King Mackerel (aka “kingfish”) are generally plentiful off Galveston from late May through September. Kingfish are speedsters that are targeted in tournaments out of Galveston and up and down the Gulf and Atlantic. Known for slashing strikes and sizzling runs, king mackerel are one of the sportiest catches in the Gulf. Kingfish are ordinarily caught on tackle which allows them to show off their speed. Kingfish can grow quite large, up to around 80 pounds out of Galveston, with 20-40 pounders fairly routine. King mackerel can be caught, when water conditions are right, literally on the beach front, but may also be found in quite deep water. Successful Kingfish fishermen use relatively light tackle, as fish often cruise near the surface. Trolling is productive, as is “flat lining” or fishing an un-weighted line upwind of the boat. As with all mackerel, kingfish have a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Wire leaders are required for consistent landings. Current regulations allow two kings per day per angler. Live baits are an advantage, but Kingfish take cut bait nearly as well most days. Chumming is popular when fishing for Kings mackeral. Foodwise, once the blood line is removed, king fish is quite decent, but it is somewhat oily.
Spanish and Cero Mackerel are basically smaller versions of the Kingfish. Maxing out at around 20 pounds, 2-5 is common, with a few ten pounders, especially of the larger Cero mackerel. These guys are usually found closer inshore, at the jetties and on the beachfront out of Galveston. They are great sport on light tackle, sharing the King’s sporting qualities. Better food fish than Kings, I consider them quite good.