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Best Lures for Kingfish: The Ultimate Guide

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The Kingfish (Scomberomorus cavalla), is a highly sought after fish amongst anglers around the world. Also known as a King Mackerel, it is a ferocious hunter with long, sharp teeth, a torpedo-like body, and a powerful tail that can propel this beast to speeds of up to forty miles per hour. So what are the best lures for Kingfish?

Glad you asked! In this article, we’ll go over our top nine best lures for Kingfish. These lures have caught us more Kingfish than any other setup – both fishing from a boat or surf fishing for Kingfish. Lures have improved dramatically over the past decade. With advances in technology, combined with a better understanding of the oceans and the species that we are targeting, lures are more realistic than ever.

They are designed to look like the baitfish that our targets are feeding on, have swimming actions, and can swim at desired depths. Recently manufacturers have attached small, high definition cameras to lures. Here are nine of the best lures available to catch kingfish.

Top 9 Best Lures for Kingfish

1. GOT-CHA Plug Assortment

Got-cha lures are made of high-quality plastic and produce an irresistible and deadly swimming action. The Sea Striker Plugs have become legendary among top fishermen and generally are retrieved with short, sharp jerks of your rod. These lures are extremely effective when targeting species such as Trout and Bluefish, but will catch any predatory fish that feeds on smaller baitfish.

2. Crocodile Casting Spoon

Crocodile Casting Spoons are known to be the most productive spoons ever made. They can be used to catch fish in lakes, natural water systems (rivers and estuaries), and also in the ocean. They are extremely versatile and come in many different sizes, weights, and colors.

3. The #8 Rapala X-Rap

Sinking at approximately one foot per second, the Rapala X-Rap consistently reaches any fish regardless of the depth it is suspended at. Rapala introduced controlled depth technique to the world with the X-Rap and is the standard by which all lures are measured. It’s great for Kingfish as well as Barracuda.

4. Clark Trolling Spoon

Clark spoons have been around since 1927, manufacturing a variety of quality spoons, jigs, rigs and accessories. The Clark Trolling spoon has been successful in both fresh and saltwater fishing, They can be cast or trolled, have lifelike motions and are fast acting.

A great lure for Mackerel but can also be used to target Striper, Bluefish and other types of game fish. They are either gold or chrome plated, have stainless steel saltwater hooks and are equipped with a built in swivel with red beads. The design of the body is extremely aerodynamic which assists in casting and limiting hydrodynamic drag when retrieving.

5. Bass Assassin Sea Shad Baits

The sea shad is a classic example of a paddle tail, manufactured with a solid shad body and a paddle for realistic action as it moves through the water. They offer a wide variety of colors and are 4 inches in length. It is a lure that you can cast, be slow trolled and even jigged, a must for every tackle box.

6. Fiiish Black Minnow 70

Featuring a weedless system and the perfect combination of hook, lure body and jig head, the Patented PH2S rigging system screams innovation and originality. The head and the body of the lure are articulated to enhance the swimming action and increase hookups. These also work great when surfcasting for kahawai.

The Black Minnow has extra strong hooks that are wide gapped to provide the perfect balance and presentation. The body of the black minnow is extra soft and gives off more vibration with a natural and extremely lifelike swimming action. It is proven to catch all types of fish and comes in a variety of realistic colors. To ensure a solid hook up, it is important to strike hard.

7. Savage Gear Sandeels

An almost supernatural sand eel imitation, this lure is both stunning and unique. They are soft-bodied lures and have a fantastic swimming action, the sandeel is a favorite snack of most predators in the ocean. Designed mainly for vertical fishing, it is Savage Gears first saltwater specific lure, but has been proven to be effective when trolled or as a swimbait.

8. Spro Prime BuckTail Jigs

The Prime Bucktail Jig is unique in comparison to other jigs on the market. With vibrant colors, and larger bulging eyes, fish find them irresistible. The placement of the eyelet and unique shape of the head, they are one of the most realistic jigs around.

What makes this jig stand out from others, is the ability to swim along with a realistic action, instead of falling lying down or hanging straight like conventional jigs. Gamakatsu hooks are standard on the Prime Bucktail jig, they are extremely sharp and seriously durable.

