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Red Sea Fishing Tours

King Mackerel

Also known as Kana'd Mackerel, Yuumbi, Kingfish, Seerfish, Spanish Mackerel, Königsmakrele or Wahoo

King- or Spanish Mackerel of the Red Sea belong to one of several species of big mackerels which roam tropical and subtropical oceans on a global scale. Within the family of mackerels, bonitos and tunas known as Scombridae, the genus Scomberomorus includes a wide range of species commonly known as King Mackerel or Seer Fish. They ara also immigrant to the eastern Mediterranean Sea by way of the Suez Canal. These mackerels are difficult to distinguish, even to scientific standards. Probably we are talking about Scomberomorus commerson, scomberomorous regalis or Scomberomorous cavalla but it could also be Scomber australasicus . All of those members of the Scombridae (Mackerels, tunas, bonitos) family are commonly between 60 and 100 cm in length, but can grow as long as two meter and attain a weight of 70 to 80 kg. Kingfish have a streamlined torpedo shaped body that tapers to a strongly forked tail. Their body is greenish-blue above, silvery-white below, with a yellow tail and a yellowish stripe through the eye and along the midline of the body. Female specimen are generally larger than males. King Mackerel is often mixed up with Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri). The wahoo may be distinguished from the related Atlantic king mackerel and from the Indo-Pacific narrow-barred Spanish mackerel by a fold of skin which covers the mandible when its mouth is closed. In contrast, the mandible of the king mackerel is always visible as is also the case for the smaller Spanish mackerel and Cero mackerel. The teeth of the wahoo are similar to those of king mackerel, but shorter and more closely set together. However, all of them have very similar ecological niches, feeding habits, sportive and culinaric qualities. All off them rank among the fastest fish in the sea, attaining speeds of 80 km and more.

Scombroids are a migrating pelagic family, but can be found and caught from inshore waters to the continental shelf including coastal reefs, bays, estuaries and lagoons almost throughout the year. They tend to be loner or travel in packs of three to nine fish at about 15 km/h in search of shoals of sardines. Kings are known to undertake lengthy long-shore migrations following their prey, but resident populations also seem to exist. Usually they hunt solitary and often swim along coastal slopes at dephs between 30 and 50 meter feeding on small fishes like anchovies, clupeids, carangids, also squids and penaeoid shrimps in a fast and aggressive manner. Hence they challenge and are a delight on light tackle. Whether one is throwing lures or fishing with bait, they deliver hard fights and reel-burning runs, even though they do not have great endurance but the first scorching run may peel off several hundred meters of line in seconds. Kingfish are very fast. King Mackerel attack bait or lures at the surface by accelerating upward from below, grabbing the bait and then shooting one to three meters out of the water in a technique referred to by anglers as “skyrocketing.” King mackerel are speedy critters and sometimes they take the corners too fast and overshoot their targets. Here, and in any missed attack, quick thinking anglers can improve their chances of a follow-up strike by feeding line back to the point of the attack. When a king boils or strikes at a bait but misses, the boat's forward motion pulls the bait away from the attacker. Peel off several yards of line and you might convince the fish into a second chance. Best fishing is at dawn or dusk but Kings will bite throughout the day under heavy cloud cover preferably with clouds and during rough weather.

Rigging should accommodate a wide range of techniques, including ­downrigger-trolling, slow-trolling, drifting or even anchoring. We use multi color skirts and metal spoons we pull behind the boat at different distances and depths. This is because you never know if the King Mackerel are feeding deep or shallow. By offering these fish different options such as color, size, type of bait and different depths and distances, you increase your chance of hooking a nice King Mackerel. Most of the lures have up to three hooks lined up in a row or are looped together in a series.  King mackerel are voracious feeders that will hit a variety of baits. Spoons, jigs and trolling plugs are most likely to tempt juvenile kings in the 10- to 20-pound range, so for the big kings you will like to troll a spread of natural baits. This strategy involves covering lots of water and showing the fish different looks. A mix of flat lines, long baits and deep baits on downriggers provides diversity and helps you find ourwhat the fish are looking for on a given day. As migratory pelagics, king mackerel are constantly on the move on the hunt for bait and they will move up and down in the water column, so you should at least use Dipsy Divers and tadpole weights to offer various baits at different depths. Of course professional downriggers, outriggers and trolling planer boards do offer the most effective ways to fish at specific depths over an area as large possible. In order to spread the bait especially determined fisherman may even employ kite techniques.

