Fishing for King Mackerel in Florida

We were after the King Mackerels, but the Barricuda were hitting the kings before we could get them into the boat, biting most of them completely in half.

fishing-for-kingsI love deep sea or off shore fishing. Casting for fresh pogies from the bow of my friend’s 26 foot Everglade nearly 30 miles off of the coast of NE Florida, well there is nothing else like it in the world. With talk about the Kingfish Tournament approaching in Fernandina Beach, on beautiful Amelia Island, Florida, looming throughout our small community, I was reminded of a fishing trip I took a few years back.

There were four of us fishing on a perfect day in June. We were after the King Mackerels, but the Barricuda were hitting the kings before we could get them into the boat, biting most of them completely in half. If you have never been deep sea fishing, there is a distinct sound, a “zzzzzing‚” when a large fish hits your bait and takes off running. All of the anglers on the boat jump to pull the other lines in and store them out of the way so the lucky fisherman (or woman) can work the fish around the entire perimeter of the boat. The Captain will maneuver the boat the best he can, but fish are unpredictable and you will waltz your way more than once around that deep blue dance floor. When more than one line gets hit and people are shouting “Fish Awn” and you hear those lines start to zip off of the spool, you are about to see some serious action. And that is exactly what happened on this perfect June day.

Two lines went off at nearly the same time. The Barricudas were just under the surface nipping at the Kingfish causing them to literally jump up and out of the water. My husband was certain he was reeling in a large King, when something hit the Spanish Mackerel I had on the end of my line as bait. Two rods are spinning off hundreds of feet of line, the other two folks on the boat are rapidly reeling in the empty rods to get them out of our way. Then suddenly a fish jumped out of the water and across the boat from bow to stern. My husband’s line went dead. He cried out an expletive as I cried out in surprise and a bit of pain! As the men instinctively turned to follow the flight of this Spanish Mackerel, the airborne fish hit me square across my breasts. It left a perfect and stereotypical, wet silhouette of a fish on my t-shirt! More expletives flew as the men began to curse losing yet another fish. “Hold it!” I shouted, “I’ve still got one hooked!”

The Captain took his seat at the helm and the men cleared the gun wall giving me ample room to fight my catch. It took 20 or 30 minutes to bring in that King Mackerel, but you know what? It was the only whole fish we put in the cooler that day! At the risk of repeating myself, I love deep sea fishing; there is just nothing else quite like it in the world!

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