Florida Regulations:







    Gear Requirements:

    Legal Gear: hook and line and spearing only

    Habitat and Fishing Tips:

    King mackerel are found in both nearshore and offshore waters throughout Florida, often
    near schools of baitfish. Like many of the pelagic species, kings prefer water temperatures
    above 68 degrees, so they migrate to warmer waters in the fall of the year. Kings feed
    primarily on schooling bait fish and squid and are commonly caught while trolling with
    flashy spoons or duster rigged with a whole cigar minnow. Free lining or slow trolling with
    live baits (cigar minnows, herring, sardines, blue runners) is a great way to hook the larger
    and more solitary kings. Free lining a live squid at night, especially over reefs that hold
    baitfish, can also be very effective. Tackle requirements depend on the size of fish and the
    method of fishing. Spinning or bait-casting tackle with 20 to 30 pound monofilament line is
    sufficient when free lining live baits as long as you have enough spool capacity for the initial
    run after hookup. While kingfish do not have great endurance, they are very fast and will
    commonly take 100 to 200 yards of line off the reel in the first 30 seconds of the fight. For
    trolling, 30 to 50 pound trolling tackle is commonly used. Kings have very sharp teeth
    requiring the use of wire or very heavy monofilament leader.

    State Record:

    90 lb, caught near Key West


    Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

    Source:
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
    620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
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King Mackerel: Scomberomorus cavalla
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