King Mackerel Fishing in Hilton Head

Summer and Fall give us great opportunities to fish for King Mackerel in Hilton Head.

Depending on the time of season, we can target King Mackerel on charters in the 4 to 8 hour range. Sometimes they’re found as close as the first few miles off the beach or at the nearshore reefs. At other times we need to run deeper.

We fish for kings using both live bait and artificial lures. Live bait can be “bump trolled”, a method for pulling live baits behind a barely moving boat. We’re not so much dragging the bait as we are steering it, and allowing the live fish to swim on their own very naturally. When pulling artificial lures, we move a bit faster, usually in the 4-6mph range, giving the lures the right speed to wiggle in an enticing fashion.

Live bait can be fished adrift or at anchor, and occasionally we’ll fly a kite to give a stealthy presentation to the bait dangling on the surface.

In most cases I prefer a conventional reel setup, and run Seigler OS reels with 20-30# mono on 6’6” or 7’ live bait rods with light tips that help minimize pulled hooks. With live bait, we’re typically running very small treble hooks, and the ability to set the Seigler OS with a light smooth drag makes the difference in staying connected to the fish.