Southern Kingfish

The Southern Kingfish is lighter in color and lacks the long first dorsal spine of the Northern kingfish.

Overall, they are silvery in color with a tannish top, faint dark bars on the sides and a white belly.

The have one barbel ("whisker") on their lower jaw.

The Southern Kingfish has lighter less pronounced markings when compared to the Northern kingfish. The bars never form a V-shape.

Southern Kingfish 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 Southern Kingfish prefer sand and sandy-mud bottoms inshore in estuaries and offshore out to depths of about 30 feet.

They feed on small shrimps, crabs, marine worms, crabs, and small fishes.
Did You Know? The chin barbel ("whisker") has taste buds that they use to detect bottom-dwelling food items.

It is said their their jaw teeth can produce clicking sounds.
Common Lures and Baits Southern Kingfish do not take to artificial lures well.

Pieces of squid, clams, or bloodworms are often used with small hooks on bottom rigs fished just past the breaking waves on the beach.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Southern Kingfish are caught by anglers in the range of 6 to 10 inches in length.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Live Release Award
Adult: 13 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 11 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 1 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 0.75 pounds (12 ounces) minimum

Southern Kingfish are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release Award programs "Kingfish" awards, but not currently eligible for an individual species citation.
Delaware State Record Kingfish:
4 pounds
Billy Hastings

"Kingfish" is a general category and can either be a Southern Kingfish or a Northern kingfish.

Southern Kingfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware state record.