Come one, come all - royalty is back in town! One of the most popular offshore fish species in the Gulf of Mexico, the Kingfish, are showing up in Tampa Bay’s backyard RIGHT NOW! They are most active in the spring and fall months, so if you are up for the fight of your life, you won’t want to miss your chance to reel in one of these monsters while they are here!
Kingfish, or the King Mackerel, are a highly active migratory mackerel species that visits Tampa Bay in the months of March, April, and May as they are making their way north to spend the summer off the coast of Mississippi. They visit us again in September, October, and November as they make their way south to spend the winter down near the Florida Keys. They are in season year round in the gulf with a minimum size limit of 24” and a daily bag limit of 3 per angler.
If you are ready for a tough yet rewarding fight, you’ll definitely want to put Kingfish on your bucket list! They are fast swimmers and aggressive eaters, so once they’re on the line, your reel will be screaming. While Kingfish typically prefer deeper water with sustained temperatures around 70 degrees, they can be found within Tampa Bay and even near the beaches. They tend to congregate around bridge pilings, large piers, rock piles, and wrecks, but they also travel within the channels to move between the gulf and the bay. They can be attracted by using live bait, such as Threadfins, Greenbacks, or Mullet, while either still fishing or trolling. The trickiest part about getting a Kingfish into the boat is their extra sharp teeth - they love to cut bait in half due to their aggressive nature.
Tampa anglers LOVE Kingfish so much that they dedicate two fishing tournaments every year to them! The “King Of The Beach” Kingfish Tournament is held twice annually at the end of April and again at the beginning of November. They have divisions for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Check out this video from Poseidon’s Captain Brophy to see what the frenzy is all about!