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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy All,

As silly as it sounds, I have been researching on line on how to fish for Kings and Spanish from a boat. Don't laugh too hard, this boating thing is rather new to me. All my fishing experience is from on land, and a little bit from a canoe. It was always easier to just use the canoe for transportation to get to hard to reach places.

Side note: The only time I ever fished for Spanish was in Florida and that was from a pier. My bait was something new for me too. I used a plastic bubble that you filled with some water that had about 2 feet of 100lb test line with a treble hook and a McDonalds straw. I looked at that concept, and thought someone was taking me for a gag, like snipe hunting or something, but my family that lives down there vouched for it. It actually worked. I am also guessing from what I saw on the pier, the fishing in that part of florida made McDonalds milkshake sales rise too. Unfortunately I didn't have as much luck as a couple of others on the pier but it validated the concept for me. I think I might have posted more on that subject last Sept.

Here's my barrage of questions on Kings and Spanish:

When do the spanish and kings come into the area? Can you catch them inshore closer to the inlets, or do you have to be off shore? Anyone have any suggestions other than a McDonald's straw for lures and bait? I assume that I could either troll around or just anchor and cast depending where I am, any tips on tactics and techniques?

I know, very novice questions, but figure what the heck why not post. Appreciate any feed back yall might have.
 

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well i think its safe to say when the water temperature reaches like 68 or so than i think the kings and spanish are in. im not for sure on that though i havnt fished saltwater in a long while there are others on here who do only that. i would go to the saltwater thread. but i would stick with spanish if i where you till i learned how to do that without a problem than switch to kings. if the time is right spanish are very easy to catch. and if you ever go to emerald isle and fish off bogue inlet peir( dont know if they are open yet) you just go there and watch the people on the right side of the peir before and at the end. they are all casting gotcha plugs and working it for spanish and they all will pretty much talk. but as far as boat go just out side bogue inlet and you can troll. and i believe you want to keep the boat at 1600 rpms (not exactly sure i forget) but either way its pretty fast and this is trolling hardware. the type of lures you want to use will be spoons and plugs and such. and usually the gold will catch the spanish whether the spoon or the hook is gold. but you will catch spanish and blues. the blues are very easy to catch but when you start catching them than your doing something right. but my advice to find out when and what to use is go to any bait shop and just talk or any of the marinas around swansboro and such, they will share alot of information. but as for the kings they are a whole differnt story and smarter fish id save that for later lol. but you learn the basics they will work for both and when you got that down than go into detail which will lead you to king fishing. i hope this helps.
 

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There are lot of variables and different techniques - I'll cover the ones I use most.

Let's take Spanish fishing first. They come right up to the beach starting sometime around late April early May. Often you can find them by watching for diving birds. Lots of time they will be near the inlets but rarely come inside very far. In the spring they are chasing small fish like glass minnows and silver sides so you will want to use similar sized lures.

For casting to them the gotcha lure, stingsilver, diamond jigs and my favorite the Maria jig all work well. The 3/8 ounce to 1 ounce sizes work best. Use medium light tackle - say 10 pound test on a 7' foot rod and reel combo. Try to get upwind/current from the birds and then cut the motor and drift into the birds/fish.

For trolling it's hard to beat the Clark Spoon - use a 00 or 0 size in silver or gold. On the surface it can be trolled behind a bird rig - use about a 5-8' fluro carbon leader in between with a swivel at the bird end (you need that to prevent line twists caused by the spoon). To troll deeper some folks use a planer either on a hand line tied off to a cleat or on a heavy rod. The clark spoon would be on a seperate rod with the line attached to a release clip attached to the planer.

Instead of a planer, I prefer to use a trolling weight attached to the main line with a long fluro leader of 10-15 feet, again with a barrel swivel on the leader side of the weight. Trolling weights are long and narrow in shape and come in different weights - try 1, 2,3 and 4 ounce sizes. Only disadvantage with this is that you have to hand over hand the leader once you get the fish close to the boat (which I like to do anyway as I feel I lose less fish that way) cause it's so long. Another way to go deep and often my favorite way to start is to use yozuri crystal minnow deep divers (make sure they are the DD model) in the 3 1/2 inch size - they attach right to the mono line or fluro leader if using braided line and will dive down with no fuss. I like the pink/silver model and the clown colored model best.

