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When kingfish are on a reel bite, speed rigging will insure that your team takes full advantage of short periods of mackerel bites.
Like most king mackerel fishermen, we all can remember several instances when a large school of king mackerel moved into your favorite kingfish waters and went on a feeding frenzy. Some of these feeding binges lasted for more than an hour, while some of the more exciting action has only lasted for a few minutes.
Such was the case a few kingfish seasons ago when we anchored up our kingfish rig and began chumming for kingfish at the St. Mary's inlet. It was late July and prime time for kingfish weighing over the 30-pound mark to feed in close to the inlet mouths and beaches of northeast Florida. We had been targeting a small school of massive kingfish that had been feeding on large schools of greenies at the tip of the St. Mary's rock jetties. And in most cases, these "Smoker" size big macks would come in close to the tip of the jetty rocks to ambush large schools of greenies that were schooling there too.
Fishing with my son Terry David Lacoss and Wilson Tennille, we were about to witness a once-in-a-lifetime king mackerel bite.
With three live baits fished close to the surface and one weighted and fished down deep, these were the only tools that we had to compete with the feeding spree that was soon to begin.
Suddenly a school of 30-50 kingfish, weighing from 20 to 40 pounds came rocketing though our chum slick and school of greenies that was feeding just behind our anchored kingfish boat. Giant kingfish were sky rocketing out of the water all around our boat, flinging greenies into the air with their airborne assault!
Needless to say all four of our kingfish live baits were ambushed as well and with only three fishermen in the boat to battle the school of big macks, one kingfish rod was left in the rod holder until we landed the first three hooked kingfish. After a few speedy runs and untangled fishing lines, three of the four kingfish were landed in less than five minutes. With the kingfish bite still on, we had to take time to re-rig. Two minutes later the school of kingfish totally disappeared. If we had a couple of rods already rigged with new kingfish leaders, we would have still been hooked up to that giant school of monster kingfish.
Unfortunately we were prepared for hooking one kingfish at a time, or at the most, a double hookup if we were real lucky. Chum fishing in close to the beaches and inlet mouths is almost always an excellent fishing tactic for producing tournament size king mackerel, but seldom are fishermen prepared for that kingfish bite that leaves you unprepared.
Having extra pre-made kingfish leaders and hooks on board is a necessity for any serious king mackerel fishing team. Keeping in mind that in many cases of high tech king mackerel fishing, this could demand having on board 100 or more ready-to-fish leaders and hooks.
I have some 25 kingfish seasons under my belt now and pretty much have it down to a science on which kingfish rigs that I will be using on my next day's fishing charter, or Southern Kingfish Association competition day. However too many times, like most seasoned fishermen, I will come up short handed on one particular style of kingfish leader.
With this in mind, I always have the top of my console covered up with a variety of kingfish hooks, wire leaders and barrel swivels for rigging leaders during my fishing day.
I will also have up to a dozen stinger wires already haywire twisted to kingfish hooks. When a kingfish is landed and the stinger wire is damaged, it only takes me a few seconds to replace the stinger wire, rather than to replace the whole kingfish leader and hooks. I will also make up extra kingfish leaders and hooks when the king fishing is particularly slow. Keeping in mind that on most days of king mackerel angling, you may need to custom rig your kingfish leaders and hooks according to the size of your kingfish baits and how the kingfish are feeding.
With this in mind, it is almost impossible to have on board 20 kingfish rigs each with a different colored plastic lure in front of the nose hook. If king mackerel fishermen pre-made 20 of every possible kingfish rig before each fishing trip, this might require several hundred kingfish rigs!
Mike Dillard has reduced the time in making up large numbers of kingfish rigs by designing his "Speedy Mack Twist". Dillard has an automotive repair shop in Jacksonville, Florida, and used his mechanical skills to design a 110 volt powered motor, which simply makes constructing kingfish rigs a piece of cake!
A special tool holds either a treble or shanked hook while the operator holds the wire with both hands. A foot pedal operates the motor and turns the hook slowly while it makes the haywire wrap. A special adapter is attached for swivels, allowing the angler to make up a variety of kingfish rigs, including ribbonfish leaders, in a lot less time than it takes to hand make kingfish leaders. For more information on the "Speedy Mack Twist, visit http://www.speedymactwist.com
, or call (904) 765-5327.
I know many king mackerel tournament fishermen make up kingfish leaders while towing their kingfish boat to the next SKA kingfish tournament, the "Speedy Mac Twist" is so fast and efficient, that fishermen can make them up in a hurry at home before getting out on the highway. Personally I would rather take that time on the highway to be looking at offshore charts, current weather patterns and a water temperature chart.
I also think that a lot of king mackerel fishermen make kingfish leaders a real high tech matter when it comes time to fine tuning their kingfish leaders-myself included. I have talked with king mackerel fishermen that have several bags of different style kingfish leaders on board, rigged for every possible fishing situation that may surface. Then there is also the king mackerel fisherman who believes in rigging up a basic kingfish leader.
Several kingfish seasons ago, Brunswick, Georgia's, Rusty Kennedy was very successful while fishing the basic single pogy rig. Rusty's basic 3-foot, 38-pound wire leader, six-inch 42-pound stinger wire and a Number 4-X treble rigged to a frisky menhaden netted his "Rusty Nail" fishing team four Golden Isles King Mackerel first place wins and the Georgia State record king mackerel, which weighed more than 60-pounds!
Obviously Rusty had his Georgia king mackerel rigging down to a few basics, which proved to be both a confidence builder and a real winner.
On the other hand a lot of the competitive SKA fishing teams traveling throughout the southeast are faced with fishing a wide variety of kingfish waters. Depending on the time of year, water temperatures, water depths, and bait fish, the traveling king mackerel fishing teams will certainly need to have a wide variety of kingfish leaders already made before their day of competitive king mackerel fishing.
More importantly, there is nothing more of a confidence builder than having several pre-made kingfish leaders stored on your kingfish boat during the start of a king mackerel tournament. I mentioned earlier in the article that I often replaced just the stinger wire after a kingfish was landed during a non-tournament day. However in a tournament situation, the whole kingfish leader is replaced. In many cases the kingfish wire may not show any signs of stress or twist, but no need to take a chance when several thousands in prize monies are up for grabs!
Obviously it is almost impossible to predict when you will need to have one particular style of kingfish leader, rigged and ready to replace one that has been torn up by a speedy king mackerel. Having on board a variety of kingfish leaders and being able to custom rig your wire leaders with spare wire, swivels, lures and hooks on board is a must for competitive king mackerel fishermen. It is also a big step in being able to catch that trophy king mackerel that is waiting patiently in your chum slick for that right live bait and rigged to a custom kingfish leader.