Trolling too fast is one of the main mistakes king anglers make. Idle speed is all that’s needed to troll live bait, and in some instances this may be too fast. An arsenal of marine ­electronics to locate key structure spots such as wrecks and reef edges, as well as schools of bait is certainly helpful in finding king mackerel. However, effective trawling means that at least you should have a fairly precise idea on the depth of your actual position and its surroundings, even if top-quality GPS/chart plotter and fish finder remain wishfull thinking. When trolling broad areas, look for marine birds. Birds will follow schools of kingfish for hours, just waiting for them to feed. Once the slashing starts, they dip low to snatch the scraps left at the surface. Spotting birds circling an area should put a big red X on the spot.

Concerning tackle techniques: Mackerel are greedy enough to take the blank hook - sometimes. In fact the etymology of the genus Scomberomorus is derived from Latin, scomber = mackerel + Greek, moros = silly, stupid. Nevertheless, Kingfish's sense of vision is excelent and combines with razor sharp teeth. Hence you will only be safe if you use wire tippet/single strand wire as a leader. In order to lessen the chance of detection use the smallest possible wire. Attach the hook to the wire with a proper crimp and use the albright knot to attach to the leader. While fishing for school size kingfish during the day, use 6 kg single strand wire or very heavy monofilament leader. During low light conditions when large fish are active use up to 20 kg wire, but remember that underwater visibility conditions are almost perfect everywhere and anytime in the Red Sea. Especially offshore! So basically it is a very good idea to add up three to five meter of 8 - 15 kg monofilament line between the wire and any multifilament line. Doing this you should use safe knots only. Use hooks No.6/0 -10/0 Mustad Stainless Steel O'Shaughanessy.


All off the Kingfish's IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Status is: LEAST CONCERN

Kingfish are a fast growing species. Males can mature in their first or second years at 45-50 cm long, while females take 3-4 years to mature at between 75-90 cm long. Maximum size seems to be above 200 cm and 90 kg. Kings are pelagic, living in solitary or forming small, loose aggregations. They congregate near drifting objects and move with the changing seasons, traveling into cooler waters during warm summer months.  Latitude appears to influence size, with average weight increasing with distance from the equator, apparently correlated to cooler temperatures. King mackerel are found in both nearshore and offshore waters often near schools of baitfish. Like many of the pelagic species, kings prefer water temperatures above 20°C, so they migrate to warmer waters in the fall of the year. Kings feed primarily on schooling bait fish and squid and are commonly caught while trolling with flashy spoons or duster rigged with a whole cigar minnow. Free lining or slow trolling with live baits (cigar minnows, herring, sardines, blue runners) is a great way to hook the larger and more solitary kings.


Rigs and Techniques

Top fishing methods include trolling with whole, rigged baits as well as with strip baits or artificial lures. Spinning or bait-casting tackle with 10 to 15 kg monofilament line is sufficient when free lining live baits as long as you have enough spool capacity for the initial run after hookup. For trolling, 15 to 25 kg trolling tackle is commonly used. Suspend whole fish baits rigged with ganged hooks under a balloon. Moving baits encourage strikes.

Lure: Minnow Deep Diving, Jigs, Popper, Skirted lure, Slice, Spoon

12 - 30kg. main line with 30cm wire trace.

Terminal Tackle

  • Leaders usually made from 50 to 70 pound test wire, or 80 pound test monofilament. The reason for a wire leader is that other species than dolphin (like barracuda) may strike your bait. These leaders are usually six to eight feet in length.
  • Hooks for dead or live bait – usually in the 6/0 to 7/0 range in standard hooks for trolling and 7/0 circle hooks for live baiting.



kingfish are opportunistic feeders taking advantage of the available rich food supply including; squid, shrimp, small reef fish, bluefish, trout and small jacks. Yellowtail fishers can tell you that they also eat this species. Kingfish migrate following the schooling menhaden, sardines and herring.

Catching live bait can also play a critical role, so the boat’s deck needs to be snag-free for cast-netting. Voluminous livewell capacity helps ensure the boat has enough live bait to fish all day.

