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The spring kingfish run has started, thank goodness.
Just outside Jupiter Inlet, schools of kingfish appeared north and south of the inlet in depths of 65 to 90 feet.
The kingfish are suspended just off the bottom, and therein lies the problem. If you fish near on the bottom, you will most likely get some bottom feeders pecking at your bait. These kingfish, which began biting a couple of weeks ago, are mostly small undersized fish that can be mistaken for Spanish mackerel.
Remember, mackerel have a black dorsal fin, while kingfish have a white one. The minimum size to harvest a kingfish is 24 inches from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail.
Have hope, for there are some decent sized fish out there. This past week I heard stories about anglers catching kingfish up to 45 pounds.
When it comes to fishing tackle, make sure you don't go out there with a fishing rod that's too small. There's nothing worse than having all of the line stripped from your fishing reel before you can even get the boat started.
When something like that happens, it can make a grown fisherman want to cry. For your bait selection, nothing beats live bait. Second choice may be the classic three-hook kingfish or drift boat rig.
Some enterprising fishermen make up or buy their own three-hook rigs that have white, chartreuse, or pink nylon hairs attached to the first of the three hooks. Some fishermen say this helps entice a bite. Kingfish are an oily fish that spoils easily. So, be sure to put your fish on ice immediately.
Be advised that most fish over 10 pounds can have mercury in their flesh. Women who are pregnant, the young and the old probably should stay away from eating such fish.
I happen to eat lots of small kingfish, whether it's grilled, broiled, or fried. They sure do taste good.