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Thread: Northern kingfish fishing tips

  1. #1
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    Default Northern kingfish fishing tips

    I found a good article on kingfish on another site. Very well-written.
    Anyone else have kingfish tips?



    Author: Vic Attardo
    Paper: The Mercury, Pottstown PA
    Date: Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

    ==========

    My idea of rolling the dice is to throw a baited line in the water and see what bites. Gambling is not in my nature, fishing is.

    But in the shadow of Atlantic City, with its heaps of sleaze and casino cheese, anglers like Andy Smith are winning on nearly every roll, and you just may want to get in the game.

    As I spoke with him, Smith was scoring on some modest size fish while working the Brigantine surf, the barrier island above the betting town. If you looked in his cooler. you'd see he'd hit the jackpot with kingfish, a soft fighting but great tasting member of the Sciaeniode or Drum family. And Smith was not alone. Though the ocean waters of mid-Jersey have been chilling bathers' toes, this summer, anglers have been reaping the rewards with the not-so-mighty but plenty-of-fun kingfish.

    “I’ve caught as many as ten to fifteen in an hour," Smith of West Chester, told me as we stood within the northern shadow of Atlantic City. “There have been days when I caught them, or at least had a bite on every cast. As bad as kingfishing was last year, that’s how good it is this year.”

    Despite beings king in some domains, this species doesn’t rule the surf like stripers or bluefish. Catchable kingfish start measuring at 7 inches but a good one is 12 or 13 inches and very good kingfish is 14 or 15 inches.

    Basically kingfish are bottom feeders. When out for a meal they scour the bottom for various shrimps, small crabs, and other crustaceans as well as small mollusks, sea worms and young fish.

    And unlike stripers and bluefish, it doesn’t take a monumental rod to catch kingfish. Smith was using a light action pole about six and a half feet long with a small spinning reel.

    His bait of choice was the bloodworm. A kind "bristle worm" commonly found in sandy or silted intertidal areas – those exposed by changing tides. Tackle shops along the Jersey coast obtain bloodworms from dealers in Maine where there is a substantial bloodworm-gathering industry.

    But tackle shop bloodworms are not cheap. The going rate at the shore this summer is $14 a dozen. Fortunately, you don’t need a whole bloodworm to entice a kingfish. To attract this species, all that’s required is a one-half to three-quarter inch length of worm threaded on the hook. Because bloodworms are about six inches in length, that means an angler can get a lot of kingfish out of $14.

    For his terminal tackle, Smith was tossing a simple “kingfish” rig which is basically an over and under bottom rig – two small hooks separated by about a foot of line. Each hook is accompanied by a colorful float on a short leader. The purpose of the floats is to hold the hook away from the line and also give some spice to the rig. As we talked the Brigantine surf was nearly copasetic so Smith used only a two-ounce weight; others on the beach were using twos or threes.

    Actually it was the relatively calm of the waves that the angler felt was helping his catch rate.

    “Kingfish don’t like high surf. It’s better when the water is calm,” he noted.

    The consistent south wind that much of the Jersey coast has experienced this summer has created what oceanographers call an “upwelling.” Basically the wind brings the cooler water up from the deep ocean and sends it toward the surface and the inshore waters. Along the Brigantine beach, the water temperature during the last week of July was just 62 F.

    As Smith was tossing his bait into the Atlantic, He’d heave it as far as it would go, about 40 yards. After the sinker contacted the bottom, it would slowly drift across the bottom so Smith would keep a tight line, in effect, constantly moving the bait in short increments. When the waves became so calm that the light weight held fast to the sand, he would slowly reel in line to cover distance. As the rig neared the beach, he got his hits.

    “They seem to be in the first drop behind the first wave,” he said. “They are not way out there.”

    Part of Smith’s fishing system was the use of braided line on his small spinning reel. He had spooled with 14-pound test Fireline.

    “I can feel everything with it,” he noted, adding that the light bites of the kingfish were easy to detect and the corrugated ridges in the sand as he retrieved the bait were readily felt.

    The only other consideration that Smith made that seemed to improve his catch rate over others on BrigantineBeach was the constant replacement of drying bloodworms. Bloodworms get their name from an obvious characteristic; when you cut one, a thin red liquid spills out. Certainly the presence of fresh bloodworm blood helps make them attractive to kingfish. However, after a time bloodworms seem to loose their guts.

    “They get washed out if you leave them on too long,” Smith said. “It pays to put on a fresh one.”

