King Mackerel, also known as Kingfish, are biting in the warmer waters off the shores of beautiful Sanibel Island and Fort Myers this time of year. The migratory fish especially enjoy the Gulf and Intracoastal waters through February. Grab your tackle box as we teach you how to catch kingfish in Southwest Florida.
Rig Your Boat Properly
A 50- to 60-pound kingfish can earn you both a pat on the back and a fishing tournament trophy. They are fast, so to reel one in you need to rig your boat properly. Your rigging setup should accommodate the following techniques:
- Down-rigger trolling
Come Prepared With Electronics
Finding kingfish in the Gulf can be tricky. Make it easier on yourself by coming prepared with electronics to help you find kingfish. You should come equipped with a depth finder and a GPS. Weather electronics are also a valuable tool when you are fishing miles offshore.
Use Live Bait
The most successful kingfish anglers bring a variety of live bait options to lure kingfish to the surface. Do not forget to also bring along lures, leader material, rigs and live-bait hooks too. If you are fishing with friends, consider fishing several different live bait options at once to multiply your chances of attracting more kingfish. Live bait options include:
- Blue runners
Frozen bait options include:
- Spanish mackerel
- Cigar minnows
Live Bait Tip: The bigger the piece of live bait you put on your line, the bigger the kingfish you are likely to catch.
Use Good Chum
Sometimes you have to entice kingfish to get them in the mood to bite. Consider chumming, which consists of tossing fish parts into the water, to attract fish to your area. Add chunks of sardine, bonito and sprinkle a little glitter on the water to get their attention. Chum the water even after the kingfish start biting to keep them in your area.
Check the Fishing Reports
Scour online fishing reports online and in local publications at least a week before your fishing trip. This will help you find out where kingfish are biting from local fishers that know the waters.
How to Store Your Kingfish
Proper storage on the boat for your kingfish catch helps preserve the fish safely for future consumption. Put kingfish in a cooler that has a combination of ice and saltwater to form slush that helps preserve the fish and keep it colder.
Kingfish is a Healthy Fish
Fish such as kingfish, salmon and sardines protect against cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. Kingfish is also labeled as a good source of protein and Vitamins B and D.
Kingfish is best served fried, grilled or smoked and can also be made into a tasty fish dip. Try this grilled Kingfish recipe from Allrecipes.com to cook your tasty catch for friends and family.
Book a Charter
“The Kingfish are hungry this time of year,” says Capt. Bill Hammond of Endless Summer Charters, which operates charters from Port Sanibel Marina.
Hammond urges people to get on the water this time of year for some offshore fishing to catch some Kingfish, Big Bonita, snapper and gag grouper too. Book a fishing charter through Port Sanibel Marina with Capt. Hammond to experience this great saltwater fishing destination spot.
Rent a Boat
This is the best time of year to enjoy the water. Rent a boat and schedule a fishing charter at Port Sanibel Marina. Our fishing charter partners can take you to the outer islands for an eco-cruise or an all-day fishing adventure. Enjoy a boat in paradise by giving us a call at (239) 437-1660 to schedule your watersport activities today!