OTHER NAMES: Kingfish, Sierra, Cavalla
RANGE: All Florida coasts;
also the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, but not in such great quantity.
HABITAT: In the Bahamas,
around reef drop offs. In Florida, widely distributed from the edge of
blue water all the way to the beaches. Runs of schooling fish occur on
both coasts in spring and fall, with action possible throughout the
summer in North and Central Florida and, throughout the winter in
Southeast Florida and the Keys. The runs take place, usually, in water
from 20 to 100 feet deep, which is fairly close to shore along the
Southeast Coast; farther out elsewhere. The very biggest fish, however,
are often hooked very close in and are referred to as "Beachcombers."
DESCRIPTION: Adults are
heavy bodied, with large mouth and razor teeth. Elongated body is
greenish above but mostly silvery and unmarked, except in juveniles,
which have spots.
SIZE: School fish may run
from 4 to around 20 pounds; individuals to 50 pounds, or slightly more,
are not rare. Potential is from 75 to possibly 100 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD : 90 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Depends on
taste of the individual. Flesh is rich and oily. Fine broiled or smoked.
GAME QUALITIES: Kings are
about as fast as Wahoo, although they seldom get that acknowledgment.
Regardless, they are strong and sizzling fighters at any size.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Trollers
generally choose ocean outfits with lines testing form 20-40 pounds, but
kings of all sizes can be caught on spinning, bait casting and even fly
tackle. Spoons trolled behind planers are good, as are rigged Cigar
Minnows and feather-minnow combinations. Fishing with Pilchards as both
chum and live bait could be the most productive system of all, but
drifting with rigged baits, strips or live baits, including live shrimp,
is effective too. For casters, spoons and nylon jigs usually work best.
Fly fishermen do well with shiny flies on sinking lines.
Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.