King Mackerel

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.

King Mackerel Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season 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.
Did You Know? The King Mackerel got its name because it is the largest species in its genus.
Common 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 Length and Weight 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 52 pounds 11.2 ounces,
Jeff McCoy