Skip to main content Skip to main content

King Mackerel

King Mackerel

The King Mackerel

The King Mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla

Adults are heavy bodied, with large mouth and razor teeth. Elongated body is greenish above but mostly silvery and unmarked, except in juveniles, which have spots.

OTHER NAMES

Kingfish, Sierra, Cavalla


SIZE


School fish may run from 4 to around 20 pounds; individuals to 50 pounds, or slightly more, are not rare. Potential is from 75 to possibly 100 pounds. World record 93 pounds; Florida record 90 pounds.

FOOD VALUE

Depends on taste of the individual. Flesh is rich and oily. Fine broiled or smoked.

GAME QUALITIES




Kings are about as fast as Wahoo, although they seldom get that acknowledgment. Re-gardless, they are strong and sizzling fighters at any size.

ACKLE AND BAITS

Trollers generally choose ocean outfits with lines testing from 20-40 pounds, but kings of all sizes can be caught on spinning, baitcasting and even fly tackle. Spoons trolled behind planers are good, as are rigged Cigar Minnows and feather-minnow combinations. Fishing with Pilchards as both chum and live bait could be the most productive system of all, but drifting with rigged baits, strips or live baits, including live shrimp, is effective too. For casters, spoons and nylon jigs usually work best. Fly rodders do well with shiny flies on sinking lines.


FISHING SYSTEMS

Drifting; Trolling; Still Fishing.

RANGE

All Florida coasts; also the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, but not in such great quantity.

HABITAT

In the Bahamas, around reef dropoffs. In Florida, widely distributed from the edge of blue water all the way to the beaches. Runs of schooling fish occur on both coasts in spring and fall, with action possible throughout the summer in North and Central Florida and, throughout the winter in Southeast Florida and the Keys. The runs take place, usually, in water from 20 to 100 feet deep, which is fairly close to shore along the Southeast Coast; farther out elsewhere. The very biggest fish, however, are often hooked very close in and are referred to as “Beachcombers.”

King Me

Young angler shows off a nice kingfish.

Big Mack

Forum member piner_wahoo and friend got into some big fish in the keys on his flats boat.

King Me

Forum member youngguns2 with a smoker kingfish caught off of Tavernier on a live goggle eye.

Kings for All

Forum member Jfenn10 and team put a hurtin' on the kingfish recently while fishing the Bigdog Fatcat tournament.

Epic Day

Forum member clarosa and friends had an awesome day out of Tampa, limiting out on snapper, and catching other nice fish as well.

SUP Kingfish

Brandon Ingalls with a nice Kingfish he caught on his paddle board while trolling the shores of Greyton Beach.

Yaked Kingfish

Clayton Mays with a nice Kingfish he caught on his kayak while trolling the shores of Greyton Beach.

52 pound Kingfish

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Panhandler80 with this massive King of a fish.

Smoker of a Kingfish

Monster kingfish caught with West Central 4caster Capt. Ray Markham, Capt. Dave Mistretta, and Diane Martilez. This King of a fish tipped the scales at 66.8-pounds.

Jupiter Double D's King

Forum member Jupiter Double D's got out and popped this nice 30 pound king on the troll.

Jordan's Kingfish

Jordan, with her first kingfish, caught on a live pilchard off bakers haulover.

Cayman King

Cayman caught this smoker king fish out of cedar key using a live pinfish in the chum slick.

Smoker Kingfish

Josh Brown caught this smoker king while catching grouper off of Anna Maria Island.

Team Three Bouys

Two of the near 30 pound kings caught by team Three Bouys in the Mark Gerretson Memorial tournament

Bahamas Bottom fishing

Its always a great day of bottom fishing when your in the Bahamas; Trent Slattery and friends can adhere to that for sure. Trent is shown here holding a nice Cubera Snapper, Jimmy Keyes with a good kingfish, Taylor Pankey with the yellowtail snapper used for bait, and Isaac Ford enjoying the day.

1st Place King

FS member dscherz captained his two sons to this 41.4 pound kingfish in the 2013 Palm Beach County KDW Classic. The king was caught high speed trolling and won first place.

A Good Day

King Mackerel

This kingfish is shown here being pulled in after a long and dreadful fight using a buckhead jig offshore.

Smoker King

A Kingfish ready for the smoker that was caught offshore using live bait.

Kingfish

Nice Kingfish for the smoker.

King of Kings

Aaron Hearn caught this king mackerel 3.5 miles off the St. Lucie inlet; it weighed in at 65-70 lbs.

King Mackerel

Florida Sportsman member, Double Threat, caught this king mackerel and three others during a fishing trip with friends.

