Kingfish rig

Hey guys.  I'll be coming down next winter to K Largo.  This year we'd like to try for kings some.  I have some Okumo line counters that hold around 650 ft of 20 lb mono.  Is that enough, or am I gonna get heart broke?  I can get a couple of flea market senators if necessary, but I'd like to use these reels if they won't get spooled.  Also, they are level wind reels  Should I take the level winds off to smooth out the drag?  Thanks, Phil

Replies

  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 942 Officer
    Should be good with 200 yards of 20. You can always put on 15 for more capacity. Most of the Kingfish you would encounter are school fish of 5 - 15 lbs and 100 yards of line is more than enough.
  • Lu 1967Lu 1967 Posts: 304 Deckhand
    I'd be comfortable using your rigs however I would also add about 30 feet of 50lb. floor leader and prolly take the level winds off. Make your own stinger rigs also. The ones that sell in Largo are to light IMO (if you can even find them) Think #6 or #7 wire in brown. Good luck.
  • Lu 1967Lu 1967 Posts: 304 Deckhand
    Whoops !! Flouro leader
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,320 Officer

    Several decades ago i use to occasionally fish on a commercial hook & line kingfish boat off the east coast. The commercial guys never used any mono heavier then 12 lb test on spinners for kings. The main reason was that they chummed with live pilchards and needed to cast a pilchard out on a flat trajectory, hooked in the abdomen, so the bait would dive down fast e to avoid the flock of birds waiting to pick them off as soon as they hit the water. These guys never have any trouble landing kings from 5 to 20 lbs from an anchored boat in 80-85 foot depths. Occasionally they had to toss in the anchor ball for larger or foul hooked fish. Daily catches of 400 to 1000 lb’s of kings was not uncommon.

     I still only use 12 lb mono on spinners for kingfish when fishing on my boat. I don’t anchor and have never been spooled by fish up to 35 lbs. (But had to chase a few down).


    Giimoozaabi
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 605 Officer
    I probably knew the guys you fished with.  What were their names?

  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 240 Deckhand
    I agree with Cat's Eye. If you were to fish in Key West, however, I would suggest you use a reel that holds at least 250 yds. of 20 lb. mono. There are big kingfish there. It's much different than Islamorada and Key Largo. If you're drifting anywhere in The Keys your reels will be fine. A sailfish or smoker king can easily be landed from a boat that's not anchored, providing you follow the fish  quickly after it's hooked. In other words, keep the motor on while you're drifting. You really never know what you'll hook up to in The Keys from Nov. until about April or so. BTW, to keep the birds away or get your bait deeper put the smallest egg sinker you can get right next to the hook on your wire leader and hook the bait through the nostrils. The bait will swim down pretty fast and you shouldn't have problem with the birds.
  • striperphilstriperphil Posts: 65 Greenhorn
    Thanks a bunch.  I hope to see fish dip in my future!
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 605 Officer
    12 lbs spinners may work of Miami or Haulover where the average size king is 6-8 lbs, but in the Keys you can encounter some biggies, or at least you used to.  This Key Largo beast almost spooled my Sigma 080 with 400 yards of 20 lb mono.  I was anchored with strong current.  I've had days when the fish averaged 30 lbs at certain times of the year.  If you want big ones, better for rig for them.  This one hit a horse pilchard fished with a single hook.  I will probably never catch one bigger I can bet.
      
  • striperphilstriperphil Posts: 65 Greenhorn
    That is a true slob!  Had to be close to the world record didn't it?
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 942 Officer
    I use 12# mono on 5000 size spinners and have never been spooled from an anchored boat. You can apply an enormous amount of pressure with 12# if used properly. That king in the picture is huge and yes, we got one that size on an old spinmaster back in the early 70's. He blew up the reel and we had to hand line him (or her) the last 20 feet.. Took two gaffs to put the beast in the boat. Today a 30# fish is a really big one.
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 605 Officer
    I wonder how to tell if it's a male or female when they don't have roe?  Always wondered about that.  The king in the photo weighed 73.5 lbs two days after it was caught.  I weighed it on a scale at Capt. Harry's that was supposed to be certified in order to get an accurate weight.  Fish market scales were/are usually a few pounds off, and not always by accident.  The 20 lb world record at the time was 77 lbs, so yes, it was close to the record.  A few days later I caught a 71 lb king on the same tackle and it almost stripped the reel on the first run.  That was one unlucky fish, since it had every opportunity to get away and we still got it.  I'm not sure if this giants are still around in that area since I haven't tried for them in years.  Today's tackle has gotten a lot more advanced then what we used back then, that's for sure.  Striperphil, one point no one has made yet is after the first run, these big kings tend to do a lot of head shaking and this is when they spit the hook unless you keep tension at all times.  I used to like using a long rod with a lot of bend and would keep it high and back when it stopped running to make sure I had no slack in the line when the head shaking began.  Just one of many finer points to improve your chances.   Good luck, post photos.
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 240 Deckhand
    We fished Spinmasters on charter boats in Islamorada and I had a Sigma 80 and an 8 foot Ugly Stik for my own 20 lb. spin rig in the 80s and also a Penn 850ss when they first came out.  BTW, I saw a really big king at the charter boat docks in Key West when I fished there - it may have been the world record - that was wrapped in some towels and you'd think it was an amberjack if you didn't know what fish was inside the towels. It was that thick of a fish. I would think there are still some big kings in Key West in the winter. A good portion of the Gulf Stock of kings used to be around Key West in the winter. I've even caught several kings bigger than 40 lbs. while bottom fishing in Boca Grande Channel. We kept and extra rod with a live lane snapper or yellowtail for the kings in case they showed up. We didn't catch them there every day but when we did they were big.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 942 Officer
    That was then and this is now. The fish we got on the Spinmaster was close to 90. I know because I weighed thousands of kings at that time. We once got 4 fish on the kite that weighted 315 lbs total. and this was much bigger. Not bragging, just saying. Those big boys are not around anymore. I also don't know the difference between males and females, but big is big. All we fished with was 12 and 15 unless the fish we were catching that day were jumbos, then we would up to 20 or 30. When using 30 we were using conventional reels, and once again, we never chased a Kingfish...
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 605 Officer
    Would love to see those pics!  I agree, those big ones are not around like before.
  • striperphilstriperphil Posts: 65 Greenhorn
    I'd love to see y'alls pictures from back in the day.  The Keys in the 50s thru 70s were a fascinating place and I'm sorry I missed it.  It's still pretty **** fascinating, but obviously pressure has taken it's toll. 
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 605 Officer
    The big one on the right weighed 71 lbs.  You can use it to judge the size of the rest.  This was in about 3 hours one afternoon during a hot bite.

  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 240 Deckhand
    What's the legal size for lane snapper now, 8 inches? I bet those littles ones would be great live baits for kings and grouper, maybe big snapper too.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 942 Officer
    Anything that swims is fair game for big Kings.
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