The king mackerel, aka kingfish, is a migratory fish found along the southeastern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. They are fast, have big teeth, and put up a huge fight, making them one of the top predators and most prized gamefish in those waters. They are typically caught inshore in 40 to 150 feet of water, making them a favorite for sportfishing guides wanting to put their clients on an exciting fish without burning a lot of gas in the process.
Typically, a good-sized one would top out at around 30 lbs. In this Outdoor Life article, Capt. Dave Mistretta of Jaws Too Charters of Tampa, Florida found his client one well over that size.
Tampa angler Diane Marteliz wanted to go on a fishing trip for her recent birthday. Her husband booked a trip aboard Jaws Too with Capt. Dave Mistretta, a bonafide blue chip kingfish pro, and she ended up with 66.8 pounds of horn-tootin’, birthday wishin’ king mackerel.
“She wanted a king since she never got one before,” said Mistretta. “Boy, did she get one.”
I’ve known Mistretta over 20 years and he’s not exactly one to hold his tongue. But the big guy from Indian Rocks Beach is being way too modest. Martilez’s catch is big stuff on Florida’s West Central Coast.
Giant kings are more common off the drilling rigs of the Northern Gulf and down in Key West, where much of the Gulf’s migratory fish winter in the warmer currents. Anglers launching out of Pinellas County are usually pretty stoked with something in the mid-40s. Anything over 50 pounds has the docks buzzing. In comparison, a king just under 40 pounds won the recent Old Salts King of the Beach Spring Tournament — a tenured event that fields the area’s top talent.
Photos: Outdoor Life (top); For Shore Fishing (above)