The Best Trolling Speed for Catching King Mackerel

If you’re an avid saltwater angler, chances are you’ve set your sights on the hard-fighting and delicious king mackerel. These pelagic speedsters are a thrilling target for many anglers, but catching them requires a specific approach, especially when it comes to trolling speed. In this article, we’ll dive into the optimal trolling speed for king mackerel, as well as some pro tips to up your game.

The Need for Speed

One of the key factors that sets king mackerel apart from other species is their incredible speed and agility. These fish are built for blazing through the water, with streamlined bodies and powerful tails. As a result, they often prefer to chase down fast-moving prey, which is why trolling at the right speed is crucial.

Experienced anglers have found that trolling at a relatively high speed, around 6 knots or so, tends to produce the best results when targeting king mackerel. This brisk pace mimics the movement of their natural forage, such as baitfish like threadfin herring, cigar minnows, and menhaden.

The Lure of Trolling Spoons

When it comes to lures for trolling king mackerel, few options are as effective as the classic trolling spoon. These slender, metallic lures are designed to flutter and flash enticingly, drawing the attention of hungry kings from a distance.

Trolling spoons, such as those from renowned brands like King and Clark, are typically trolled at that coveted 6-knot speed. The rapid pace keeps the spoon vibrating and pulsing, creating an irresistible target for the kings to chase down.

To achieve the desired depth for your trolling spoons, you’ll need to employ either in-line trolling sinkers or planers. These specialized devices help get your spoons down into the strike zone where the kings are prowling.

Live Bait: The Irresistible Offering

While lures are undoubtedly effective, many seasoned king mackerel anglers swear by the allure of live bait. When trolling with live offerings like blue runners, goggle eyes, or threadfin herring, the key is to slow things down a bit.

Unlike lures, which can be trolled at higher speeds, live baits perform best when trolled at a more leisurely pace, often just above idle speed. This slower trolling speed allows the live bait to swim naturally, mimicking the movements of an easy target for the kings to zero in on.

To rig your live baits, anglers typically employ a stinger rig setup. This consists of a long wire leader with a forward hook for securing the bait and a trailing treble hook, known as the “stinger,” where the kings often strike.

Finding the Sweet Spot

While the general guidelines for trolling speeds are around 6 knots for lures and a slower pace for live baits, it’s important to note that these are just starting points. The optimal speed can vary depending on factors like water conditions, bait presence, and the preferences of the fish on any given day.

Experienced anglers recommend experimenting with different trolling speeds until you find the sweet spot where the kings are most actively striking. Pay close attention to your lures or baits, and adjust your speed accordingly to achieve the most enticing presentation.

Final Thoughts

Catching king mackerel on the troll is an exhilarating experience, but success often hinges on dialing in the right trolling speed. By following the guidelines outlined in this article – around 6 knots for lures and a slower pace for live baits – you’ll be well on your way to enticing these fierce predators to strike. Remember, however, to remain flexible and adaptable, as the kings’ preferences can vary from day to day. With a keen eye, a sharp mind, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll soon be landing these prized catches with regularity.

Happy fishing!

Best TROLLING lures for Catching KINGFISH | King Mackerel Fishing Basics & Tactics


What is a good trolling speed for mackerel?

By far the biggest percentage of Spaniards are caught by trolling along drop-offs in 12-30m of water. Laser Pro 190s or 160s are the go-to lures for general trolling using medium to heavy weight gear. Most opt to troll at around 5-6Kts and run a selection of colours to see what is hot on a particular day.

How fast do you troll for King fish?

When targeting kingfish, we always troll a little bit slower than usual. For many species, 6-8 knots is fine. For kings, 3-5 knots seems to be the sweet spot.

How do you troll for king mackerel?

Re: Trolling speed & kingfish questions Water temp needs to be at 68 and not over 80 (this is the outside limit for a steady king bite). Most troll 1.5 mph or less…..bump trolling means shifting the boat in and out of gear to keep the bait just behind the boat but barely moving.

How fast is a king mackerel in mph?

King mackerel will put a grin on any angler’s face. Estimates on what speed they achieve vary, with big kingfish over 30 pounds approaching the 50-mph mark. To put that into perspective, bonefish are estimated to top out in the mid 20-mph range.

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