John's Journal...

Catching Summer King Mackerel with Captain Mike Parker in Destin, Florida

Click to enlargeFly-Lining for Mackerel

Editor’s Note: Captain Mike Parker of the charter boat, the “Silver King,” headquartered in Destin, Click to enlargeFlorida, enjoys fishing for mackerel.

"To catch the kings on top, we use what we call a fly pole," Parker stated. "This pole is usually a 7-foot rod with a big saltwater reel and 20-pound-test monofilament line. At the end of the line, I'll tie a 60-pound-test barrel swivel, and through the other end of the swivel, I'll attach 2- to 3-feet of single-strand wire leader. At the end of the leader, I'll attach an Eagle Claw No. 2 hook." Coming off the hook, Parker will attach a 5-inch piece of the same wire leader from the barrel swivel to the hook. At the end of the wire leader, Parker will fasten a No. 2 treble hook. "I let the treble hook swing free and don't place it in the cigar minnow," Parker explained. Parker doesn't implant the treble hook in the live cigar minnow because the treble hook often will cause the bait to spin unnaturally behind the boat and also will inhibit the live cigar minnow's ability to swim freely when cast out on a fly-line. You can tell when the stinger hook has caught a king mackerel on the side of the face because you'll have much more resistance against the line than you will if the mackerel has taken the single hook in the front of the bait," Parker reported.Click to enlarge

The Destin region has anabundance of cigar minnows that anglers catch on gold hook rigs. You also can buy live cigar minnows from bait catchers just outside the pass at Destin early in the morning. Pinfish and herring also will prove themselves as productive baits for king Click to enlargemackerel. "For bait, I'll choose a live cigar minnow," Parker explained. "I'll hook the cigar minnow in the nose going in one nostril and out the other, cast out the bait and allow it to free swim." Parker places the rod in the rod holder and sets the drag at 10 pounds – heavy enough to set the hook, but loose enough to let the king mackerel pull off drag and make its first run. If someone hooks up with a big king mackerel, a 40- to 50-pound fish, the captain may have to chase the fish with the boat. A really-big king mackerel can pull all the line off a reel and leave you with an empty spool. However, since most of the close-in mackerel will weigh 12- to 20-pounds each, rarely will you have to chase the fish.

To learn more about king mackerel fishing around Destin, Florida, and/or to book a trip with Mike Parker, write to Parker at 827 Kell-Aire Ct, Destin, FL, 32541; call him at (850) 837-2028; or, visit the website at

Tomorrow: Bump-and-Go Trolling

Check back each day this week for more about "Catching Summer King Mackerel with Captain Mike Parker in Destin, Florida"

Day 1: Feeding-Frenzied Kings
Day 2: Fly Lining for Mackerel
Day 3: Bump-and-Go Trolling
Day 4: Plugging for Kings
Day 5: The Mack’s Comeback


Entry 464, Day 2