When Texans talk about offshore fishing they’re talking about the “King” of the mackerel family. And the time for these unruly beasts has finally come back around. The time for Texas’ summer kingfish is upon us. Knowing their hangouts, and the fact that they’re eating machines, would lead you to belive that they’d be easy to find and catch. Guess what? I’ve been on several trips that, although we located fish, we couldn’t get a one of the critters to take a bait. They’d come up a chum line, feeding like crazy, but put a bait with a hook in front of them and it was like you’d wired their jaws shut. That’s OK, I’ve picked up a few tricks that will unwire those jaws in a hurry. The favorite lure of Texas offshore fishermen has been and is still today, the standard feather jig. It’s an easy bait to rig and will troll just as well at speeds varying from slow to moderatly fast. One of the best ideas to make a feather jig more appealing to kings is to add a mullet, cigar minnow, or bally hoo to the hook. What king wouldn’t prefer this to a naked jig running full out across the surface. The one problem with this type of rigging is that the potential is there for the lure to spin at high speeds. But, by using a piece of rigging wire, wrapped around the portion of leader just behind the leadhead, you can attach your bait so that it will remain perpendicular to the hook and aid in preventing spinning. Although the feather jig may be the favorite lure among many trollers, there is a realitivly new kid on the block that is gaining ground fast. Big diving plugs manufactured by MirrOlure, Rapala, Fred Arbogast, and several other lure makers are trying to cash in on Texas offshore fishing. By adjusting your trolling speed, these plugs will run at fairly consistent depths and they have built in action that no kingfish in his right mind can refuse. If there is a drawback, it’s that these baits can’t handle high speeds very well and they tend to put a lot of stress on rods. But, the important thing is that they catch fish. Maybe you don’t like trolling. Well, there is another method by which many anglers catch good numbers of quality kingfish. Armed with nothing more than a length of carmel colored steel piano wire and a cigar minnow, fishermen up and down the coast are tying up to rigs and drifting these baits down current. If you really want to use drift fishing to its fullest potential, try it with a chum line. Or, allow the boat to drift in the chum line left by offshore shrimpboats culling their catch. One myth about kingfish is that they are always found hanging around visible structure. Not true. During the season, kings may be found around underwater structure. Just as with any other gamefish, kings are always looking for food. Where the food is the kings won’t be far away and the food is almost always hanging around structure of some sort. Underwater rocks, humps, old oil well pads, and other types of underwater structure and debris are all used as hiding places for baitfish. And, as such, also serve as resturants for kings and other gamefish. Use your electronics to locate the structure, back off to one side and begin a trolling pattern from one side to the other, criss crossing until the entire area has been covered. If there are kings in the region they will come to the baits and, because they are feeding, will hit them. If you are just getting into offshore fishing there are a few pieces of equipment that will help you make each trip more successful. Outriggers allow the offshore angler to have more lines running behind the boat when trolling. And if nothing else makes since, the more baits in the water the better your chances of hooking fish. Two pieces of electronics come to mind. A good depth finder (fish finder) and a GPS or the less expensive LORAN C. The depth finder will help in locating structure while the GPS will let store the location of your find for future trips.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide