Kings of Summer

Kingfish action heats up in the Atlantic and Gulf

June 3, 2011
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For many Atlantic and Gulf anglers, summer means massive pogy pods, schools of blue runners and myriad king mackerel tournaments. Kingfish migrate to their northern ranges in summer; they also spawn from May through October. Anglers target these silver bullets using several methods, but primarily by slow-trolling live baits and ribbonfish on multi-hook rigs at various depths through the water column. Gulf kings generally outweigh those in the Atlantic; however, the current all-tackle record – a 93-pounder – came from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In fact, many of the IGFA’s current record holders were caught in South Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, where anglers continue to target kings most of the year. Chris Woodward
Many a king mackerel has fallen victim to a seductive pogy pinned with a double-hook rig. Chris Woodward
King mackerel not only hammer slow-trolled live baits. Here, Joey Prochazka shows off one that nabbed a Z-Man Paddle Tail swimbait Doug Olander
This one took a metal jig! Doug Olander
And of course, kingfish also swipe trolled baits meant for other species. A meal is a meal. Doug Olander
Gulf kings like this one show their heft in serious girth and massive head size. Doug Olander
Smaller snake kings offer great light-tackle fun. Doug Olander
Wire leader is a must for fending off all those sharp teeth. Chris Woodward
In the Florida Keys, Gulf and Atlantic stocks mix, and kings generally can be caught here year-round.
Hard lures and poppers can excite feeding kings. Doug Olander
Since kingfish school, multiple hookups regularly occur. Doug Olander
Even when kingfish become docile, watch out for treble hooks and teeth! Chris Woodward
If you don’t plan to keep a kingfish, handle it carefully, remove the hooks, take a few photos and slip it back into the water. Doug Olander
The Carolinas experience a nearshore early-fall run of kings, when there are still pogy pods roaming the beaches. Chris Woodward
Slow-trolling a handful of lines in productive zones within sight of the North Carolina shoreline generates ample opportunities. Chris Woodward

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