Choppy Wins it all

I have been fishing in South Florida since I was a kid but we started fishing the local tournaments a few years ago. The boys have done very well as Jr anglers. We have had several top 2 and top 3 finishes but we have never won it all. Well, we finally did it. I posted a little overview on the SE forum titled KDW Classic Team Choppy. 1st place overall biggest fish, 3rd place Jr angler and 5th place Jr angler. From left to right: Bob Dees, Butch Demaline, Capt. Chris Perry, Jett Perry and Chase Perry. We live in Lake Worth and fish a 25 Contender "Choppy". Chris Perry

Chris's 47lb Kingfish

Chris Hoffman caught his 47 pound kingfish in Key West off of a live blue runner.

Mother's Day Mackerel

Fishing off the coast of Sarasota, FL. Cathy Lee Neubauer caught this kingfish 10 miles out using live bait.

Quintero Family

The ladies of the Quintero family show off their kingfish and snapper catches after a good day on the water.

King Mackerel

Jennifer holds up her kingfish, caught off Fort. Pierce.

Kingfish Party

This king is getting quite its share of attention.

Fort Pierce King

What about this kingfish catch wouldn't make you smile? A stud for the box, but it doesn't look like there is much room!

Marissa's Mackerel

Marissa caught this kingfish off Miami Beach while home for the holidays from Georgia Tech.

Someone's Hungry

Lady angler shows off a nice kingfish, while a suspect in the background looks ready to have some red grouper for lunch.

Jupiter King Mackerel

Lindsay caught this kingfish while fishing off of Jupiter Inlet.

Kingfish

Kingfish on light tackle spinning gear.

Eric's Kingfish

Eric caught this fun sized kingfish while trolling on what looks like a bit of a choppy afternoon.

Andrew's Kingfish

Andrew and his dad were fishing in a 19 foot deep hole off the Wacassassa Reefs and caught their kingfish with cut mullet.

Cobia and Kings

Florida Sportsman member thecollegekid had a great day offshore with cobia and kingfish on display.

Jason's King

King Mackerel

FS Member Cooney's Fishin' FL posted this kingfish from off Pensacola.

St. George Kingfish

FS Member Circle-Hook posted this kingfish photo from off St. George Island.

Jacksonville Kingfish

FS Member elpolloloco caught this kingfish near Jax.

West Central Kingfish

FS Member jewfish7 posted this smoker kingfish from the "Pipeline".

Tampa Kingfish

FS Member timbo615 posted this kingfish from off Tampa.

Dolphin and King Combo

FS Member ACME Ventures Fishing posted this kingfish/dolphin batch from off PC.

PC Kingfish

FS Member ACME Ventures Fishing posted this kingfish from off PC.

Kingfish Triple

Member ACME Ventures Fishing posted this kingfish triple photo from off PC.

Boynton Beach Kingfish

Florida Sportsman member LethalJared posted this kingfish caught from off of Boynton Beach.

Key West Kingfish

FS Member Got TA Go posted this kingfish catch from off Key West.

Summerland Key Kingfish

FS Member rapchizzle posted this kingfish photo, from off Summerland Key.

Tuna, Dolphin and Kingfish

FS Member JimboT posted this mixed bag of tuna, dolphin and kingfish, caught off Key West.

Huge Jupiter Kingfish

Florida Sportsman member Stetson Law posted this large kingfish photo from off Jupiter.

10,000 Islands Kingfish

FS Member tg caught this kingfish offshore from the 10,000 Islands.

Naples Kingfish

November 7, 2011. Team Top Down landed these two kingfish to place them in first in the small boat class of the 2011 Naples KMT.

Panama City Bounty

FS Member Panhandler80 posted this large mixed bag of grouper, kingfish and jacks from Panama City.

Kingfish Hug

Sometimes a hug is needed to handle oversize kingfish.

Kingfish

Kingfish of this size draw plenty of attention at the docks.

Great King!

The king of mackerels are a fun catch for offshore livebait fishermen.

Broken Rod Solution

Keys King

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Best Boat - Carolina Skiff 19 SWS, Crevalle 26 Open, Dusky 33

Best Boat - Carolina Skiff 19 SWS, Crevalle 26 Open, Dusky 33

A look at 3 boats individually great boats.

Project Dreamboat - Customized Contender 25, Outrageous Whaler

Project Dreamboat - Customized Contender 25, Outrageous Whaler

In this episode, George Labonte meets with Allan Black to go over his 25 Boston Whaler Outrage that he redid, specifically rigged for blue water fishing. Back at the shop, the guys re-power a 25 contender, topping it off with a custom paint job. Lastly, Brian finishes up his redone 30-foot Grady White and takes it for it's first spin.

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat - Building Custom Hatch Lids & Jack Plate Install Tips

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat - Building Custom Hatch Lids & Jack Plate Install Tips

In this episode, the fiberglass guru's at Wildfire Marine build custom hatch lids for the Bertram 25 project. The boys at TRB install a new jackplate and fresh power on the custom Skimmer Skiff. George LaBonte joins Bobby Woodard aboard his custom 25 Parker. We end with a new passion project introduction at TRB Customs, an old Stamas bound for a serious overhaul.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now