From North Carolina to Texas, it's hard to find a game fish more prized than the king mackerel. They've earned a reputation in the sportfishing world for their blistering runs, even matching a distant relative, the wahoo, in speed. King mackerel are the largest members of the mackerel family. They're also known as kingfish, king and southern mackerel. Kings are medium-size schooling fish, hovering around 5-30 lbs. However, fishermen have caught king mackerel weighing more than 90 lbs.
King mackerel are found in the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, from North Carolina to Brazil. They spend their winters in south Florida and then migrate to more northerly waters in the spring. They can go as far south as Rio de Janeiro and as far north as the Gulf of Maine. However, such extremes are rare since king mackerel prefer water temperatures in the 68- to- 85°F range.
King mackerel hang out in 40- to 150-foot depths. Kings heavier than 20 lbs often swim around the mouths of inlets and harbors, and occasionally even in 600-foot depths at the edge of the Gulf Stream.
King mackerel feast on menhaden and other sardine-like fish, jacks, cutlassfish, weakfish, grunts, striped anchovies, cigar minnows, threadfin and northern mackerel. Experienced fishermen troll using spoons, jigs and other artificial lures. Bomber's king mackerel fishing lures are particularly effective for hooking trophy kings. For other lures for other species of fish, check out the Shop by Species section.