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Spring kings will soon be arriving

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On: Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 4:10PM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

It is getting to be that time of the year again. Spring is in the air. March will bring warmer water temperatures as well as warmer weather. “March Madness” will not only being taking place on the hardwood in March it also will be occuring on the water welcoming the spring king fish run. When the gulf water temperature reaches 68-72 degree’s which is the optimum temperature for king fish get ready for some screaming reels when you meet up with these southern speedsters. The spring king fish run usually starts in March and runs through May. The best place to find king fish are wherever the bait is most plentiful. Usually this is near hard bottom, in the passes, or even right up next to the beach. If you are looking for a place to troll look for birds working on the surface diving into the water in search of baitfish. Pelicans are the bird of choice to watch for. They can be seen alot further away than gulls. Pelicans will feed deeper in the water.

Many times feeding birds will work just as well as your electronics if not better at times. They usually are a sure indicator that bigger fish are present feeding under the pods of bait . If you see bait showering on the surface even without bird activity go ahead and get your lines in the water and begin fishing. Baits tend to come to the surface when something bigger is eating them from below. In their frenzy to escape the predator the bait will break the waters surface causing it to shower up. If your fish finder screen lights up large clouds of bait begin trolling that area. King fish like any other wild animal tend to stay in an area where there is food. When that food moves so do the king fish. Troll your baits approximately twenty feet behind the boat for the closest bait or lure, and fifty to seventy five feet back for your furthest bait or lure. Try to avoid trolling two baits at the same length because they will tangle as you circle the school of bait. Stagger the lengths keeping your longer lines on the outside and the shorter line trolled from the center. Do not run over a school of bait. Stay on the outside of the school and circle them in order to catch the fish that are feeding on them. If you run through the bait you will split the school into two or three pods thus making them harder to follow.

When choosing your king fish tackle make sure you use at least twenty pound test and also make sure your reel can hold up to three hundred yards of line. The drags on your king fish reels need to be silky smooth. A decent sized king fish can peel over 200 yards of line off in just a few seconds. They call them “smokers” for a reason. Not because they are best smoked, but because they have smoked many reels. Be careful when fishing for kings near crab trap buoys. Kings will try to cut you off by using the buoy lines. Once a king fish hits your line you will know immediately what has just happened. King fish do not nibble and peck at baits like snapper and sheepshead do, they usually inhale the bait striking it with a very aggressive bite. The reel will start screaming and you will lose line rapidly. The rod holder is the best fisher person onboard. It will never jerk or tighten the drag. The rod holder allows the rod and reel to do the work they were designed to do- catch fish. After the initial run slows down you can then pick up the rod and hold it straight up. You do not have to set the hook with king fish they do a very good job of hooking themselves as they strike the bait. Use the “dip and crank” method and lift back gently to get your king fish boat side. Once the fish is boat side you can grab their tails to release them. You can also take your gaff and use that as a longer version of a hook extractor.

If your looking for great action and the need for speed king mackerel fits the bill. King mackerel have been known to accelerate and rocket out of the water. Seeing a king fish sky rocket out of the water is a sight you never forget. On many of my king fish outings I can remember myself singing a certain verse from a song quietly as I was reeling up my king, the song went something like this” Sky rockets in flight , afternoon delight” , I was indeed experiencing an afternoon delight reeling king fish up one after the other. I am looking forward to competing in this years SKA kingfish tournaments onboard a beautiful red Contender boat powered by triple Yamaha 250’s known as the “Princess III ”. I will be fishing with Captain Chick Melfi, Captain David Dean and boat owner and lady angler Yasmin Workman . We are sponsored by Team Enviornmental and we are all excited about fishing togetherand being competative . Be careful these toothy speedsters do have sharp teeth and a lot of them. The minimum size limits on king mackerel are 24”fork. Two per person per day. Limit in Gulf-Atlantic fishery reduced to one when federal waters are closed to all harvest.


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