How To:

Terminal Tackle, Rods, Reels, Baits, And Methods Used To Catch Tournament Kingfish In South FL.

Author: Mike Milewski

Fishing For Kingfish In South Florida

If you are new to king fishing this article will get you started! Last year was our first year fishing the SKA tour and targeting kingfish. There is so much to learn and always something new to try, however here are the basics to get you started. 

Kingfish Tackle

Our set up’s consist of a 7ft live bait rod, 30 class reel (Fin nor marquesa 30, Avet LX 6.0), spooled with 25lb bullbuster line and 30ft of bullbuster 30lb fluorocarbon leader tied together with a Uni knot. There are numerous choices and price ranges when it comes to reels to get the job done. Having a smooth drag, line capacity and a 6.1:1 gear ratio are critical to landing smoker kings. Drag on the other hand is not. Due to the fact your king maybe hooked in the side by one barb of your treble hook. You will only need to use a few pounds of drag to fight a kingfish.

Rigging For Kingfish 

Now that you have your set ups ready to go it’s time to tie on your rigs. Our rigs consist of bullbuster wire leader, a bullbuster swivel, 1 live bait hook (size 3 ) and a 4x treble hook.   


 Kingfish Rigs

Standard live bait Kingfish Rig: This rig can be used on your flat lines, kite baits and downrigger bait.

Standard Kingfish Rig (Live Bait)

 Standard live bait Kingfish Rig with a duster: this rig can be used on your flat lines and downrigger baits.


Kingfish Rig With A "Duster"

Ribbon Fish Rig: This rig and your ribbon fish will be used on your downrigger.


Ribbonfish Rig For Kingfish

Baits For Kingfish

Now that all your rods, rigs and prep work is complete you are ready to go fish right? Not the case!! Tournament king fishing is all about live bait. We mainly use gog’s or blue runners here in south FL. Your local bait guy can be found close to the inlet most mornings or you can sabiki up your bait. Either way frisky live bait is key to getting the bite you want.

 Next you will have to decided what method your team is going to use. You can set up a drift, bump troll, kite fish or combine methods depending on the number of anglers and the size of your boat.  When bump trolling we have two lines down deep (downriggers one at 40ft and 65ft ) , a long line and a short line. If we can get the kite out we will do so and get a few extra baits in the water. Unfortunately we have had little to no wind last few weeks.  Either way baits are in and you are fishing!!

 The first bite comes ZZZIIINNNGGG goes  the reel, your adrenaline is pumping , and you are hooked on targeting Kingfish!!!  

 Thanks again Bullbuster for supporting Team Reel Dreams with the best line, fluorocarbon leaders, and terminal tackle to fish the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) Tour!!!


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