Tag along with Olsen of Knot@Work Fishing Charters for an exciting day of catching king mackerel in the accompanying video. Before leaving from Shem Creek, Olsen explains how to rig for kings, how to use flat lines and downriggers to target them and even displays his impressive "one cast wonder" to load the bait-well with hand sized menhaden from the ICW.
Once on the water, it's non-stop action as Olsen and crew troll in 65 feet of water over livebottom ledges, catching kings, which are known for their lightning-fast speed and even sharper teeth. As such, enticing them to bite entails trolling live-bait rigs armed with multiple hooks and bite resistant wire leaders. As sight feeders, kings prefer to hunt in the upper half of the water column, so Olsen covers all bases by trolling some free-lined baits and some baits tethered to downriggers.
"Depending on the weather conditions, I like to fish at least four rods, and if it's calm, I can get away with six rods," he said. "Downriggers are a must, if you only have one, that's fine. I'd tell people to put that one in the middle of the water column, at whatever depth they're in, to start with. If they don't get a bite in 30 minutes, adjust the height up or down a little bit."
Like any type of fishing, catching kings is not entirely about the right water depth. Structure plays a big part in where baitfish will congregate and where there's bait, there's a better chance of finding kings.
"I love to fish rocky ledges, any kind of true live bottom and that's usually anywhere from 12 to 20 miles off shore," said Olsen. "Those places are going to hold all the bait. After livebottom, a lot of the artificial reefs will have kings on them. With reefs, it's a matter of a little bit of technique of fishing around the outside of those reefs rather than trying to fish on the inside."