Troll any where from 2 -4 lines behind the boat using a combo of lures/depths until you find the fish - then switch 'em all to what the fish are hitting if you want. I usually start trolling at about 6 mph or faster (up to 9 or 10mph) - if you start getting blues (and don't want them or are losing tackle to them), speed up - the Spanish will still bite but the blues are lazy and won't go that fast. If you put wire leaders on to prevent bite offs from the blues - you will reduce your spanish catch as they are leader shy.

For larger Spanish later in the season I sometimes pull live bait much like King fishing - but usually I only do this trying for a citation size fish as I like the taste of the small ones better.

There are other ways but these are the methods I use - hope it helps.
 

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For King Mackerel - They will come in close to the beach and are caught from the ends of peirs. However in the late spring, early summer the heavist concentration of them will be found in the 8 - 20 mile range near artificial and natural reefs, ledges and hard bottom areas that hold bait. In the late summer and fall those large schools and solitary followers will sometimes be close to the beach. My biggest king of the year last year (42 pounds) was caught in October 2 miles off Topsail Beach in 40 feet of water.

My favorite way to target kings is to slow troll natural baits, dead or alive depending on the availability of bait and the bite. This seems to be the method prefered by tournament pros and most folks going for the big smoker kings. For nearshore live bait trolling, pogies (menhaden) are the bait of choice. These can be caught in cast nets close to shore or inside the inlets. Further out, I prefer to use freshly jigged up cigar minnows, greenbacks or blue runners as that is what the kings generally see out there (8-20 mile range).

For tackle - I use a live bait rod rated for 15 - 30 test line with fast action. The fast action is a key as you want a soft tip so it flexes instead of passing the jerks and bounces down to the bait from the boat taking on the waves and wind. You want a fast retreiving reel (I use 6:1 ratio reels) that will hold at least 300 yards of #20 pound mono. I use the Shimano Speedmaster IV.

For terminal tackle I use a wire leader (#4 or #5) with a small swivel attached to the main line (NO SNAP) and either a #2 Live Bait hook or a #4 treble hook (x4 strong too) attached to the leader wire using a haywire twist with about 18 - 24 inches of leader. Then a 4-6 inch stinger is attached to the eye of the first hook - again using wire and this time a #4 or #2 treble. Sometimes I put a streamer/duster on the leader above the first hook for color and attraction. These rigs can be purchased in just about any coastal area tackle shop or you can make your own (I make mine). The first hook is placed through the bait's nostrils, the stinger can be left hanging free or attached on the underside of the bait toward the tail (leave some slack so the bait swims naturally).

Troll live baits as slow as you can - usually at idle speed (500 RPMs or so), sometimes taking it in and out of gear. You want to move just enough to keep your lines tight and behind the boat but allow the bait to swim around and look natural. I use a 4 rod spread. One on a down rigger. The other one on that side about 40 - 60 feet back. On the other side I run the rod closest to the helm further back - maybe 50 - 75 feet. The one closest to the transom I drop back in the prop wash. I use rod - riggers or flat line clips on the two lines closest to the helm to help keep the bait in the water and natural looking (low trajectory/entry of the line into the water). Sometimes I'll run a fifth rod down the center from above the Helm, this one I drop way back - 100 feet or so.

For dead bait, use a hank brown jig head (2 ounce) as the front hook and a #4 treble as a stinger. The weight and shape of the hank brown gives your dead bait some action. Same leader set up otherwise. This one can be trolled a little faster but still slow - maybe 600 - 700 RPM's - the jighead should be threaded through the fish's lower jaw and out in between the eyes. I use cigar minnow and usually one ribbon fish (takes a modified rig with multiple stingers) and sometimes I use ballyhoo. Same spread as live bait.

Okay - that sounds like a lot but is really just the basics and isn't that hard to master.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Absolutely awesome yall! Thanks a million. I'm just soaking up the info like a sponge here. Been reading and looking up different lures from your posts to get an idea what to look and ask for at the store. Really appreciate the posts.
 

