Kings & Kids are a Perfect Match
by Jim Cox
For most of us, the first offshore fish that ever really made a reel ‘scream’ was probably a king mackerel. Those long, blistering runs of kings always produce adrenaline for everyone on the boat and a nice bounty for the fish box.
King mackerel will also make most-welcomed appearances when you are targeting other species of fish. While bottom fishing for any reef fish, charter boats will have a ‘drift line’ tossed out behind the boat without a weight on it. The bait just drifts in the current, waiting for a strike from a nearby, cruising king mackerel.
When that bite occurs, it leads to chaos, the fun kind of chaos on a boat. The rod starts bending and the clicker is going off while the rod is still in the rod holder. Everyone stares at the rod until someone finally grabs it (perhaps with some vocal encouragement from the captain and deckhand) to fight the fish. This happens on almost every drift line bite and leads to laughs on the ride in and back at the dock.
Sometimes king mackerel will join your party but in an unannounced fashion when bottom fishing. If you ever find yourself getting cut off numerous times, it may be king mackerel trying to invite themselves onto the boat. Kings will often hang around the same structure that holds snapper. A mono leader is no match for the teeth of a hungry king mackerel. Swapping your mono leader for a wire leader will result in less lost tackle, and you’ll immediately notice the different feel of a king on your line than that of a Snapper.
King mackerel, of course, aren’t just for kids. Grown men chase them all over the Gulf with big prize money on the line. Charter boats count on them as part of their daily catch, no matter who is on board and when a big one hits, it’s not just the reel that starts screaming like a child.
Ready to cast your line on the Alabama Gulf Coast? Start planning a fishing trip today!