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The Ultimate Guide to Making Kingfish Rigs

Kingfish are known to have a mouth full of teeth like sharp daggers and the attitude to boot as well. From their penchant for slashing and knack for demolishing monofilament lines, the average fisherman is always on the hunt for the perfect rig to catch a Kingfish. But do you know how to make Kingfish rigs?

You came to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over step by step instructions on how to make Kingfish rigs. We’ll also provide you with the materials needed to make the best rigs for Kingfish.

Let’s get started.

Supplies Needed for Kingfish Rigs

Firstly, we need to know what material will be the star of the show: the wire. If you want a short and sweet answer to how to make the best rig for Kingfish, then you should know that the best option for fishermen looking to catch a kingfish is to use a wire leader. 

The least amount you’ll need is 18- 24 inches, but experienced fishermen will know to add as much as 6 feet of 30/40 pound fluorocarbon between the mainline and the wire. This is a good idea when fishing with a rig as well as using traditional lures for Kingfish.

Adding this extra fluorocarbon between the mainline and wire is done to prevent the Kingfish’s caudal fins from beating against the fishing line (when it is lying parallel to a hard-running fish). When the fins are beating against the fishing line, it is also referred to as “tail whipping.” 

Author Note: Whether the target is wahoo, Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, or bluefish, there are ways to boost your hook-up numbers with sharp-toothed predators. One tactic is to use a stinger rig consisting of two or three hooks rigged in tandem. 

However, as elementary as adding a second hook to your bait rigs might seem, it won’t do much good unless you understand the concept behind the stinger rig and how to make one.

Another hint for making sure you land that Kingfish is to use two hooks instead of one. When making your stinger rig, adding a couple of extra hooks can boost your chances of success. 

But the trick isn’t in simply adding a second hook, but in understanding why you should use a stinger rig and how to set it up correctly. 

So, let’s get to it.

Pro Tips for Making Your Stinger Rig

It doesn’t matter if you are targeting king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, wahoo, or bluefish. There are certain tips for catching these types of fish. Using a stinger rig is one of them. Let’s see how to make one: 

Choosing Your Wire

Do you want a sure way to get more strikes from a game fish? Simply scale down your gear. Making your gear less visible will help you to get more strikes from game fish like Kingfish. How do you do this? Simply use the lightest wire that you can, one that can still support a big game fish. 

But you need to make sure that your leader will not snap your wire. If you are fishing in clear water, then you want to use the lightest one that will still hold the weight of your leader. If you use a 40-pound weight, then you will benefit from using a No. 6 wire (which has a rough test of 61 pounds). 

A No. 6 wire is ideal for game fish as it is light enough to trick them but strong enough to hold weight. 

Adding the Main Leader

It would be best if you averaged the length of your leader around 24 inches. This length is long enough to ensure the fish does not cause a cut-off when the fish bites the bait head. One of the best to use as a swivel is the SPRO Power Swivel (No. 4, 130-pound test). 

The Power Swivel is a smaller version of the standard swivel but packs more power as it has the same strength rating. 

When attaching the lead hook, you have two options:

  • Attach the stinger segment to the lead hook by tying the wire to the eye of the lead. 
  • Attach the stinger segment to the hook by hanging the stinger segment to the front hook. This option offers a helping hand as you can use a swivel and slip it over the lead hook’s point. 

What Wire Size Should You Use?

The wire size that you should use will depend on several factors, including bait size, water clarity, and the expected size of the Kingfish. If you are using No. 4-5 leaders on the stinger segment, then you should use a No. 3-4 wire. 

Author Note: In areas where there are larger Kingfish, more than 50 pounds, you should choose No. 7 stinger segments and No.5 leaders. If you’re on the hunt for large Kingfish like these (more or less in areas like Key West and the Northern Gulf), don’t go for anything lighter. 

Tips and Tricks

You have a few different options for stinger rigs:

  • You can add several trailing segments for larger baitfish. Kingfish eat many types of baitfish so you might want to try a larger species. 
  • Do you want to guide baits deeper into the water column? Tie a bullet weight to the wire leader. This takes out the trouble of using a downrigger. 

Hook Selection

king mackerel fishing

It doesn’t matter if you use a single or treble hook; you should make sure that they are small and so they remain unnoticeable. But, you have to think of it like Goldilocks story- you need a hook that is inconspicuous but sturdy enough to be able to hold the heavyweight of the fish. 

Regarding hook style and hook size, this will also vary according to the type of bait you will use and the size of the Kingfish you know are in the area. With a stinger hook, you can use a short-shank live-bait hook or a 5/0 Octopus. 

Use different colors to test your results. Experiment with colors like red. You may find that red hooks could encourage more aggressive responses from fish. This is because the red could remind the fish of blood that is usually on a wounded baitfish. 

If you want to attract more attention, you should use green, blue, or red beads placed ahead of rigged bait to garner more attention and the possibility of attracting more fish. 

Joining the Stinger

Although it may seem surprising, how you join the lead and the stinger can make a huge difference. For this reason, joining the stinger and the lead could mean the difference between landing a fish and letting one get away because of a rookie error like a hook turning into the bait, a kink in the wire, or even something seemingly trivial like a pulled hook. 

What’s more, joining the stinger leader and the lead hook incorrectly could result in another issue. If you use a light stinger wire, and it catches or slips through a gap in the hook eye, the results could be devastating. 

Not to sound melodramatic, but losing fish because of such easily avoidable errors is heartbreaking. So, how can you avoid this? It’s simple- use a hook that has an eye that is welded. 

Or, better yet, use a hook that is made from strong wire so that it does not open if the stinger wire gets stuck or wedged into the space where the shank and the hook eye meet. 

How to Connect the Stinger

When joining the leader and the lead hook, use a haywire twist to join them. Then, proceed to thread the stinger wire through the lead hook’s eye as well as the main leader’s loop. And for the final bow, use another haywire twist to secure the stinger wire. 

Author Note: By using this method, you can maximize the loops of the stinger and main leaders by interlocking them. This takes out a significant risk facing most fishermen – that of losing the stinger wire is it slips off the lead hook.

What’s more, by making this loop-to-loop connection, you help the lead hook to swing freely. But what good does a freely swinging hook do? A freely swinging hook helps to stop the rig from binding. 

Making the Kingfish Rig: Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Aim for 24 inches of wire. Take one end of the wire, and loop it through the lead hook’s eye.

Ensure the hook is secured to the wire using a haywire twist. To be able to attach it to your fishing line, place a swivel on the opposite of the leader’s end.

Step 2

Cut the appropriate length of wire for the stinger leader. Loop one end of this wire through the lead hook’s eye.

Step 3

Thread the stinger wire’s tag end through the main wire leader’s loop. Leave the loop relatively small and use a haywire twist to ensure it remains secure. 

Step 4

You are now ready to attach the stinger hook. Use a haywire twist to do so.

The Stinger Rig is Not Just for Kingfish

trolling for king mackerel

The most effective method for catching large fish along the shores of the USA and right down into the Gulf of Mexico is to use the stinger rig for catching these fish. These types of rigs can be used not only for Kingfish but for the following types of fish as well:

Most of these types of fish will give any fishermen a hard time- often making it away with at least half of the bait without biting the hook. It is frustrating enough to lose your fish without even a fight, but if it costs you a possible tournament or trophy, it is even worse. 


Learning how to make the best rigs for Kingfish can be the difference between catching a kingfish and getting skunked. We hope you found this article on how to make Kingfish rigs useful and informative.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to catch Kingfish, check out our fishing for Kingfish from a pier and surf fishing for kingfish articles.

Happy Hunting!


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