Kingfish are worthy of all the attention. With high speeds and hard hits, Kingfish are so much fun to catch. Kingfish season in Florida is just around the corner and we are here to give you the details on how to catch and enjoy, one of our favorite times of the year.
Kingfish is a highly sought-after subtropical gamefish. You’ll find no seaside community, from the Carolinas to Florida, that doesn’t enjoy kingfish tournaments.
They weigh between thirty and ninety pounds and can swim up to forty-eight miles an hour. You can find These fish at depths up to 100 feet, but they will happily visit Tampa Bay’s inshore waters to breed. They can be found at Gulf Stream depths up to five-hundred foot or more by those who run offshore.
Defined by their mackerel-like appearance, gray color scheme, and rugged mouths of teeth, you’ll be hard-pressed to mistake them for any other. If their appearance does not convince you, the sheer might at the end of your line will have you quickly understanding why we “bow to the King.”
Scomberomorus Cavalla, also known as The Florida King Fish, has many other names. It is also known as the King Mackerel. The name of the fish is often spelled “King Fish”, or “King mackerel”. They are all the same fish. These large schooling fish hunt in groups for herring or sardines. They are migratory and are often the winter season’s target for charter boats. Florida holds the record for the largest king mackerel ever caught. It weighed in at 90 pounds. This is a large number of fish.
Many anglers travel to Florida to catch big trophy fish. The king mackerel is a popular choice. These fish prefer cooler water and are deep-sea fish. There are many fishing options in Florida, but deep-sea fishing is the best way to find larger fish that prefer cooler waters. Inshore fishing often has warmer water. Deep sea fishing is the best way to target kingfish.
Florida Kingfish Fishing Spots
Kingfish is driven by two things. The first is water temperature. They prefer a narrow range of cool water temperatures, usually between 75 and 85 degrees F. This temperature range can change from inshore to deep-sea fishing at different times of year. King Mackerel fishing can be described as a deep-sea fishing adventure.
Two things are responsible for kingfish. Baitfish is the second. Baitfish are the second food source for king mackerel. These include herring, sardines, and other species that school.
Florida Kingfish Season
Based on where you live in Florida, the season for kingfish can vary. It is easiest to find out where you can legally fish in Florida with the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Branch. Because regulations apply to both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean waters, the season can be complicated. If federal waters are closed, waters in one area could be affected. You should verify whether the area in which you wish to fish is closed or open.
Peak king fish season runs from March 1 to July 1. The season is open year-round but closes when anglers catch a certain number of kingfish. Even though the Florida State rules may be different, the rules for catching King Mackerel are the same.
Northern Florida Kingfish Season
In northern Florida, the Kingfish season typically runs from late spring through early fall. During the summer months, especially from June to August, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northern Florida are teeming with Kingfish. Anglers can expect abundant fishing opportunities during this period, with the peak season in July.
Central Florida Kingfish Season
Kingfish season spans from late spring to early winter in central Florida, including popular areas like Tampa Bay and the Gulf Coast. The prime months for Kingfish fishing in this region are April, May, and October. During these months, Kingfish migrate closer to shore, making them more accessible to anglers. However, Kingfish can still be found throughout the year, so fishing opportunities also exist outside of these peak months.
Kingfish Season in Southern Florida and the Florida Keys
In southern Florida and the Florida Keys, Kingfish season is relatively consistent year-round. These regions benefit from warmer waters and a more subtropical climate, allowing for an extended Kingfish fishing season. However, the most productive months in this area are typically from October to November and March to April. These periods offer favorable weather conditions and increased Kingfish activity, making it an ideal time for anglers to target these fish.
Kingfish Season in Atlantic Coast of Florida
Along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Kingfish season peaks during fall, particularly from September to November. During this time, Kingfish migrate along the coastline, following baitfish schools and feeding voraciously. Locations like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are famous for Kingfish fishing during the fall season. However, Kingfish can also be caught in this region during other times of the year, so opportunities exist beyond the peak season.
King Fish Are The Best Targets
Kingfish are very mobile. Kingfish are hungry and will chase baitfish
schools. They can be found around structures, which is one of the best places you will find them. You can also target offshore oil platforms. Baitfish will gather around structures that attract predatory fish like kingfish.
Kingfish have 30 teeth. These teeth are triangle-shaped and can rip through your line. Use a steel leader when rigging for fish king mackerel.
What to Use for Kingfish Bait
Baitfish is the primary food source of kingfish, so you should use dead bait like silver eels and sardines. Minnow-patterned soft plastics can also be used. Kingfish are visual hunters. They seek out the silver flash of baitfish. No matter what rig you use, it should look just like a baitfish. Adult kingfish will hunt larger baitfish between 5-6 inches in length. They will also target shrimp, squid, and crustaceans. For the best baitfish, target pogies (menhaden). You can catch them yourself using a throw net. A bait shop is also an option.
Fishing Techniques for Hooking a Kingfish
You can target Kingfish by slow trolling. Remember that they are hunting baitfish. Adjust the boat’s speed to match their swimming speed – not too fast.
One option is to chum for Kingfish. They are mainly visual feeders but will also hunt by their smell. They prefer oily baitfish – think sardines, and make sure you put out lots of chum. Kingfish charters might offer trolling or chum fishing as options. You may choose to do both depending on how long your charter is.
Gear and Location
You’ll need steel leader as well as treble hooks to prepare for Kingfish season. The proper bait is also important. You can find bait shops that sell threadfins and sardines as well as jacks to trolling these predators.
You can find Kingfish in the outskirts Terra Ceia Bay, as well as on the Skyway Bridge and along the beach lines. To catch these amazing fish you should book a fishing charter.
Season and Regulation
While Kingfish season in Florida is available all year round, we see them most often between October and November and March to April. These are the best times to visit Florida after-rainy season and before-summer heat.
To keep kingfish, they must be at least 24 inches long from the fork to be kept. You can only harvest three of them per harvester. The Florida Fish and Wildlife website has the most current regulations and sizes.
Kingfish, like Spanish Mackerel is also edible. Kingfish’s high fat content makes it a meat that is flavorful and can withstand grilling, baking or frying. Our favorite is a smoked fish recipe. It is simple and full of flavor.
Services We Offer
Whether you are an experienced fisherman or a beginner, Salty Knots Fishing Charters will provide you with an experience you won’t forget. Our services include Offshore Deep Sea Charters. Salty Knots Fishing Charters also offers beautiful sunset cruises along world famous St. Petersburg beach!
You can search Google for local tournaments, weigh ins and seafood markets if fishing is not your thing. Contact us at Salty Knots Fishing Charters today to find out about Kingfish season availability and get a chance to be King of the Beach!