Fishing Charters in Aruba

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Fishing in Aruba


King Mackerel (Kingfish)
(Scomberomorus Cavalla)

An important species to the recreational and commercial fishing industries, the King Mackerel is one amongst the most popular game fish, majorly known because of its speed. The Kingfish or King Mackerel is a migratory species of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

King Mackerel
Habitat and Behavior

Belonging to the Scombridae family, King Mackerel is a sub-tropical species of the Atlantic Coast of America. The fish prefer outer reefs, coastal waters at a depth of 40-150 ft. However, during the warmest summer months, the fish prefer warmer temperatures between 68 and 85 F. The larger kings, that are heavier than 9 kg or 20lb, often occur inshore, in the mouths of inlets and harbors; and also occasionally at the 180m (590 ft) depths at the edge of the Gulf Stream. Depending upon the warm waters, King Mackerel migrates towards the east coast of the U.S. Larger groups are observed traveling to the northern areas and the Gulf of Mexico. Belonging to an opportunistically Carnivores and a voracious species, the Kingfish feeds depending upon the size of its prey and the season.

The King Mackerel is a subtropical species of the Atlantic Coast of the Americas and is quite common in the coastal zone from North Carolina to Brazil; it also occurs as far south as Rio de Janeiro, and as far north as the Gulf of Marine. The Kingfish can also be found in the Eastern Coast (Chennai) and the Western Coast of India. Nonetheless, the King Mackerel prefers to stay in waters in the temperature range of 20 to 29°C (68 to 84 °F).

The Kingfish have an extended spawning season which frequently occurs during the months of May to October. During spawning, the eggs and the sperms are shed into the sea and it is by chance, that they unite. Depending upon its size, a female may shed from 50,000 to several million eggs over the entire spawning season. The eggs that get fertilized hatch in about 24 hours. The newly hatched larva is about 2.5mm (0.098 in) long, along with a yolk sack. The first year of the life of a King Mackerel is yet a mystery to be discovered.

King Mackerel -
Physical Description

  • Size: – The yearling fish typically attain an average weight of around 1.4-1.8kg (3.1-4.0lb) and a fork length of 60cm (24 in). At the age of seven, an average female weighs around 10 kg (22 lb), while an average male weighs around 5 kg (11 lb). The male King Mackerel may attain 40kg of weight (88 lb), while any kingfish weighing over 7 kg (15 lb) is certainly a female.
  • Appearance: – Iron-grey on the back and silvery on the sides and belly, the King Mackerel is a medium-sized fish with its entire body covered with hardly visible, loosely attached, small scales. The Kingfish have pale to dusky fins. The younger fish have brown spots on their sides, and sometimes resemble Spanish mackerel in general appearance; however, its pectoral fins are mostly covered with scales. Its ventrals are below the first dorsal, instead of definitely behind the origin of the latter; its head is relatively longer, its nose is more pointed, and teeth are more in number – about 40 in each jaw, triangular and very sharp pointed; the upper half of its first dorsal is deep blue in color. Furthermore, the King Mackerel can be identified by a narrow brownish stripe running on its body, from close behind each pectoral fin to the base of the caudal, while crossing the lateral line as the caudal bows downward below the second dorsal fin.The side spots of the Kingfish, are mostly below the lateral line and arranged in rows, while the spots of the Spanish Mackerel are scattered irregularly, with about as many above the lateral line as below it. The first (spiny) dorsal fin is entirely colorless and is normally folded back into a body groove, similar to the pelvic fins. The lateral line starts high on the shoulder, dips abruptly at the mid-body and then continues as a wavy horizontal line to the tail. The Kingfish that weigh under 5 kg (10 lb) have yellowish-brown spots on the flanks.

King Mackerel
Conditions for Survival

Voracious and opportunistic Carnivores, the Kingfish choose their prey depending on their size, the area and the season. The Mackerel most often hunt on squid, menhaden and other sardine-like fish, Jacks, Cutlassfish, Weakfish, Grunts, Striped Anchovies, Cigar Minnows, Threadfin, Northern Mackerel, and Blue Runners.

King Mackerel
Relation with the Humans

The King Mackerel does not attack humans; however, they will definitely defend themselves against any threats that they may perceive; humans getting failed or thrashed in man-overboard or similar situations may also be perceived as threats to the fish.

King Mackerel
Other Names

The King Mackerel or Kingfish, as it is more commonly known, is given various names in various countries that it is found. It is known as Cavalla in Spain, Korolevskaya in Russia, Sawara in Japan, etc. These names are more common in the coastal zones from Massachusetts to Rio de Janerio, North Carolina to Brazil and Gulf of Mexico.