Bait: Fish flesh, Garfish, Herring, Pilchard, Tailor, Tuna, Yellowtail scad (yakka)


King Mackerel

JIG resembling Sqid stahlvorfach/leader 50 m depth 130 pound line crimp/Hülse planer, downrigger , swivel, In-Line Planers,

Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver Snubber (8 Inch) 

Rigging Trolling Feathers And Bullets 

The Tackle Requirements

Kingfish Flies
Kingfish flies should imitate bait fish. Deceiver style flies with large eyes are good producers. They should be tied on vvery sharp hooks sized 3/0 to 7/0. Natural bait fish colors with lots of flash are the best choices of fly tying materials eg. dark green, light blue, white, yellow. Pink is also a good color to try in off colored water.

Kingfish Tackle

The one rod size to have for saltwater flyfishing is generally considered to be a 9 foot, 9 weight fast action graphite. This rod can be rigged for a wide range of gamefish including all but the largest kingfish. It has enough back bone to fight large fish and is able to cast fly patterns well in windy conditions.
The fly rod must have plenty of backbone to pull in a kingfish. Smaller kings can be taken on fly rods as light as 6 weight but a 60 + lb fish (as well as other large gamefish) will require the recommended 9 foot 9 weight rod.
Reels must be of quality construction, corrosion proof for the saltwater environment, a strong smooth drag system, sufficient capacity to hold the fly line plus 200-300 yards of backing and be sized to match the fly rod. Single action reels are the standard for saltwater fly fishing.
250 yards of 30 pound micron or mono.
Sinking level line for casting to chummed fish or for trolling deep. Floating weight forward for trolling the surface.

Skyrocketing King Mackerel

Regarded as one of the best sport and gamefish. Hitting baits hard and providing a tough fight mixed with great agility and speed. It is renowned for its initial fast, long run



Within the family of mackerels, bonitos and tunas known as Scombridae, the genus Scomberomorus includes a wide range of species commonly known as seer fish (sometimes seerfish), Spanish mackerels or King mackerels depending on geography and specific species. Kingfish are a widely distributed species with a circumglobal distribution in sub-tropical and temperate waters. A voracious and opportunistic carnivore with razor sharp teeth, their prey depending on their size which varies greatly.  They are among the more commonly game fish. Fast and aggressive, they are both challenge and a delight on light tackle, whether one is throwing lures or fishing with bait. Seer fish can be found from inshore waters to the continental shelf including coastal reefs at depths betwen 0-50 m, although they have been taken below 300 metres. The King Mackerel itself sometimes falls prey to sharks and dolphins so don't be surprised if while hauling in your catch you end up in a sudden tug of war.  Its' flesh is greyish in colour due to its' high fat content.


Jack or the Giant Trevally

Giant Trevally love large poppers such as those made by Heru, Halco, and many other manufacturers.  You cast them as far as you can, and then retrieve them with long sweeps of the rod so that the poppers kick up a lot of water.  You should vary your retrieve speed to figure out what they like.  Give it a pause to give the fish a chance to strike; you don't want to pull it away from them.  The strike is often dramatic as they launch out of the water in a shower of spray trying to annihilate your popper.  As with all topwater lure fishing, you have to wait until you feel weight on the end of your line before setting the hook as the fish often miss the lure on the first try.

Giant Trevally: also known as the GT is a species of large marine fish classified in the jack family. The giant trevally is distinguished by its steep head profile, strong tail scutes. It is normally a silvery color with occasional dark spots; however males may be black once they mature. Giant Trevally can grow to a maximum known size of 170 cm and a weight of 80 kg. The current IGFA World Record stands at an outrageous 145lb


Dog Tooth Tuna

Because of their impressive size,appearance, fighting prowess and comparative rarity in inshore waters, dogtooth are one of the most sought after Coral Sea species. Smaller specimens to 15kg can be taken on jigged or trolled lures or live or dead baits. Big doggies can be more selective but will usually grab a big livebait,big trolled dead bait or big bibless minnow, big being the operative word.They grow to over 100kg and are good eating

Dogtooth Tuna are generally caught either trolling or jigging.  For trolling for large ones a 50 W type trolling outfit with 100lb braided line should be sufficient.

Dogtooth Tuna can because caught trolling Rapalla type lures.

 reef drop-offs and ofshore structures

It does have many similarities to the tunas though in some respects it differs considerably. Teeth for example. The reason the dogtooth tuna is called as such are its relatively large widely spaced Conical teeth.



Sailfish: reaching 1.2–1.5 meters (3 ft 10 in–4 ft 10 in) in length in a single year, and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller fish and squid. Individuals have been clocked at speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour (68 mph), which is the highest speed reliably reported in a fish. Generally, sailfish do not grow to more than 3 meters (9.8 ft) in length

Sustainable Fishing

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