The king mackerel is one of the most popular offshore gamefish for anglers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The kingfish, as it is also called, belongs to a large family of other mackerel fish. Kingfish are known for drag screaming runs and are caught from piers and boats; therefore, a vessel is not required to get in on the action. What exactly is a king mackerel?

How Do You Identify A King Mackerel

The kingfish is often confused with the spanish mackerel. However, to identify a king mackerel, look for a large mouth equipped with teeth as sharp as razors. 

The bodies of the fish are elongated with green on the upper portions and silver below. Although the kingfish exceeds 90 pounds, they are most frequently caught between five and twenty pounds. 

Due to the sharp teeth, use caution when handling the fish to avoid injuring hands or other extremities. 

How Are Kingfish Caught

If you are fishing from a boat or pier, medium rods with an 8000 size reel are ideal for landing kingfish. Spool the fishing reel with thirty to forty-pound monofilament fishing line to avoid breaking the fish off.

Fortunately, both live bait and dead bait are equally effective. The kingfish feeds suspended or at the surface of the water. The best fishing baits include cigar minnows, herring, sardines, menhaden, goggleyes, or mullet. Rig the bait beneath a ballon or allow the bait to fall from the surface but avoid it from laying on the bottom

When the fish is hooked, expect a combination of speed and strength during the battle. King Mackerel strike aggressively, and when combined with razor-sharp teeth, cutoffs are expected. To help reduce losing fish to break-offs, utilize wire or heavy fluorocarbon leader line. 

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Catch King Mackerel

Off the coast of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, the most productive months of the year range between March and October. 

It is a surprise to anglers that giant kingfish roam near the beaches off of these three states. Both pier fishers and boat anglers working lines along the coast catch massive king mackerel. 

Is King Mackerel A Good Fish To Eat

Kingfish are excellent to eat when properly prepared. The fillets of the mackerel are thick, dark in color, oily, and firm. 

The best method to preparing kingfish is by smoking the fillets. Due to the high oil and fat content, the flesh absorbs the smoke flavor for a rich and bold taste.

Once the fillets have been smoked at a low temperature, the best recipe is to utilize the meat is in a dip. Smoked kingfish dip is excellent when served on crackers. Check out the Food & Wine smoked king mackerel recipe

Is King Mackerel High In Mercury

The kingfish is high in mercury both because of the food it consumes in addition to the size of the fish.

Unfortunately, the baitfish that allow the mackerel to survive contain mercury elevating the levels contained in the fillets. Additionally, the fish grows old and, as a result, accumulates over extended periods. 

Risks are associated with consuming significant portions of fish that contain high levels of mercury. Limit the intake of sharks, tilefish, and swordfish to reduce the body’s exposure to mercury. 

Do You Have A Better Understanding Of King Mackerel

The next time you are fishing the ocean side of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, try your luck at a kingfish. The fillets make an excellent dip, and the battle isn’t too shabby. Remember to obtain a saltwater fishing license and understand the size and quantity limits to avoid possessing illegal fish. You will come back for more excitement after hooking your first king.