How to Troll for King Mackerel? (Step-By-Step Guide)


King mackerel, also known as kingfish, are some of the most prized game fish among anglers, which is […]

How to Troll for King Mackerel?

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King mackerel, also known as kingfish, are some of the most prized game fish among anglers, which is why learning how to troll for them is an essential skill that every angler should master.

Not only do they provide an adrenaline-pumping fight, but they are also some of the most delicious fish to cook and feast on.

Trolling is a popular and effective fishing technique used to catch kings, and it involves dragging fishing lures or live bait behind a moving boat. If you’re new to trolling, don’t worry; this post will teach you everything you need to know to catch these beasts successfully.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, learning how to troll for king mackerel is vital because it can help you improve your fishing skills and presents a unique opportunity to experience the thrill of battling one of the most sought-after game fish on the planet.

Furthermore, with the information presented in this post, you will learn the most effective techniques that will help ensure a successful fishing trip every time.

From using live bait like pogies or cigar minnows to creating a chum slick to attract the fish and varying your trolling speed to find the most effective pace, this post contains all the tips and tricks you need to become a successful kingfish angler.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy reading this post to learn everything you need to know about trolling for kingfish.

Use live bait like pogies or cigar minnows.

Live bait is often the most effective way to attract and catch fish. Among the most commonly used live baits are pogies and cigar minnows, which can help you reel in various saltwater species.

However, using live bait can require extra effort and attention to detail. Follow these step-by-step tips and tricks to maximize your live bait fishing experience.

Step 1. Choose Fresh and Healthy Bait

Choose healthy and strong specimens that will remain active in the water to get the most out of your live bait. Avoid any baitfish with cloudy eyes or flaked scales, as these are signs of poor health.

Also, keep your bait alive and well-fed in a quality live well or bait bucket to ensure it stays lively during your fishing trip.

Step 2. Match Your Bait to Your Target Species

Different species of saltwater fish prefer different types of bait, so it’s essential to match your live bait to your target.

Cigar minnows are particularly effective for catching king mackerel, making them a popular choice for anglers in the Southern U.S. Pogies, on the other hand, are more versatile and can attract a range of species, including tuna, tarpon, and Spanish mackerel.

See also: Best Saltwater Rod And Reel Combos For The Money

Step 3. Rig Your Live Bait Effectively

Properly rigging your live bait can make a big difference in attracting and hooking fish. One common option is to use a circle hook, which increases the chances of hooking the fish in the corner of the mouth rather than in the stomach or throat.

Add a sinker or weight to your rig depending on the depth and current of the water you’re fishing.

Step 4. Pay attention to the Details

Using live bait requires more attention to detail than using artificial lures. Keep an eye on the water temperature, depth, and current to determine where your target species might be located.

Also, be ready to adjust your rig or bait presentation based on the response of the fish. If they seem to ignore your bait, try changing the color or size to mimic the local baitfish.

Using live bait can be an effective way to up your fishing game. Following these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your pogies or cigar minnows and reel in some impressive saltwater species. Remember to stay patient and persistent; you may land the catch of a lifetime.

Create a chum slick to attract the fish.

Creating a chum slick is a great way to attract fish and increase your chance of catching them. A chum slick is a mixture of fish food and other fragrant ingredients designed to lure fish to your location. In this post, we’ll outline the key steps to creating a chum slick and provide some useful tips to help you maximize your chances of success.

Step 1: Choose your ingredients

The first step is to choose the ingredients you want to include in your chum slick. Fish food like pellets or flakes work well, but you can also include other ingredients like stinky cheeses, canned sardines, or bread crumbs. The key is to choose ingredients with strong odors that will attract fish from a distance.

Step 2: Mix your ingredients

Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, you must mix them in a bucket or other container. You can add water or oil to help disperse the scent throughout the water. You’ll want your mixture to be a thin consistency to spread easily.

Step 3: Dispense your chum slick

There are a few different ways to dispense your chum slick. You can tie a mesh bag with your chum slick to your boat and let it hang in the water.

