kingfish, King mackerel
Description: color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, streamlined body with tapered head; no black pigment on front of dorsal fin; lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin; young fish often have yellow spots like those of the Spanish mackerel.
Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus.
Where found: NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.
Size: common to 20 pounds. *Florida Record: 90 lbs.
Remarks: schooling fish that migrates form south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring; Gulf population thought to be separate from Atlantic population, with considerable mixing in winter from Cape Canaveral past Key West; spawns in midsummer OFFSHORE; feeds on small fish and squid.
Food value: The flesh is of very high quality when taken small, under 10 lbs and is good up to 20 lbs and is OK smoked up to 40 lbs. After that you need magic or a lot of hot chili peppers.