Top King Mackerel / Kingfish Fishing Charters
We had awesome trip with capt Mike. He is very pleasant, knowledgeable and patient. With his guidance we caught snappers, red fish, snook, and cat fish and kept 12 great sized snappers😊
Laura A. with Mike Ayersman of St. Petersburg, Florida
We had great trip! Matt and Taylor worked really hard to make sure we had a wonderful experience. Highly recommend!
Kimberly T. with Matthew Champion of Destin, Florida
Awesome experience great time and the crew was great!!!
Armando H. with Leaf Potter of Freeport, Texas
Our trip with Gulf Bay charters with Captain Rick and his first rate deckhand Logan was fantastic. They put us on multiple fish of different types and we tried different methods, some trolling, a lot of bottom fishing and some deep water with electric reels. We caught a lot of large triggerfish, three King mackerels and enough Mingo (vermillion) snapper that we had far too much fish to eat over the next two days. The boat was fantastic, offering the six of us more than enough space to spread out and all fish at once, and Logan was knowledgeable and efficient at everything. I really enjoyed catching a small shark and we had a larger one steal some of our fish to add a little excitement. Near the end of the day we had a large amberjack up to the boat but unfortunately he got off. We played with a few barracuda as well, caught a few snapper and small groupers that we couldn't keep and in between spots, we could chat and I enjoyed learning about the local waters and the trade. I personally caught 22 fish and my son got 21 so we were busy. The weather was near perfect and Rick adeptly steered us around a small storm, where we got to see a waterspout. I would highly recommend Gulf Bay - we had a blast and really enjoyed getting to learn from a couple of true professionals. Thank you Captain Rick, thank you Logan!
mike c. with Rick Durant of Pensacola, Florida
Our 6-hour in-shore fishing trip with Captain Billy was such a great time! He's definitely done his fair share of charters and we were lucky enough to catch quite a few fish. He followed all sizing restrictions and made sure we were on fish at every spot we went to. After, he showed us the proper way to clean fish. We will most definitely do another charter with him in the future.
ILEANA W. with Bill Perkins of Jacksonville, Florida
Me and my buddy loved it. Great price and caught lots of blacktip sharks. Definitely recommend
Max R. with Shannon LaBauve of Galveston, Texas
AMAZING! Captain Aaron was great. It was a day to remember and we will absolutely be back.
Jennifer M. with Rodney Harper of Freeport, Texas
Great trip. Captain Bryan was awesome.
Brady S. with Bryars Bishop of Orange Beach, Alabama
Great Trip! We enjoyed ourselves and are going home with LOTS of snapper. Reeled in my first shark. Thanks Captain !
Lisa B. with Joel Brandenburg of Marathon, Florida
Captain Marshall was great! He will work his butt off. The Owners were real nice and knowledgeable of their business. Our next fishing trip we will use Outkast again!
THOMAS D. with Rodney Harper of Freeport, Texas
Everything You Need to Know About King Mackerel / Kingfish Fishing
What is a King Mackerel / Kingfish?
The king mackerel (commonly known as the kingfish, uncommonly known as Scomberomorus cavalla) is a migratory member of the mackerel family and is native to the Atlantic Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico down to the coast of Brazil.
Kingfish are one of the largest members of the mackerel family (smaller than its cousin the wahoo, for instance). They are a popular fish to target in the summer months and are great for nearshore fishing - you don’t need to head out too far from shore to catch them and they are usually around in good numbers.
The kingfish is similar in appearance to some other members of the mackerel family and at first glance have few distinct characteristics. They are a grey/silver fish with minuscule scales and small dorsal and pelvic fins. Juvenile fish can show yellow spots on their rear end similar to a spanish mackerel.
Kings are a popular fish for both sport and commercial operations, as it is both a powerful fish to catch that sometimes jumps and can go on some tough runs, and is also fairly abundant. They are also schooling fish, so once you’re on them, you’re on them. ### How big do King Mackerel / Kingfish get? While they are known to get to decently large sizes of close to 100 pounds and 70+ inches, kingfish are generally much more reasonable at between 10 and 30 pounds. Females are the bigger of the two genders, with males generally maxing out at around 15 pounds, and the fish are known to live over 20 years.
To spawn, females will shed between 50,000 and millions of eggs over the course of the spawning season and males will simultaneously release sperm, whose union is entirely by chance in the sea. Yearling fish can be 3-4 pounds and 24 inches fork length (the length from head to the split in their tail).
What's the biggest King Mackerel ever caught?
The current IGFA all tackle world record kingfish is 93 pounds, caught out of San Juan in 1999 by Steve Graulau. The Florida record stands at 90 pounds, and its not unusual for 70+ pound fish to be caught off Key West.
Where is the best place to catch Kingfish?
Kingfish can be found both inshore and offshore, but are frequently fished within a few miles in depths between 50 and 150 ft. They can be found around reefs, wrecks, and buoys, but can also swim solo when older and are frequently caught from the surf or around inlets.
They range all over the western Atlantic Ocean and are found from about North Carolina (although they can be found up to the Gulf of Maine) on the north end to Rio de Janeiro on the southern end. Florida is a great place to fish them because this is where stocks from both the Atlantic and the Gulf mingle, and they can both be found in good numbers. Because kingfish are migratory, their numbers will vary based on the season and location, but the big kingfish generally return to the same areas year over year (for those curious, generally Texas, Louisiana, and Florida).
When should I catch Kingfish?
In the US, the season is always open for king mackerel, assuming you can find them! That being said, there is often a size limit of between 24 and 27 inches depending on the state, and a bag limit per angler per day of 2 for Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, and 3 for the Carolinas and Georgia.
Since kingfish prefer warmer waters, they can be year round on the southern half of Florida but across the Gulf and further up the Atlantic the fishing will be best in the summer months. There are two big groups of migratory kings that have been identified, with one preferring the Texas coast in summer to mid-Florida November to March. An Atlantic group engages in a similar pattern, spending time in the Carolinas and Virginia in the summer months and the other side of Florida in the winter.
How do you catch Kingfish?
Kingfish are schooling fish so when the bite heats up, you’re liable to get a number of fish to the boat, but its important to make sure you have the right gear - many an angler has gotten broken off by their sharp teeth. You also want to make sure you have enough line so you don’t get spooled by a particularly large king as they are known to go on big runs.
Most king mackerel are caught trolling, and often bite the tail, so make sure you set a hook in the back of your lure. Kingfish have not only sharp teeth but also good eyesight, meaning you want some sort of wire leader to avoid getting broken off but you want to keep it thin enough so it doesn’t spook any fish. Kingfish can be caught on live bait or lures.
Are Kingfish good to eat? What are the best King Mackerel recipes?
Kingfish meat is commonly eaten but is not known to be a great food option. The meat is darker and leaner, and falls somewhere in the middle on the taste scale. Plenty are taken and eaten, but it is not particularly sought out as a dinner option. The meat tends to be a bit oily, so can be smoked well. It is also frequently marinated and grilled.