Aruba Fishing Seasons and
Availability of King Mackerel (Kingfish)

After the winter months of low activity, the King Mackerel become available in the Aruba waters in abundance in the months of July, August, September, October, November, and December.

However, the fish is also available in reasonable quantity in the months from April to June.

When January February March April May June July August September October November December
Availability Good Good Good Fair Fair Fair Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent

  • Your Chances of landing the King Mackerel (Kingfish) is excellent from July to December.
  • King Mackerel (Kingfish) in Aruba enters its low season from April to June./li>
  • There is no closed season for King Mackerel (Kingfish) fishing in Aruba.

King Mackerel
How to make the Catch?

King Mackerel are amongst the most sought-after game fish throughout their range from the North Carolina to Texas. They have been observed to travel in schools; once caught they inflict a nasty bite so one must watch out when bringing the fish on board. Multiple techniques can be used to capture the Kingfish, one of which is Trolling. While opting for this technique, one must troll when using the live bait. However, when using lures, one must troll at a faster speed.

Kingfish can mostly be taken by Trolling, using various live and dead bait fish, spoons, jigs and other artificial lures. Commercial gear consists of run-around gill nets. The Kingfish can also be taken commercially by trolling with large planers, heavy tackle and lures similar to the ones that are used by sport fishers. Typically, two hooks must be tied to a strong metal leader, when using live bait. The first one may be a treble or single, hooked through the live bait’s nose and/or mouth. The second hook (treble hook) is placed through the top of the fish’s back or allowed to swing free. This must be ensured because the King Mackerel commonly bite the tail section of bait. When trolling, for kings using this method, it is important to ensure that the baitfish are swimming properly.

A typical tackle includes a conventional or spinning reel capable of holding 340 m (370 yd) of 13 kg (29 lb) test monofilament and a 2 m (6 ft 7 in), 13 kg (29 lb) class rod. It is important to ensure that the hook is in the back as well as in the front because many of the Mackerel family often bite the tail. It is also essential fish them with a wire in order to avoid chances of getting cut off of the water. A variety of baitfish such as Blue Runner, Porgies, Smaller Mackerel, Sardines, can be used.

King Mackerel
Eating for Humans

The Kingfish are primarily marketed fish, sold as fillets, steaks or as a whole. Due to its high fat content, their raw flesh is grayish in color. The Mackerel is an oily fish rich in omega three fatty acids. It is advised that the fish is consumed on the same day and should be appropriately refrigerated to keep away the flesh from getting spoiled leading to food-poisoning. The fish tastes best its best when grilled, fried, baked, or smoked for large ‘smoker’ king.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, King Mackerel is one of the only four fish, along with Swordfish, Shark, and Tilefish that children and pregnant women should avoid due to the presence of high levels of methyl mercury found in them, and the consequent risk of mercury poisoning.

The United States wild-caught fish, King Mackerel is considered a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsible harvested under the U.S. regulations.

King Mackerel -
Unknown Facts

  • The King Mackerel can grow up to 19.7 to 35.4 inches (50 to 90 cm) in length.
  • The maximum size of the King Mackerel has been reported to be around 72.4 inches.
  • It is a medium-sized fish, ranging from 5 to 14 kg (30 lb), but is known to exceed 40 kg (90 lb).
  • The Kingfish prefer to feed on schooling fishes.
  • Kingfish are known to possess high mercury levels.
  • The maximum age recorded for King Mackerel is 14 years for females and 11 years for males.

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Have a Question?
Find the Answer Here

Are King Mackerel good to eat?

Kingfish is an oily fish, rich in omega three fatty acids. If consumed on the same day, it is good to consume the fish. However, pregnant women and children should avoid the consumption of this fish.

Do King Mackerel have teeth?

Yes. The King fish have, triangular, cutting-edge, highly pointed teeth, and comparatively more in number– being around 40 in each jaw.

Is Kingfish high in mercury?

Yes. The Kingfish contains high levels of mercury. Due to this, it is suggested to consume the fish on the same day and must be avoided by pregnant women and children.

Do King Mackerel have spots?

Yes. The younger King Mackerel have brown spots on the sides of their body.

How big do Kingfish get?

A Kingfish can get as big as 2.5 m in length and can weigh up to 70 kg. The female Mackerel are known to mature at around 75 cm in length.

Is Kingfish safe during pregnancy?

No, the Kingfish is not considered safe during pregnancy. Because of the presence of high levels of mercury, it is one of the four fish along with Swordfish, Shark, and Tilefish in order to avoid risking food poisoning.

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