Alternatively, you can use a chum dispenser that slowly releases your mixture over time. Another option is using a chum cannon or launcher to shoot your slick into the water.

Key Tips:

  • Experiment with different ingredients to see what works best in your area
  • Start small – you don’t want to create too much chum and scare away the fish.
  • Be patient – the fish may take time to find your chum slick.
  • Keep your chum slick away from your fishing line to avoid spooking the fish.
  • Clean up any leftover chum once you’re done fishing to avoid attracting predators to the area.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful chum slick and catching more fish on your next trip.

Vary your trolling speed to find the most effective pace.

It is important to vary your trolling speed to find the most effective fishing pace when it comes to trolling.

For those unfamiliar, trolling is a method of fishing where bait is either dragged through the water or presented to the fish slowly and steadily. The key to success is to adjust the trolling speed to maximize the chances of finding and catching the fish.

Here are some key factors to consider when varying your trolling speed:

  • Distance – The distance you troll should depend on the depth of the water and the type of fish you are trying to catch. Generally, the deeper the water, the slower you should troll, and the shallower the water, the faster you should troll.
  • Current – If there is a strong current, it can be beneficial to slow down your trolling speed to keep your bait in the same spot for longer.
  • Bait – Different types of bait require different trolling speeds. If you are using soft plastic bait, you can troll a bit faster than if you were using live bait.
  • Weather – If the weather is windy or choppy, you may need to slow down your trolling speed to keep your bait in the strike zone longer.
  • Fish – Different types of fish prefer different trolling speeds. For example, if you target bass, you may want to troll a bit faster than targeting walleye.

You can increase your chances of finding and catching fish by varying your trolling speed. Remember, slower trolling speeds may be more effective in deeper water and with certain types of bait, while faster trolling speeds may be more effective in shallow water and other bait types. Experiment with different trolling speeds and find the most effective pace for your situation.


Trolling for king mackerel is an exciting way to increase your chances of catching a big fish. You can increase your chances of success by using live bait, creating a chum slick, and varying your trolling speed.

By following these steps, you can succeed more in your fishing trips and have more fun. Trolling for king mackerel is a great way to test your fishing skills and hopefully land a trophy catch.


1. What is trolling for king mackerel?

Trolling for king mackerel involves dragging a lure or bait behind a fishing boat slowly, intending to lure king mackerel into biting.

2. What sort of equipment is necessary for trolling for king mackerel?

To troll for king mackerel, you’ll need a rod and reel combo specifically designed for trolling, a heavy-duty line, troll-friendly lures or bait, a trolling weight, and a boat equipped with a trolling motor.

3. What’s the best time of year for trolling for king mackerel?

King mackerel are more active in the summer and early autumn, making this the ideal time for king mackerel trolling.

4. What makes a lure effective for king mackerel trolling?

Because king mackerel feed mostly on smaller fish, lures that mimic or resemble small bait fish are the most effective for trolling. Shiny or glittery lures also tend to bait them as they have an affinity for shiny items.

5. How fast should I troll for king mackerel?

To avoid spooking king mackerel, you should troll at a speed range from 2-5 knots.

6. How deep should the lure be when trolling for king mackerel?

The lure should be at a depth where king mackerel are feeding, which typically ranges between 60-100 feet deep.

7. What type of environment is best for king mackerel trolling?

King mackerel can be found in waters ranging from 20-200 feet deep, and they tend to hold around offshore wrecks, reefs, and large rock formations.

8. What are some other tips to keep in mind while trolling for king mackerel?

To increase your chances of success, consider the water’s temperature, stick with an experienced captain, be mindful of the weather forecast, and use live bait if possible. Additionally, always adhere to fishing regulations and respect the ocean and its inhabitants.

9. How do I know when I have caught a king mackerel?

King mackerel are known for their chewy and hard bite. When the fish bites the hook, it will be easy for you to distinguish its sharp pull and winding fight. They are known for their aerial displays and rapid movements when they are hooked.

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