Holy mackerel! Did you see it? One of the fastest fish around, darting behind your boat and sporting its classic silver stripes…
At this time of year, the king mackerel is an especially familiar feature of Daytona-area waters.
Its impressive size makes it a photo-worthy catch, but reeling in the “kingfish” is only half the fun. The real thrill begins when you first spot that silvery flash, long before it ever leaves the water… letting you know you’re in for a treat.
Why not try your luck at catching one of your own?
Knowing what to look for is the start of any great on-the-water adventure. Read on as we highlight the ins and outs of the aptly named king mackerel, as well as a few top ways to catch one yourself this summer. Let’s dive in!
What’s in a name?
The king mackerel is a fish of many names. One of them, kingfish, is a nod to the king mackerel’s impressive size—it’s the largest of the mackerels and a masterful fighter.
Scientifically, it’s known as Scomberomorus cavalla—but many anglers might know this species better as “smokers,” a fond nickname that stems from the speed your line will fly away when you land one of the real whoppers, the “kings” of all kingfish. The all-time record is a 93-pounder, caught in Puerto Rico, while the state record (hailing from Key West) is a close one at 90… so who knows what you might land on your fishing trip?
How to spot a king mackerel
Like we mentioned before, one of the most defining characteristics of the king mackerel is its coloring. A lean, silver body (sometimes growing up to six feet long) with shifty blue stripes makes the kingfish a fun challenge to spot in the water—but once in a while, when it comes time to feed, you can spot this fish springing into the air, as much as 20 feet up!
And of course, another tell-tale sign of the king mackerel is its deep-V, fork-shaped tail.
Landing the catch
If you’re feeling inspired to catch king mackerel, there couldn’t be a better time to do it. This is a fish that loves warm water, and is actually quite accessible thanks to its penchant for nearshore waters—it’s a game fish you can often catch close to shore, which is a treat for many anglers!
Slow trolling is one great method recommended by the FWC to catch those really big kingfish, the kind you want to photograph and frame. But there’s always room to refine your technique based on the conditions of the day… and with that, we can help. Hop aboard a fishing trip with Family Custom Charters!
We’ve got the expertise needed for anglers of all skill levels to enjoy a day on the water, where catches like the king mackerel (and many more) are teeming just below the brilliant surface.