    Indeed, pays in more ways than one. Many anglers are working the Jersey surf for kingfish not because this species puts up a strong fight but because kingfish tastes so good.

    Smith said they fillet easily and taste great on the grill. Recently local anglers supplied kingfish for a large community fish fry on Brigantine and no one had to be coaxed into taking seconds.

    “Even people who don’t like the taste of fish like kingfish,” Smith said. “They’re very mild.”

    Perhaps then it’s their taste that has given kingfish their name. It seems they are kings of the grill.

    As I said, I’m not a gambling man, but I’d bet on that.
    http://www.pottsmerc.com/


  2. #2
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    Good article, very informative. I would add that you can also do well on fishbites bloodworms. only a small piece, that's all you need. And always work the rig actively in your hands, they are notorious bait stealers.

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    Default Re: Northern kingfish fishing tips

    Quote Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
    . As the rig neared the beach, he got his hits.

    “They seem to be in the first drop behind the first wave,” he said. “They are not way out there.”

    Yup. Also when you find one you usually can find a mess of them, Kingfish and spot can be found in the same places in the surf as well. I don't like bloodworms, too expensive. Use fishbites, small pieces.

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    buddy got one yesterday on bloods. Maybe we will start catching them up here too.

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    I fished CM this morniing and got 4 kingfish. Best bites were the first hour of the incoming tide. Used a combo of fishbites pieces and bloodworms on the same hook. You can save money that way bloodworms have gotten very expensive. 4 oz to hold.

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    Since you said bloods work so well but are expensive is there anyone out there who has gottem them using plain ol ordinary garden worms?

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    Not sure if garden worms would work. Here's a nice kingfish a guy got near the hudson. I didn't think they were here this year because I have not seen any. Don't know what he was using maybe clams.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 171582.jpg  

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    fishbites baby, fishbites!

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    I say forget filleting (unless you got a monster like rockhopper showed)... I just panfry them, after cleaning and scaling (they have tiny scales that come off easily
    with a knife edge), just coat them with some old bay, inside and out... 1-2 minutes each side on a hot griddle. Pull apart just like a trout. A few small bones to watch out for, but you don't lose much meat this way.

  10. #10
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    garden worms don't hold up in the surf. I'd try them up the bay though.

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    Man that kingfish is huge. Biggest one I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfrob View Post
    I say forget filleting (unless you got a monster like rockhopper showed)... I just panfry them, after cleaning and scaling (they have tiny scales that come off easily
    with a knife edge), just coat them with some old bay, inside and out... 1-2 minutes each side on a hot griddle. Pull apart just like a trout. A few small bones to watch out for, but you don't lose much meat this way.


    Great recipe. You're making me hungry!

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmedina View Post
    fishbites baby, fishbites!

    I guess they really do work for you. I gave them a try once caught a lot of snapper blues. I didn't realize they were that good. Maybe I should have moved somewhere else? That is a beautiful king fish congrats to the angler.

  14. #14
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    Fishbites are good. Fished CM area last night and got 2 small ones on fishbites. Nothing like the size of the one in that picture though that is freakishly large!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hookedonbass View Post
    I guess they really do work for you. I gave them a try once caught a lot of snapper blues. I didn't realize they were that good. Maybe I should have moved somewhere else? That is a beautiful king fish congrats to the angler.
    fishing for kings is always a manner of finding the active fish. A few years in a row we will get a mass of spot that wipes out the kingfishing since you will get a spot aggresively hitting, in other places like you found it will be snappers. Sometimes the doggies are too thick. But the trick is to find where the kings are predominantly feeding, sometimes at your feet, other times on some unseen bar out deep.

    Fishbites work with the warmer water temps, if it's cool then bloodworms outfish them significantly. One thing to note, having had spot in a tank at home, these fish, and I suspect dogs, kings and others, can definitely *smell* the offering. So, fresh is best and that's why the comment on changing mungy looking worm pieces to outfish others. Sometimes, the fishbites will lower the doggie bites, while worms will get a dog on every cast.

    So, you have to experiment!

  16. #16
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    Great answers thanks. Was going to try for them from a municipal fishing pier by me. guess I will bring fishbites and worms and see which ones work better. I will prob bring sandworms because the bloods are hard to find and waaaaaay too much dinero.

  17. #17
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    Heads up kings are starting to show up. Bud of mine got some in cape may on sunday.

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