14,000 with an 80lb J Braid, 150/200lb leader, and Spartan S80. If you fish in heavily fished areas, you can reduce the size of your leader to 120lb and even 100lb.

Schedule Your Charter Today

Are you ready for a day of adventure on the water? Book a King Fish fishing trip with Salty Knots Fishing Charters! Our experienced captains know the best spots for catching these exciting game fish, and our top-of-the-line equipment ensures a successful trip. Don’t miss the opportunity to reel in the catch of a lifetime – contact us today to book your fishing trip.

Services We Offer

Whether you are an experienced fisherman or a beginner, Salty Knots Fishing Charters will provide you with an experience you will remember. Our services include Offshore Deep Sea Charters. Salty Knots Fishing Charters also offers beautiful sunset cruises along the world-famous St. Petersburg beach!