King Mackerel

Check out the latest fishing tips and techniques for catching King Mackerel.

King mackerel, or kingfish, migrate throughout the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico coastal waters; they’re also found in the Caribbean Sea and off South America. Wherever they swim in the Western Atlantic Ocean, all king mackerel belong to the same genus and species — Scomberomorus cavalla—however U.S. fisheries managers regulate Atlantic and Gulf kings as two separate stocks based on studied migratory habits. These fish can grow to nearly 100 pounds.


Often found near reefs, kingfish are generally caught on live or dead trolled baits. In the 1990s, a massive kingfish tournament circuit—the Southern Kingfish Association—emerged, offering both pro and amateur divisions. Since U.S. economic woes began in the mid-2000s, circuit participation has dwindled. However, anglers still love to target these toothy (and tasty when smoked) game fish.