King mackerel fishing is always best in the fall. September – November are typically the best months. I prefer to fish a clear green water color from 67 to 72 degrees although there are plenty of fish caught in a variety of water types. I almost always use live bait fish, slow trolling (less than 2mph) or drifting. This technique allows your live bait to swim natural. I find the best times to fish are mornings, evenings and high tide, though there are exceptions. Just like any other fishing technique, this isn’t gospel.
The standard live bait rod is 7′ with a very light tip, smaller trolling reel (like a tld 15) and 20# line. Charter fishing, I use high visibility line because it makes it easier to see when trolling or doing battle with a fish. Many hard core king guys use a less visible line. #4 wire with #4 4x trebles are the standard issue for king rigs. Built rigs to fit bait size, pogy, blues and greenies are the most common. The more lively the better. A good live well is helpful. However, if you don’t have one dead ribbon fish and cigar minnows will work as well. There are a variety of rigs on the market to use with dead baits.
When searching for a location to fish, last year’s favorite spot is a great place to start. Any current info you can gather is always a plus. Typically in the fall, most AR’s and rocks will hold kings. My normal fishing depth is from 50-120′ on reefs and rocks however if you see bait on your way out to the fishing grounds stop and fish it, you never know where that smoker king might be hanging out!
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