9. Diamond Jigs

The Diamond jig is a fantastic rig that can be slowly retrieved from shore and can also be utilized for slow trolling in shallow water. The body is aerodynamically designed and therefore allows for long casts off a pier, off the rocks, and off the beach.

It is easy to cast behind the breakers which makes it quite useful when surf fishing and offers plenty of flash to attract hungry predators like Kingfish or Cubera Snapper. This jig can be baited with a fish, a long slice of squid, or both. Ideally, you want to keep the rig on the bottom as you troll or retrieve.

Origins of Kingfish Fishing Lures

Fishing spinning reel and wobblers

Evidence suggests that lures have been around since two thousand bc. First used by the Chinese and Egyptians, they were made out of copper, iron, and bronze. The first hooks were made out of bronze which was less visible to fish, yet still thin and extremely strong.

Spoon lures were manufactured by the Nordic people from the 8th – 13th century, these lures were also made out of copper, iron, and bronze. It was also evident that there were variations in their lures, which had different shapes and sizes to accommodate both summer and winter (ice) fishing.

The mid-1900’s was the first time modern plugs were manufactured commercially in the United States, before then they were hand-made by individual craftsmen either for personal use, a novelty, or a gift to friends and family. These lures were hand-made out of wood and plastic.

Author Note: Companies like Heddon (Michigan) and Enterprise (Ohio) pioneered the commercially-made lure and based their designs on the lures that were being made by individual craftsmen of that time.

Basics of Kingfish Fishing Lures

Before considering which shape, size, color, or type of lure to use, it is important to know the three basic lure categories;

Floating or Surface Lures

A floating or surface lure is designed to float on the surface of the water, they can then be retrieved at different speeds while methodically jigging. Floating or surface or surface lures are designed to mimic insects or other types of food that may be trapped on the water surface.

For kingfish, poppers and other types of surface lures imitate feeling or injured baitfish, and when a large school of baitfish is getting pushed to the surface by hungry and aggressively feeding kingfish, a popper style lure will help your bait stand out amongst the numerous baitfish present.

If you want to surface fish with live bait check out our article on how to make Kingfish rigs for more info.

Sinking Lures

Sinking lures are designed to sink to the desired depth to target fish that might be feeding in deeper water, they can then be retrieved to impersonate an injured fish or prey.

Sinking lures like jigs and spoons work great if you encounter schools of fish at a known depth, allowing you to target individual fish in the school until they either move on or stop feeding.

Jigging Lures

Jigging lures are lures that are equipped with a weighted head which allows the lure to sink to the floor of the ocean. Once on the ocean floor, it can be retrieved vertically at different speeds or jigged in place.

When fishing for kingfish you likely wont working a jig on the bottom, and you are most likely going to be fishing suspended fish in the middle of the water column at a known depth.

What Do Kingfish Eat?

two caught kingfish

Knowing what Kingfish eat will be invaluable when purchasing lures to catch them. Kingfish are carnivorous animals and are known to feed on fish, prawns, shrimp, and squid.

Their favorite types of fish are blue runners, threadfin, menhaden, pilchards, mullet, herring, as well as smaller kingfish. There have also been reports of kingfish eating dead bait like ribbonfish, Spanish Mackerel, and cigar minnows. Try to purchase lures that are made to resemble these types of fish are lures that are of similar shape and colors.

In addition to this, they are also equipped with fins that fold down into the body that forms grooves to decrease hydrodynamic drag. Fortunately for anglers, Kingfish have insatiable appetites and therefore can be successfully targeted and caught.

Where are Kingfish Found?

King Mackerel prefer warmer waters, and generally won’t be found in water below 68 Degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). They are found along the Atlantic coastline, The Gulf of Mexico, and along the coast of the southern Americas.

Best Time of the Year to Catch Kingfish?

The king mackerel is migratory and arrives in late March, this is generally when the water temp reaches above 68 degrees and they hang around until mid-November. King Mackerel can be caught at depths ranging from 20 feet to 200 feet.


We hope you found this article on the best lures for Kingfish useful and informative. Kingfish are a blast to catch but only if you are using the correct lures! Now that you know what the nine best Kingfish lures are, you’ll be good to go. And as you already probably know, Kingfish are very similar to Wahoo and Spa

nish Mackerel which are great to eat. If you’re looking for Spanish mackerel lures, check out our lure guide on them too.

Happy Hunting!


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