April is one of my favorite months to fish this area. The water seems to come alive and you can catch just about everything from sheepshead and redfish to Cobia and Kings. We have been doing a whole lot of CATCHING lately. I wish every month was as prolific as April.
I wanted to focus this report on king fishing because it is a popular fish in this area and I feel there are many misconceptions when it comes to “king trolling.” This report is region specific as fishing for kings is different in other areas.
In Destin, King fishing is very simple. First, you can forget dusters and you really dont need downriggers unless you are fishing a tournament.
The BEST way to target kings in Destin is with a live herring or a cigar minnow (preferably a fresh live herring) free lined behind the boat with Malin wire and small, stout treble hooks with the smallest swivels you can get away with. The live bait king rig is a two (treble) hook rig with steel Malin wire about 12-18 inches long with the spacing between hooks around 2-4 inches apart (depending on bait size.) These rigs are cheapest when you make them yourself using the haywire twist method but you can buy them pre-made from any local bait shop.
So here is one of the most important parts…do not troll these live baits at any type of speed. Simply “bump troll” over live bottom or structure. Keep the line(s) tight and cover some ground but 1-2mph is key for the kings around here. You want the bait to look natural and secluded – do not pull the bait through the water. It will spin and the bait will drown.
One thing I like to do is have one bait on top 100-125 feet behind the boat and the other with a 1oz wight 50-75 feet behind the boat. Make figure 8’s around the reef and you should be saying “fish on” in no time. There is a reason they call King Mackerel fishing dinner and a movie! Good luck!