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.