John's Journal...

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

The Mack’s Comeback

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Captain Mike Parker of the charter boat, the “Silver King,” headquartered in DClick to enlargeestin, Florida, enjoys fishing for mackerel.

A decade ago, the stock of king mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico was severely depleted. However, length limits and bag limits have caused a dramatic comeback of mackerel. "I've seen the number of king mackerel increase tremendously in the Gulf where I fish - from Apalachicola to the east and up to Pensacola on the west," Parker reported. "The limits imposed on the commercial fishermen as well as the recreational fishermen seem to be working. We now have a really-good population of king mackerel." Although you only can catch and keep a couple of king mackerel, you can have fun catching and releasing these fish all day long. Parker's biggest king to date weighed 40 pounds, but Parker says, "I've seen fish come in to the dock that weigh 55 pounds. When you're fishing for the bigger king mackerel, replace the cigar minnows with big blue runners, commonly known as hardtails."Click to enlarge

Bluefish, aClick to enlargelso highly-productive baits for mackerel, have sharp teeth and will bite you.  Also remember when you use bigger baits to use larger hooks, like a No. 1. You may prefer to attach a second stinger hook coming off the first stinger hook, giving you two treble hooks on a wire leader that swings free 10 inches off your mainhook. When Parker fishes these bigger baits for monster-sized kings, he'll use a slow-trolling tactic and fish baits along the surface as well as on the downrigger 30 to 50 feet below the boat. On many days throughout the summer, you don't have to spend all day fishing for mackerel but can catch a limit of king mackerel in a 1/2-day trip. "We often leave the dock at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., catch our mackerel and return to the dock at 1:00 p.m.," Parker stated. Or, if you prefer to fish in the afternoon, you can leave the dock at 1:00 p.m. and usually return by 5:00 p.m.

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

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 5