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King Mackerel

Duane Raver, Jr.
Open Year-Round
Size Limit
No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences
King Mackerel inhabit high salinity, green ocean waters, near the surface or at moderate depths.

They may move inshore on higher tides and during the summer.

Often associated with artificial reefs, wrecks, and buoys, they feed on squids, shrimps, and fishes.
General Description
The body of the King Mackerel is iron-gray along the back, and silvery on the sides and belly.

Juvenile King Mackerel and adult Spanish Mackerel can be easily confused. Juvenile King Mackerel will sometimes have the yellowish spots much the same as mature Spanish mackerel. A juvenile King Mackerel’s lateral line dips significantly compared to a Spanish Mackerel. The dorsal fin of a juvenile King will be a much lighter color, more of a gray or white color than the Spanish, whose dorsal fin will be black or very dark in color.
Did You Know?
The King Mackerel got its name because it is the largest species in its genus.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
King Mackerel are taken mostly by trolling, using various live and dead baitfish, shiny spoons, feathered jigs, cedar plugs and other artificial lures.
Typical Sizes Caught
In general, King Mackerel commonly caught by anglers are around 20 pounds.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award
Adult: 26 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 22 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 10 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 7.5 pounds minimum
Delaware State Record
48 pounds 9 ounces,
Gordon Harris