When spring finds schools of ravenous king mackerel migrating up the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, anglers have two options: Devote the day to a hog hunt for a couple big fish, or keep the rods bent with sporty school-size kings.

Tournament anglers may value the former, but for the average recreational effort, the latter spreads the fun across your fishing day and increases the opportunity for all aboard to wind in a few kings.

Targeting likely kingfish spots such as artificial reefs, rock piles, ledges and deep channels, king chasers will fare well by trolling a mix of artifiicals designed to mimic the various baitfish that these toothy predators seek.

Productive options include the Bomber Saltwater Grade J Duster King Rig, A-Salt or Jointed Magnum Long A. With any lure presentation, rig about 18-24 inches of No. 3-4 wire leader to prevent bite-offs.

Pulling lures typically entices the juvenile schoolie kings, so when you nab a small one — or if you’ve filled your daily limit — tail grabbing the fish allows you to safely release those not bound for the dinner table. If you’re keeping a few, use a long-handle gaff to nab your fish asap.

For optimal performance, the gaffer should stand next to the angler and communicate with the helmsman on boat speed and positioning. Remember, always gaff from behind the fishing line to eliminate the risk of a king running the line into a misplaced gaff and pulling the hook