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Everyone above is pretty much dead on with great info for ya..
Only thing I'll add is my belief in bird rigs.

Boone 4 or 5 inch bird with 3 squid daisy chain with a #1 size clark spoon behind the squids. You can buy these pre-rig'd ready to go out of the package. I firmly believe in bird rigs and they catch alot of fish, especially spanish.

Colors that work for us are blue bird with pink squids silver clark spoon, pink bird with clear squid with silver clark spoon (the best producer), or white bird with pink stripe clear squids and silver clark.

For Kings, lot's of folks fish live baits on a slow troll (almost a drift pretty much) over structure. They'll drift over, if no bites, motor back to a start point and drift it again.. keep repeating the process. Me,, that's too slow for the fishin I like to do and I like to run.. so I recommend at least have a couple Mann's stretch 25's in the box (anything in a mackeral color -- green or blue) and at least have one Yozuri bonita lure in a 6 or 8 inch size.. kings will flat tear it up!

If you get a smallish or medium spanish, you can put that on the hook for king fishin as well ;) Bridle type riggin the spanish would be the way to go (dead or alive) to troll it.

If you dont use some type of wire leader, you will get bite off alot.. so that's something to consider.

One trick to put in your tool box is: A king cannot resist a live pinfish

Best of luck and post up them pix of the smokers ya catch! ;)

 

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Here's some photos of King Mackerel live and dead bait rigs.

The first photo shows a double pogie rig - you use this one to pull two live baits in tandem on the same rod. (note stinger hook on back set of hooks is not shown)

Second picture shows a dead bait rig and some of the materials used to make all the rigs. Note: the skirt slides down to rest just above the hook when deployed.

The third picture shows three types of live bait rigs: top one is a 2 treble hook with skirt, middle one is a naked 2 treble hook rig, bottom one shows a live bait hook with a treble stinger and turbo rattler in front of the hooks (the sound makes the live bait nervous and attracts the predator, I use this one when there is lots of bait around or lots of other boats...lol).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Stopped off at the store on the way back from Church this morning and looked at the types of tackle yall have described. Felt like a kid in a candy store, ha ha, thank god my wife was there to keep me in check.

Thanks again for all the good info yall.
 

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UH OH, I see the "tackle monkey" lurking in the shadows....... Watch out!
 

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To catch the bigger spanish I like to use live menhaden with a medium action rod, 14 lbs fireline, and an okuma vs 40 reel. I fish near artificial reefs alot and I have caught kings, spanish, and bonito within 100 yards of each other before. There are plenty artificial reefs off our coast especially in the Atlantic beach, Emerald Isle area. With the live bait you will also catch smaller kings. Standard live bait rigs work great. Troll as slow as your boat can go when using live bait. If you troll too fast you risk drowning your bait.
Personally I like to use the smaller rods cause it can make even a medium sized spanish feel like a world class fish.
When getting live bait I always like to catch my own. The bait barges are good but sometimes those fish look sickly. And almost all of them have red noses which is not a good thing. Circular livewell will do the trick but make sure you have new water cycling in and out. I've had netfulls of 100 menhaden plus before just look for popping on the top of the water early in the morning and throw a net right on top.
 

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Fire Shark- What areas are you primarily fishing out of? Its always a safe bet to find some Artificial Reefs in your area. However, while these are great places to fish because they do produce fish, youv'e got to get on them early to avoid crowds. One tactic that has always provided some fun for me is when you get into a school of spanish, if you have a free man on the boat (not driving or working a rod) drop a gotcha back into the spread before you shift into idle. By moving forward, it helps to get the bait back faster, and when you idle just start working the plug or swimbait back to the boat. You never know there might be another fish underneath the others. And going along with Crappie89, try a ballon on one of those live bait rigs. As for kings- You can troll a lot of the same areas for kings as you can for spanish. Color breaks around inlets are always a good area because of the constant presence of bait. If you are using a down rigger you can pull a larger drone spoon on it to try to locate the fish. I prefer a silver with shiny blue tape or a silver with silver tape for this. But it really all comes down to what is most comfortable, and what works best for you and your set-up.

Tight Lines-
 
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