Captain's Corner

What's hot: Big kingfish are being caught up and down our coast.

Published May 1, 2007

What's hot: Big kingfish are being caught up and down our coast. Just look at the local tournament results and you can see that a lot of 30-pound-plus smoker kings are being landed. We fished the Egmont Whistle Buoy last week and caught a 42-pound smoker. We had numerous double and triple hookups on kingfish. Action is coming from American red snapper, and mangrove snapper are lighting up the bottom-fishing action. Capts. Garner Koons and Mike Hubbard were successful Saturday in 120 and 130 feet. Limits of snapper were the norm. Hubbard said they had to fish only a couple of areas, and they left one spot with the fish still feeding.

Tactics: Most of the big kingfish are caught on slow-trolled live baits. Put out large baits: three on the surface, one on each side 50 to 70 yards behind your boat and one in the prop wash and then two that run deep. This will effectively cover the water column. Bluerunners hold up best, but a big cigar minnow or threadfin works just fine.

Tackle: Light line, 15- to 20-pound test, on high-speed 6-1 ratio reels works for smoker kings. Nos. 3 and 4 wire tied to a small 100-pound swivel is the tackle we use for tournament and charter fishing. A No. 1 or 2 live bait hook with a No. 4 treble as your stinger rig will get the job done. Twelve-foot gaffs work extremely well when catching kingfish.