We are finally getting our first dip in the weather accompanied by stronger north winds. The water temperature will fall moderately through this front, ushering in a push of kingfish and spanish mackerel just a few miles from shore. Spanish mackerel were already here in good numbers accompanied by just a few kingfish migrating to the south.
Typical for this time of year, these cold fronts will stay for a day or two, the winds will relax and many anglers will then venture within 5 or 6 miles of shore in search of the drag screaming kings. There have been herds of threadfin herring nearshore, undoubtedly falling victim to kingfish and mackerel alike. I always bring # 8 sabiki rigs to catch a few threadfin herring for slow trolling near the bait schools in search of a bite.
Sometimes, anchoring in a spot after a couple of pull downs on the trolled baits can allow you to chum kingfish right to the boat. However often times, slow trolling is what they prefer. Long shank hooks can be effective for catching the spanish mackerel, but kingfish will require a small shot of wire leader to prevent cut offs. I’ve been using tieable wire leader to a 2/0 or 3/0 J-hook and then a 3-to-4-inch section to a treble hook as a stinger rig.
Large sardines, threadfin herring and blue runners are all great baits to use when kingfishing. I’ve even caught them on live shrimp in the past. Be prepared for a huge first run especially when they are larger than 20 lbs.